It was the middle of November when current auto news headlines found themselves crippled under the weight of Ford’s introduction of their all-electric ‘Mustang-inspired’ crossover SUV, the Mach-E. And while the buzz was real among the general consumer, the rest of us in the automotive sector could breathe a sigh of relief as it’s often felt like an arduous task just to get to this point. After all, there had been over two years of seemingly endless speculation, non-insightful leaks and…well… a whole lot of nothing masquerading as something, in the hopes of building anticipation for the reveal.
In all fairness, the extended secrecy made some sense. Even recently, Ford has been modest about the scope of their EV initiatives. They’ve been transparent in their favoring of hybrid technologies – all while GM, Nissan, and VW (among so many others) were all firmly aboard the zero-emission train. But while Ford might have taken measured steps in going head-to-head with the likes of Tesla, one can’t help but appreciate their troll-worthy decision to name their internal EV group ‘Team Edison.’ It’s trolling at its best, and worthy of Elon Musk’s approval.
Needless to say, Ford may not be ready to overhaul their entire lineup in favor of an “all-electric future,” but we all knew a play was going to be made. And while the jury’s still out as to whether their shrouded introduction of the Mach-E was a masterclass in marketing or reeked of self-sabotage, it was a smart move to make an EV play in the crossover SUV segment – especially with Ford’s dissolution of their sedan lineup.
We’ll get to our thoughts on the Mach-E (and where it’s headed) in just a bit. But first, let’s offer a quick recap of what it’s bringing to the party.
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E
In a stroke of word-smithing genius, Ford said it so eloquently, “Welcome to the Stable.” Double-entendre aside, the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E is designed to represent the future of exhilaration, taking everything that we love about the classic pony car, and evolving it to reflect the evolving values and priorities of a practical, sustainability-minded consumer base.
Served up in five distinct trim levels, the Mach-E is priced to start around $36,395 MSRP and is eligible for the (maximum $7,500) Federal Electrics Drive Motor Vehicle Tax Credit. The choice of models begins with the (base) ‘Select’ trim, followed by the ‘Premium’, ‘California Route 1’, and the ‘GT’. The lineup is capped off with a limited run of the ‘First Edition’ trim. Each of these is available for online preorder, when accompanied by the required $500 deposit.
Under the hood, you’ll find… well, you’ll find additional cargo options. But in terms of a powertrain itself, the Mach-E boasts one of two lithium-ion battery pack options. The first is a 757-kWh battery referred to as standard range, while an extended range option is served up in the 98.8-kWh option. There is also the choice of standard rear-wheel or all-wheel drive options.
Depending on the trim, power, and drivetrain configuration, the estimated range and performance of the Mach-E differ. It’s EPA-estimated all-electric numbers range from 235 to 300 miles. Its 0-60 mph time spans mid 3-second territory to mid 5-second.
Step inside, and you’ll find a spacious cabin with seating for five, a refined aesthetic, and forward-thinking inclusion of technology. The portrait-oriented tablet-styled touchscreen interface is eye-catching, to say the least – mostly because we haven’t seen it make its way into most domestic offerings.
Served up in seven iconic finish colors, the Mach-E does its best to balance the practical silhouette of a crossover with more aggressive, performance-inspired accents. We’ll leave it up to each of you as to how successful they were, but – admittedly – we’re still not entirely sold on whether or not it truly deserves such an exaggerated Mustang-affiliation.
Wait. There’s More…
But when the dust settled on the big reveal, there was another confirmation crouched in the shadows, waiting patiently to spring out of the darkness and reveal itself to the masses. Well, not so much a ‘confirmation’ has ‘heavy speculation.’ But, if we’re being completely honest, we’ve made it this far, so it’s entirely likely that the rumor/speculation has some weight behind it. And as Ford and Mustang enthusiasts already know, we’re talking about a Shelby (or would it be ‘Shelb-E’) variant.
In reports, Ford’s Ed Krenz has discussed the possibility at length, specifying that he was “looking forward to the challenge of applying the Shelby characteristics to an electric car.” Specifying that it would need “to be capable to go all day on a track day,” we can only assume that Krenz was speaking in regard to charging capability. But with full-charge ranges on some of today’s EV’s exceeding the 300-mile mark with juice to spare, is such a need really that far off?
That said, don’t expect the Shelb-E (we’re just going to refer to that, so we feel less compelled to roll our eyes if they actually do name it that) to happen anytime soon. While Ford hasn’t denied the possibility, they certainly haven’t confirmed it either. The official response can be limited to that of a Ford spokesperson who said, “With Mustang there is always opportunity for performance variants. Right now, it’s the Shelby GT500 just now hitting dealerships and following that are the all-new electric Mustang Mach-E SUV next year. It’s premature to speculate beyond those two new members of the Mustang lineup. ”
Thoughts on the 2021 Mustang Mach-E
In all honesty, we still haven’t made up our minds when it comes to the Mach-E. First things first, we’ve never really been enamored with the idea. Second, we’re not entirely sure if we’re enamored with the execution. Also, you could probably count the number of non-Ford employees who’ve had the opportunity to drive one on both hands. So, since we have yet to get behind the wheel, we’re going to save our final decisions until we get the chance.
The one thought that does sprint to mind is the important implications presented by both the Mach-E and Ford’s EV variant of the F-150. Acknowledging that we are still at a stage where naysayers of EV technologies are driving the narrative, automakers have their work cut out for them when it comes to building buy-in momentum. Some will have an easier time than others, especially if their offerings aren’t necessary performance-centric. How important considerations of horsepower, torque, acceleration, and top speed are to an automaker will inevitably shape their development and marketing strategies.
That said, it’s hard to find fault in the direction taken by Ford. There are no greater or more enduring poster children for the Ford brand than the Mustang and F-Series. If you were Ford, and you were planning to push a personalized EV agenda, you’d want to use those mainstays to show that you can still do what you do best, albeit in new ways. It’s a bold move, but a smart one, and it’ll be interesting to see where Ford’s EV story goes from here.
What do you think about the Mach-E?
We want to know, so be sure to let us know in the comments below!