I still have a problem with Ford calling a tall, electric five-door crossover vehicle a Mustang. Such complaints from fellow purists fell on deaf ears.
Ford introduced its first pure electric vehicle wearing the Mustang Mach-E moniker late in 2019. It went on sale a year later as a 2021 model.
Based on the Global Electrified 1 (GE1), a platform developed specifically for vehicles powered by electric motors, the Mach-E is built in Mexico and China. Not a single bolt, part or piece of metal or plastic is shared with the ‘regular’ Mustang.
The blatant attempt to cash in on the cache of the two-door pony car’s reputation has been all but ignored, and extremely successful.
The Mach-E has become a regular site on roads across North America and in Europe.
When I first reviewed the Mach-E on this space two and one-half years ago, it was available with two different battery packs and rear or all-wheel-drive. One electric motor for the rear wheels and a second for the fronts.
The current Mach-E is available in Select, Premium, California Route 1, and GT Performance Edition trim levels.
Power and range depend on the battery and motor combinations. The standard battery pack is a 70-kWh unit. A 91-kWh extended range pack is also available. These feed a single electric motor for the rear wheels on Select and Premium trim levels, and a second motor for the front wheels on AWD versions of each trim level.
The GT Performance model boasts 480-horsepower and 634 lb. ft. of torque from its two motors. Single motor models make 266 or 290 horsepower and 317 lb. ft. of torque, depending on which battery pack. AWD versions other than the GT level, make from 266-347 horsepower and 427 lb. ft. of torque, again depending on which battery pack is involved.
Range estimates run from 365 km to 500 km.
In all cases, performance is smooth, silent and impressive.
As with any motor or engine, performance is directly related to power, as is mileage or range. It is all too easy to get carried away, and into illegal territory, with the instant and effortless power of electric vehicles.
The tester’s ability to squirt from rest to illegal in little more than five silent seconds could be addictive. And the silky smoothness and silly power available when pulling out to pass gets into ticket territory in less than two seconds.
Which brings up the subject of range.
Ford says the Mach-E tester is capable of going up to 500 km between ‘fills’. A more realistic number is 350, or less if driven hard, considerably less. You have to realize, though, that the same situation takes place with a powerful internal combustion engine. Driven hard, fuel mileage will drop drastically.
But, with an IC engine, you are comfortable watching the fuel gauge drop to near empty, knowing that a gas station is never more than a few dozen kilometres away.
When you depend on an electric charging station for a refill, you quickly learn why the phrase ‘range anxiety’ has become so common.
You dare not let the remaining range drop much below 20%, even if the in-house infotainment system or an app on your phone tells you there is a charger coming up. All too often, when you find the charger, it is a) in use or b) does not function.
To add to the problem there is the case where someone is plugged in but has gone somewhere to shop, eat or wait, often not returning until long after their vehicle has been fully charged.
Worst case? An ignorant non-electric vehicle owner has taken up the parking space designated for a recharging station.
One final beef. All this talk of DC fast-charging at 150 or even 400 kW is great fluff for marketing purposes. But, here in the Maritimes, it is difficult to find a station offering more than 50 kWh of juice.
There is good news on the horizon. Most electric vehicle manufacturers have reached an agreement with Tesla that will allow the use of that company’s reliable charging stations. Until then, invest in a 240-kw home charging station which will allow you to charge your vehicle up to 80% overnight.
All versions of the Mach-E come with fast-charging capability.
OK – enough about the electric part of the Mach-E. What about the other stuff? Is it worthy of the Mustang name?
The extremely heavy battery packs are situated under the floor. The resulting lower centre of gravity is a major factor in the Mach-E’s commendable handling prowess. That same placement of the battery pack leaves room for a spacious trunk and a second ‘frunk’ up front where the engine would be in a vehicle with an internal combustion engine.
The Mach-E boasts a full slate of active and passive safety features. A huge vertically-mounted touchscreen and a digital instrument cluster are clear evidence this is a next-generation automobile. It is loaded with all the luxury and high-tech features expected of an $80,000+ vehicle.
The Mustang Mach-E has little in common with the 50-year-old Mustang coupe, other than the galloping horse badge. It is not related in any mechanical way with that iconic sports car. But it does offer the performance and driving experience worthy of that name.
FACTS & FIGURES – 2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium AWD
As tested: $82,790 including freight
10-speaker B & O audio system, 40-cm screen, Ford Co-Pilot 360 technology, four USB ports, SYNC4 with enhanced voice-recognition
LED projector headlights, evasive steering assist, intersection assist, forward sensing system
Electric door openers, heated wiper park, power, heated, folding mirrors, panoramic sunroof, power windows, dual zone automatic climate control, 26-cm digital instrument cluster, heated power front seats, tilt & telescope steering wheel, wireless charging pad, 19-in aluminum wheels, power liftgate, intelligent access with push-button start, heated steering wheel, memory for driver’s seat and mirrors, 360-degree camera, universal garage door opener, navigation system, keyless entry keypad
91 kWh extended battery, $13,000; Interior protection package (cargo floor liner, front trunk liner) $350
Two permanent-magnet synchronous AC motors, combined output, 346-horsepower, 428-lb.ft. of torque, liquid-cooled 91 kWh lithium-ion battery; single speed transmission, all-wheel-drive, NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway):10.7/8.1
Length, 4,713-mm; width, 1,881-mm; wheelbase, 2,984-mm, weight, 1,959-kg