Image source: Ford Motor Co.
One aspect of the original Mustang that drove its popularity was that it was available with an affordable, fuel-efficient six-cylinder engine and an array of increasingly powerful V8s, letting customers choose the power level that suited their needs and budget.
The Mach-E is following the Mustang’s 1964 playbook, with a single large motor driving the rear wheels in the base model. Drivers who want all-wheel-drive can add a second, smaller motor to the front axle, boosting performance and all-season traction. And the Mach-E GT puts one of the large electric motors at both the front and rear axles, for maximum power. “Even the slowest one feels brisk,” reports Palmer, “and the fastest one is outrageous.”
Ford also doubled down on the experience of one-pedal driving. Many EVs employ aggressive regeneration when the driver lifts off the accelerator, providing defacto braking that lets them start and stop the car using only the accelerator. This one-pedal driving can be very convenient in traffic, but it usually works only at slow speeds, not when you need to come to a complete stop.
“Many electric cars, when you take your foot off the gas, they regen down to 3 mph and then they can’t regen any more. You can’t really stop by just taking your foot off the accelerator because it is not bringing you to a halt.”
Recognizing this issue, the Mach-E will actually activate the foundation brakes at these very low speeds to give drivers a seamless one-pedal driving experience, Palmer explained. “We have integrated the brake system to do that. You get one pedal to bring the vehicle to a stop because we blend in the brakes and hold you on a hill.”
The Mach-E includes driver-selectable modes, so that they can calibrate the car’s response to the situation as needed. “Whisper” mode might be ideal for getting to work on a groggy Monday morning, with its soft acceleration, easy steering and soothing sounds through the audio system , while “Unbridled” will unleash abrupt power with quick steering and invigorating sound.
Ford knows that few customers have electric vehicle charging stations installed in their homes today, so to lower that barrier, the company is including a portable charger with the Mach-E that works are higher-powered 240-volt power outlets. Many companies’ chargers work with both 120-volt and 240-volt plugs, but the Mach-E’s charger taps the 240-volt dryer-type outlet at 9.6 kilowatts, for faster home charging than the typical charger. The Nissan Leaf, BMW i3, and Fiat 500e, for example, have 6.6-kW chargers.
Previously, to get this kind of charging power, customers would have had to install a home charging unit. “We chose to give what you need in the luggage compartment. All you need is a dryer socket, and you’ve got everything you need,” Palmer said.
Image source: Ford Motor Co.
This combination of well-considered details could explain why the orders for the Mustang Mach-E First Edition are already sold out. Ford says that 55 percent of buyers are opting for the available all-wheel drive and 80 percent have chosen the optional 98.8 kilowatt-hour extended range battery over the standard 75.7 kWh pack.
The Mach-E’s sporty styling and athletic performance should ensure that Ford’s first serious EV will escape the Volt’s ignominious end. Ford says there are still some Premium Edition and GTs available for order, even though the First Edition is sold out.
Dan Carney is a Design News senior editor, covering automotive technology, engineering and design, especially emerging electric vehicle and autonomous technologies.