BUZZWORD FORWARD: Moving the needle on the Blue Oval brand’s North American portfolio dial further towards renewable Green, Ford has chosen a path invoking heritage conventional internal combustion models rather than competitors unconventional appliance designs and names more evocative of utility companies.
PONY-CAR APPROPRIATED E-SAV: Sure as the sun will rise in the East, enthusiasts will cringe at the heresy of it. However, following current trends, the marketers and general public will appreciate it. For Ford’s first foray into a mass market all-battery electric powered car is a five-door sport activity vehicle, neither coupe nor convertible, which features two prominent wild horses in stride on hood and liftgate and takes the name of the storied American sports coupe. It is the all-new 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E.
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WHAT: 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E ER Premium AWD plug-in battery electric compact sport activity vehicle, based on Ford Global Electrified 1 platform (GE1), itself based on a heavily modified C2 compact car platform that underpins the Ford Escape and Lincoln Corsair crossover SUVs.
Standard Power: Net Power: 326 hp @3800 – 8000 rpm / 428 lb-ft @ 0-3600 rpm
- E-Motor 1, rear axle = 360V synchronous AC traction & regenerative charging motor: 282 hp (210 kW) / 306 lb-ft,
- (optional) E-Motor 2, front axle = 360V synchronous AC traction & regenerative charging motor: 67 hp (50 kW) / 111 lb-ft , (30/70% front/ rear power split)
DRIVE UNIT: 1 x BorgWarner iDM single (1) speed planetary – coaxial gear reduction drive per E-Motor
- battery – standard range: 288 Lithium Ion Polymer cells, 360V, 180 amp hr, 68 kWh
- battery – extended range: 376 Lithium Ion Polymer cells, 360V, 180 amp hr, 88 kWh
ONBOARD CHARGING PORT(S):
- 11.5 kW SAE J1772 (AC, Levels 1, 2)
- 150 kW CCS Combo 2 (DC, Level 3)
CHARGING DURATION (rated):
- Level 1 110V AC 6 ampere charge = 95 hours 95% charge (from 80% discharge)
- Level 2 240V AC 6 ampere charge = 14 hours 95% charge
- Level 3 480V DC 16 ampere charge
- 50 kW = 1.5 hours to 80% charge
- 100 kW = 50 minutes to 80% charge
- 150 kW = 30 minutes to 80% charge
WHAT (A) STYLING DIFFERENCE: Fox bodied Mustangs were liftbacks so the Mach-E hasn’t completely taken liberties with the model designation. Then the rear arrowhead sequential rear directionals are from the current Pony Car. Flavors of Mustang include power dome flanked by dual valley hood; Raked back windshield & near fastback roof slope; Tall beltline; Powerful 2nd Row beltline crease to rear quarter panel hip flaring
Not To Be Confused With Bland EV: Now comes a battery electric car with a front grille… well sort of. It’s a solid body colored Mustang Hexagonal dish. √ Body color matching lower front air dam sprouts gray mustache, propping up side chins, folding at lower corner to create simulated vertical intakes; √ Hood = two deep side valley flanking power dome design.
√ Prominent front door beltline scooping; √ Sub cheatline door creasing followed below by gloss black lower cladding, rising in the middle to cinch the door panels. √ Sharply rising beltline from mid 2nd Row to D-pillar kink; √ Nearly full fixed panorama glass roof dramatically sloped; Roof terminates in gloss black spoiler.
√ Raked liftgate window meets deck featuring integrated spoiler lip; √ Inward then outward folded liftgate bottom; √ Lateral 3-head stingray sequential taillamp array spans from quarters into the lower liftgate; √ Bumper cover tucks upward with an inverted V license plate valley; √ Multi lateral folded gloss black lower rear fascia.
WHY: First Blue Oval SAV out of the battery electric gate borrows on the heritage of Pony Car nameplate.
WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since Winter 2020-2021
WHERE: Ford new vehicle dealers (designated Ford Electrified)
WHERE MADE: Cuaytitlán, Izcalli, Mexico
HOW ROADWORTHY: As the first battery electric vehicle from the Blue Oval is sufficiently to brandish the brand’s performance sport car’s nameplate, the performance objectives are correspondingly lofty. Once the super potent Mach-E GT shows in 2022, the tested twin motor Extended Range all-wheel drive slots from top to mid power trim.
As with bogey Tesla Model Y and other unlimited revolutions per minute single gear electric motor drive it’s battery DC current converted to Alternating Current by a power inverter, routed to each of the BorgWarner integrated drive modules containing E-Motor + gear reduction unit. And the learning curve for input to reaction isn’t very steep.
