I never thought I’d buy an electric car, but that all changed the day I walked into the electric car dealer in Albany. Sure, I have friends who drive EVs like Teslas and hybrids like a Prius. However, these guys are the really socially conscious ones who always make sure to check for a Fair Trade label before buying a chocolate bar or a pound of coffee. Some might call them “tree-huggers” as an insult, but I’m not into insulting my friends. It’s just that they see it as their duty to take on Global Warming single-handedly.
While I agree we need to do more for the environment, I’m not going to sacrifice performance just to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or get a better fuel economy. I do my part by recycling all my cans and bottles, and I’m comfortable enough that I’m not too worried about spiraling gas prices. No, there has to be something more in it for me than that. This is why I was stunned when the saleswoman at the dealership asked me if I was interested in test-driving a 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E. She remembered me since she was the one who’d sold me the 2019 F-150 King Ranch I drive for business and the 2016 Mustang GT I drive for fun. Let’s just say I didn’t drive that Mustang GT home from the dealer that day.
Ford’s Gone Electric
As we walked out of the dealership into the lot, the saleswoman asked me if I knew much about the Ford lineup of electric cars. I admitted that I didn’t know much more than the article I read about President Biden getting a ride in the new Ford F-150 Lightning. She smiled and said they were expecting to get those in soon. “Do those really go 0 to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds, or is that just a lot of malarky?” She started to laugh and then said, “I’m showing you the Mustang Mach-E today, but when we start getting the F-150 Lightning models in, I’ll make sure to schedule a test drive for you.”
The saleswoman went on to explain Ford’s commitment to EVs and hybrid vehicles. It seems that Ford is building one of the most diverse and extensive lineups of alternative energy vehicles, positioning the company for a future where internal combustion gas engines are a thing of the past. Each of these Ford vehicles seems to be designed to address a need in a different segment of the automotive market.
The all-new Ford Maverick compact pickup truck has a standard hybrid engine, perfect for the contractor who needs to get around and doesn’t want to spend much money filling up his tank and cutting into his profits. Similarly, the Ford Escape Hybrid is a crossover with a very roomy interior, exceptional fuel economy, and an affordable price, making it ideal for a young family starting out. As a hybrid, this model pairs a 2.5-liter I-4 Atkinson-cycle gas engine with an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission and an 88 kW electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery. As a result, it gives drivers better fuel economy than found on a standard model Escape. However, since my kids were all grown and my wife is semi-retired, I was looking for something more exciting to replace my old Mustang.
First Impressions of a Whole New Mustang
When we got to the Mustang Mach-E that I would be test-driving, I was struck immediately by its clean, aerodynamic lines with the futuristic appearance of this EV. It looked like someone took my old Mustang and made it even sportier. The front grille was gone, replaced with a solid front fascia, but the classic Mustang logo is still there. This is offset by a pair of sharp-angled LED headlights in keeping with the sleek design of the Mach-E.
I asked if I could look under the hood before we got started. At that comment, the salesperson just started laughing and said, “Sure, why not? But I really don’t see the point.” She pushed the button, and the hood opened up to an empty space! Where other Mustangs have a V8 under the hood, this Mach-E had a storage compartment. I was informed that this is called a “frunk” (for front trunk) with an extra 4.8 cubic feet of space to put a small case or anything else I need to carry. I stammered, “Where did they put the engine?” It was then that she told me that the two electric motors are by the Mustang Mach-E’s front and rear axles, connected to the extended-range 98.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The engines are, in fact, two permanent-magnet synchronous AC motors, capable of 480 horsepower and 634 lb-ft of instant torque in the model I drove.
A Test-Drive Like No Other
“I know your need for speed,” the saleswoman remarked. “Today, we’ll be testing driving the Mach-E GT Performance Edition with eAWD.” I was surprised, to say the least. All-wheel drive in a performance sports car seems self-defeating. Well, I guessed I was in for another surprise.
Climbing into the cockpit, I noticed the driver’s seat is an extremely comfortable bucket with Ford’s ActiveX seating material offset by perforated reflective inserts and metallic stitching. I buckled up while the saleswoman climbed into the passenger seat. The digital information cluster screen is a futuristic 10.2-inch screen. Right next to it is a vertical 15.5-inch touchscreen that looks like a really large tablet computer. I turned on the Deep Tracks channel on SiriusXM and was struck by the quality of the Bang and Olufsen sound system. The saleswoman looked over and said, “Are you going to sit here all day playing with the stereo, or do you plan on seeing what this EV is capable of?”
I shifted the Mustang Mach-E into gear and was immediately struck by the responsiveness of the powertrain. It didn’t take much to get it going, and once we were on the freeway, I really put the pedal to the metal. This Mustang Mach-E really took off. I didn’t have a stopwatch on me, but the car felt every bit as fast as its listed 3.5-second 0 to 60 time. The cornering was exceptional as the eAWD held tight to the curve without having to take my foot off the accelerator or work the brake. The Mustang Mach-E actually slowed down by just taking my foot off the accelerator. This single-pedal driving makes the Mustang Mach-E even easier to handle when you’re driving fast in traffic.
I was determined to see if I could give my saleswoman a good set of white knuckles, but she was laughing and smiling throughout the entire trip. I guess I wasn’t the first guy to test-drive this EV with her.
We got back to the dealer’s lot after an exhilarating 20 minutes. Lisa asked, “So, what do you think?” I turned to her and said, “I’ll take it.” Yes, I bought that exact model 2021 Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition in Rapid Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat. We got back inside, worked out the details on the trade-in of my 2016 Mustang GT, phoned DMV and my insurance carrier, and I was good to go.
Another EV Convert
You can only imagine the expression on my wife’s face when I got home that day with a brand new car. I’d just gone to the dealership on a scouting mission and came back as a new convert to the EV revolution. She didn’t hear me arrive since the Mustang Mach-E was so quiet. But she did hear me at the front-drive and was pleasantly surprised when she came outside to see my new car. My wife took one look at me and said, “When do I get mine?”