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Ford aims to challenge Tesla with Mustang Mach-E, an all-electric SUV

Ford has unveiled its seminal Mustang Mach-E EV. This is the first time in 55 years that the iconic Ford Mustang line-up has been expanded but more importantly, it is a car that finally brings Ford onto the electric car playing field – and it's certainly a bold entrance.

Using the Mustang name and taking its styling and performance inspiration from the original 'souped-up' version of the company's muscle car is, in itself, a strong statement – the Detroit team is not messing around with the Mach-E. It's also pretty clear that Ford also has the Tesla Model Y firmly in its crosshairs.

It's a tricky balance for the manufacturer – living up to the car's name's roots as well as being a viable car on its own, but Ford thinks it has it covered: “Whether you want to really feel its performance capability or are looking for the quiet experience that electric vehicles can offer, the Mustang Mach-E harnesses the power of electrification to create a unique driving experience while retaining that unmistakable Mustang feeling of freedom,” said Ted Cannis, Ford Enterprise Product Line Director, Global Electrification.

Powertrain and performance

Ford is launching the Mustang Mach-E with two battery size options and three motor configurations. The base-level car has a 75kWh lithium-ion battery and a 245bhp, 307lb-ft motor which enables a WLTP range of around 270 miles. Up from this is a 99kWh battery and 285bhp motor (also with 307lb-ft) which boosts the range up to a Tesla-testing 370 miles. Performance figures for these single motor options haven't been revealed but 62 should come up in around seven seconds.

As well as the single motor, rear wheel driver variants, Ford is offering the car in 'Mach-E 4' spec with a twin motor, all-wheel drive setup. This comes with independent torque vectoring and the obvious off-the-line performance advantage, though range does suffer. With the 75kWh battery the Mach-E 4 gets 245bhp, 429lb-ft and a range of around 260 miles. In 99kWh spec it gets 332bhp, the same torque and a range of approximately 335 miles. Zero to 62 will be slightly less than that of the two-wheel drive cars.

Mindful of the Mustang's performance heritage, Ford is already planning a Mach-E GT version of the car. This takes the headline performance figures to a new level and should be more of a competitor to Tesla's faster Model Y variants thanks to 459bhp and 612lb-ft of torque. Ford's reckoning on around five seconds to 62 in this guise and an expected range of around 250 miles.

In all cases, charging is taken care of at up to DC 150kW which can add 57 miles of range in 10 minutes and on the 75kWh, standard range cars, 10 to 80 per cent charge takes 38 minutes. Using a home charge wall box solution (which in the UK will be dealt with by Centrica), charging takes place at a rate of 38 miles added per hour. Out on the road drivers of the Mach-E shouldn’t find themselves short of places to stop thanks to an extensive network and FordPass having already been put in place.

Exterior and interior

Turning the Mustang from a low-slung coupe into an SUV was never going to work for everybody and there are already plenty of voices on both the love and the hate sides of the coin. The fact is that with the skateboard battery setup, the cells are taller (albeit in a smaller footprint) which makes the Coupe SUV shape more practical. Moreover, people in Ford’s domestic US market and globally are demanding SUVs, so it’s a safe business decision as well.

The Mach-E certainly keeps plenty of the ‘normal’ Mustang’s design cues including the silhouette, enlarged haunches, bonnet shape, aggressively-styled headlights and trademark tri-bar taillamps. It’s certainly suitably Mustang-y, but like any car that gets SUV-fied, it will take some time to get used to.

Under the elongated bonnet where a turbocharged V6 or thumping V8 would usually sit is a waterproof, 100 litre luggage area – perfect for those ‘lifestyle’ moments of muddy boots or sports clothing. There’s plenty of space inside, too, as the boot is good for 402 litres of space with the rear bench in place, or a considerable 1420 litres with it folded.

Inside, the connectivity is dominated by a next-generation SYNC comms and entertainment system. This benefits from over-the-air updates so will be upgraded in time. A 15.5 inch touchscreen interface uses smartphone-style controls for ease of use and there’s voice control for on-the-move commands. Smartphone integration is dealt with in the usual ways through Apple and Android connection services, plus with ‘phone as a key’ technology, the car hooks up to a driver’s phone’s Bluetooth so it’s configured and ready to go for that individual before they even enter the car. Navigation is set up to help drivers make the most of EV life through points of interest and charging network information. A 10.2 inch digital cluster provides the driver with information.

The interior of the Mustang Mach-E features traditional Mustang design cues like the double-cowl instrument panel round out the interior. Where specced, a Bang & Olufsen stereo integrates speakers seamlessly into the upper dash like a sound bar. The optional panorama fixed-glass roof has special glass coating with infrared protection which helps the interior stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. In addition, an inner layer between the glass helps protect against ultraviolet rays.

Price and availability

Final prices will be announced in due course, but in the UK we’re expecting prices to start at around £40,000 with a launch edition coming in at closer to £60,000. Prospective owners can already configure their ideal car and register their interest over on Ford’s website, but it won’t hit the roads until October 2020 – which is an annoyingly long time to wait!

On paper at least, the Ford Mustang Mach-E is a strong entry into the EV world for the company. It has the range, power and stand-out styling that consumers are demanding. It also carries that iconic name, so let’s hope that to drive Ford has ensured the Mach-E lives up to expectations!

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