“Unbridled” drive mode is optimized for highway go. Throttle response is a lot less touchy than your typical golf cart with correspondingly more accelerator pedal travel. That availability of full torque at all times, and no “baited breath” wait for transmission ” kick ups or downs” makes for an uncanny point and go power modulation. Mach-E upsets a reality where ICE sensory impression of acceleration relies on combustion sounds. The first few outings when barest road noise permeating a brilliantly silenced cabin is eery and the selectable faux exhaust noise does no favors. But with the passage of time one learns to trust aerodynamic drag and suspension feedback as velocity transmitters. Roadblazing.com editors think Ford was wise to opt for milder default regenerative braking so as to deliver a more traditional “coasting” experience.
- Three (3) drive modes = Engage, Whisper, Unbridled: Not much difference between first two, latter offers greater throttle response
- selectable 1-Pedal Drive: Crazy sensitive throttle tip in followed by abrupt regenerative slowing, usable as a slow speed crawl mode.
A battery electric driving machine can mop up any conventional internal combustion vehicle on low center of gravity roll resistance. This way lower than normal spring rates can be fitted supplying a well managed ride. Wheel hop on the 19″ wheels is a slowed thud rather than jolt. Michelin Primacy touring shoes, slightly squishy, grip up to 7/10’s with confidence. A 30:70% F:R all-wheel power split staves off tail plowing. The electrified pinion steering rack does just allow feel to filter through, though the reactive speed is far from that of a racer. The Mustang Mach-E brake pedal modulates pads clamp on large rotors with grand touring firmness, though a hard strap invokes body dive.
- 3 miles per kWh
- 80 MPG-e electric equivalent to combined miles per gallon fuel economy
- 230 highway miles range per 95% full battery charge
HOW IT CHARGES: FordPass wireless app (available on either Android or Apple I) manages accounts for most major public charging networks; Native GPS navigation includes dedicated public charging location search in vicinity; Native in-vehicle at-home charge scheduling with remote FordPass control; Charge depletion level re-charge notification settings.
-1 FordPass lists less accurate charging station information than PlugShare application.
- Primarily connected to Electrify America DC CCSAO charging network in metropolitan Chicago and Milwaukee
- DC Electrical charge cost = (on location payment)
- Peak (observed) charging speeds from 150 / 350 kW CCS-2 DC chargers:
- 113 kW @ 51% charge status
- 88 kW @ 65% charge
- 11 kW beyond 80% charge
HOW BIG/ LITTLE: √ 5 Occupant 2+3 seating. Front buckets come across as narrow and a sloping roof shaves rear confine scalp space.
– For 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Comparison’s Sake:
- 117.1″-inch Wheelbase: 0.8″ < Audi E-Tron; 0.8″ < Tesla Model Y; 0.8″ < Volvo XC40 Recharge; 2.9″ > VW ID.4
- 2nd Row legroom: 0.8″ < Audi E-Tron; 0.8″ < Tesla Model Y; 0.8″ < Volvo XC40 Recharge; 2.9″ > VW ID.4
- Nominal, expanded cargo capacity: -10%, -0.5% vs. Audi E-Tron; – 15% vs. Tesla Model Y; +23%, -5.0% vs. Volvo XC40 Recharge; -10%, -0.5% vs. VW ID.4
HOW USEFUL: √ Hatchback cargo bay; √ 60/40% split folding 2nd Row seat backs, with seatback button releases; √ Variable height power liftgate; √ Liftgate affixed cargo bay privacy shade; √ Carpeted hard cargo floor; √ Sub cargo floor management & home charging cable; √ Cargo-area 12V outlet; √ Damped action glove box; √ Deep center console bin with roll-top lid; √ Front trunk aka “FRUNK”
- +1 Non-intruding cargo area wheel arch for good cargo width; Roll top sub armrest bin; Overhead console retracting sunglass bin; Frunk (front trunk) with drain (for tailgating ice)
- –1 Detached hinged armrest above center console bin makes difficult access; Cargo bay not very tall; High load liftover; No bumper protecting load sill; No cargo bay remote 2nd Row seatback releases; Fixed frunk management dividers; Unlined hard glove box and door pocket surfaces
HOW SAFE: 2021 IIHS Top Safety Pick; STANDARD: √ 10 airbags; √ Rear camera w/ predictive grid; √ Audible rear park assist; √ Roll mitigation; √ MyKey restrictive access; Ford Co-Pilot360: √ Blind Spot, rear cross traffic Warning; √ Post collision S.O.S. alert; √ Lane Departure Warning & Steer Prevention; √ Forward collision, pedestrian detection warning w/ avoidance braking; -1 Dim headlights
AVAILABLE (included in tester)
- Surround View camera w/ sonar proximity warning
- Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist Plus: Full adaptive cruise control; Emergency evasive steering, Lane center steering.
