It will be close to a year before the first customer takes delivery of one of Ford’s new Mustang Mach-E electric crossovers, but the on-line order banks are open.
The Mach-E is the first of a new crop of electric vehicles Ford plans. It wants to offer hybrid or electric versions of every model it makes by 2026.
We’ve covered the launch of the Mach-E, publicly unveiled earlier this week, now here’s a look at some things we’ve found out since.
NOT ALWAYS A MUSTANG.
The Mach-e started life in the middle of the decade as what is often called a “compliance car.”
Ford charged its engineers and to build a conventional electric hatchback to meet zero-emission vehicle requirements in California and other states. The automaker didn’t intend to sell it everywhere or make it a brand icon.
But two years ago, Ford formed a special group to look at is electric vehicle strategy and think outside the box. Ford executives told the team to scrap the compliance car and create an EV that built on the classic Mustang sports coupe.
They created the Mustang Mach-E in just two years – half the typical design time for a new model. Ford will sell the Mach-E nationally and in Europe.
The company says that 2,110 of its 3,000 U.S. dealers in the U.S. will sell and service EVs. Collectively, they have more than 9,000 EV-trained service technicians.
There also are 1,200 Ford-certified body shops nationally that have staff to work on the high-voltage power systems of EVs.
Ford established an EV parts warehousing system that will make it possible to promise next-day delivery for 95 percent of the Mach-E’s parts.
The base “Select” trim level of the new electric Mustang Mach-E will start at $43,895. A federal tax credit that will be worth $7,500 to most purchasers will cut the real cost to $36,395. State and local credits available in some regions would reduce the actual cost by thousands more. In Colorado, for instance, the cost for a Mach-E Select after incentives could drop to just over $31,000.
Most sales will take place through an on-line ordering system. Customers can still work with their local dealership. But Ford thinks most buyers will place their orders from home, though. The system also will enable customers to track the progress of their vehicles.
The development team for ford’s newest vehicle worked out of Detroit’s oldest neighborhood.
When Ford picked its electric vehicle development team – called Team Edison – it located the group away from distracting corporate influences at Ford’s Dearborn, Mich., headquarters.
Team Edison set up shop in a 111-year old former hosiery factor in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood. It is part of a high-tech campus Ford is developing at the landmark Michigan Central Station railway terminal.
RANGE ISN’T CHEAP.
Ford starts the Mach-E lineup with the Select and Premium “standard range” trims with a 75.7-kilowatt-hour battery pack good for up to 230 miles of range. Upper trim levels have a larger “extended range” and a battery good for up to 300 miles.
The Premium trim can be ordered with the 98.8-kWh extended range battery, but it is a $5,000 option. That’s $71.43 for each extra mile of range, or $216.45 for each additional kilowatt-hour of battery capacity.
The Mach-E is rooted in Ford’s desire to, in the words of Chief Executive Jim Hackett, own the future. “It’s our right to win there. We don’t have to cede that to anybody, Tesla, anybody,” he told an interviewer several years ago.
Ford launched the Mach-E just yards away from Tesla’s Southern California-based design center in the Los Angeles suburb of Hawthorne. The campus is also home to the Space X rocket company, which is owned by Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive.
Just like Tesla’s cars, the Mustang Mach-E has a giant vertically mounted touchscreen in the center of the dash. It is the control center for almost every function on the car. Except for a volume control for the audio system, it is operated only by touch or voice command.
Other touches influenced by Tesla: an optional panoramic glass roof on some models; a small front trunk, or frunk; over-the-air software updates; a fairly plain nose with no visible grille; even hidden door handles.
RANGE AND SPEED
The Mach-E’s performance and range specifications also tend to line up with comparably equipped Tesla Model Y crossovers.
The base Mach-E Select, for instance, has 230 miles of range, a mid-five second 0-60 mpg acceleration time and 64.4 cubic feet of cargo space. The Model Y Standard Range has 230 miles of range, a 5.9-second 0-60 sprint time and 66 cubic feet of storage space.