- Active Park Assist: -1 perpendicular parking struggles
- Automatic high beam headlamps, rain sensing interval wipers
-1 Unavailable until 2022 MY = Blue Cruise interstate Level 2.5 autonomous driver assistance, (assuming the name does not change pending General Motors’ copyright infringement litigation.)
HOW PEOPLE FRIENDLY: The bar for battery electric vehicle cabin instrumentation is understandably minimalist. EV’s have been conceived for lower operator interaction with fewer secondary driving operations and conditions to be monitored by the driver. In this respect the Ford’s Mustang Mach-E Premium doesn’t really disappoint at all. A thin 10.2″ -inch landscape LCD instrument cluster consumes the view between upper steering wheel spokes, prominently displaying basic stuff such as state of charge, vehicle speed, driver assist modes.
Mustang Mach-E’s follows EV hip with a whopping 15.0″ -inch portrait touch LCD display. Despite variable cabin accent lighting the only color choices for both gauge and infotainment display are daytime white, where blue lettering is faint or night time dark grey. MySync 4 reduces menu layers and speeds up processor time.
The approach to door opening is yet another e-vehicle exercise in unconventional. As a variation on Porsche and Tesla power releasing blade handles, Ford implements a white ring button in the right-side window frame per aperture. Interior door pull up levers are recessed into the outboard armrests. A metallic rotary center console knob spins the transmission selector.
Push button start button, pretty normal Ford power window & lock switches, glove box latch, and power seat controls all are 21st century conventional.
√ ActiveX leatherette seating – heated Row 1; √ Wide berth, sport bolstered front bucket seats; √ 8-way power front seats, w/ 3-setting driver memory; √ Leather tilt + telescoping steering wheel with spoke integrated tactile redundant controls; √ Automatic 2-zone climate control; √ 2nd Row climate vents; √ Large center console ribbed rotary metallic transmission position; √ Overhead console retracting sunglasses bin; √ Power folding side mirrors.
Cool Gizmo(s): √ Self tinting panoramic glass roof; √ Variable color foot well, center console & door panel ambient lighting;
Details Done Right: √ Contrast stitched ActiveX leatherette; √ Soft touch dash and door padding; √ Carbon fiber mid dash accents;
√ Heathered Gray tweed woven cloth dash and door panels, doubling as grille covers for B&O Play audio speakers.
Nearly Non-Descript: -1 Sharp unfinished edge cabin plastics, Door, steering spoke switches and stalks lack tactile distinction and precision action feel; Coarse grain below waist-height, pillar, aft cabin wall plastic cabin trim & omission of center console knee padding; seats low on lateral torso support.
HOW “APP” -LICABLE: √ MyFord Sync4 center dash tablet mount 15.0″-inch portrait oriented, capacitive touch LCD infotainment screen; √ Bluetooth & voice command hands-free communications; √ GPS HDD Navigation w/ 3-D map, voice guidance; √ SMS messaging; √ Android Auto / Apple Car Play smart phone projection; √ MyFord Sync4 Apps; √ FordPass mobile device app vehicle and services remote control; √ USB-A x 2, USB-C x 2, 12V x 2 (incl., cargo)
Audibly: √ 10-speaker, 560 watt B&O Play audio shrills the highs;
- +1 Mammoth hard to miss icon media display; Extensive MyFord Sync4 voice commands for climate, audio, voice to text SMS and navigation inputs
- -1 FordPass app requires adding multiple public charging provider accounts, omits real time charger status and electricity cost, yet includes GAS STATION information & fuel pricing!!
By Subscription: √ Sirius XM Traffic, Metro Weather radio & TravelLink apps (5 yrs. included); √ Wi-Fi hot spot (by Verizon Wireless)
HOW MUCH: $55,020 = as tested 2021 Ford Mach-E ER Premium AWD suggested retail price
WHAT’S MISSING: Lighter weight; Way more cabin finish distinction; Real time power + regeneration flow display w/ battery discharge rate; DC charging which comes close to 150 kW speed.
ANY COMPETITION: Audi E-Tron: quicker DC charging, premium cabin materials; Tesla Model Y: Tesla look + quirks, Supercharger network; Volvo XC40 Recharge: Conventional ICE Volvo look inside and out; prestige cabin; VW ID.4: more informative infotainment and power flow display
FINAL WORD: First Blue Oval SAV out of the battery electric gate earns the literary license it takes with Pony Car name.
Contributing Editor: T. Paluch