Deliveries of first model expected by year-end
Despite a global pandemic, low gasoline prices, financial instability for many consumers and production challenges in the U.S. and Mexico, Ford’s 2021 Mach-E electric coupe is still on target for sales to begin late this year, according to the automaker’s Global Director of Electrification Mark Kaufman.
East and West Coast video conferences were held May 27 to update journalists on the purpose-built electric SUV coupe and to discuss the business plan for EVs, the charging infrastructure and capabilities and some of the car’s features. It was the most information released to date, including most specifications.
Kaufman, who led the video presentation from his home, has been with Ford since 1989 in senior roles on five continents with much electrification experience.
“All the different barriers to EV adoption are beginning to come down,” Kaufman, 52, said. “Customer expectations for a 300-mile driving range are becoming more affordable and the public charging infrastructure will be easier to access, all of which will lead to more demand from consumers.”
And he has no concern about the current low price of fuel that could blunt demand. “We have not backed off one second on our cycle plan. The cost of ownership could be an issue, but the other values of the car will outweigh the price of fuel.”
The Mach-E will be the first Mustang SUV crossover, the first all-wheel drive Mustang and the first Mustang with five seats rather than the traditional 2+2 format. The five-door Mach-E will pick up where the coupe leaves off with an extra seat and more cargo space, Kaufman said.
Depending on configuration, the Mach-E has driving ranges of 210-300 miles. Its basic body structure is a unitized steel frame with high strength steels (boron and welded blanks) with aluminum hood and fenders. The rear hatch is plastic.
Mach-E will be sold in four trim levels — Select, Premium, California Route 1 Edition and GT — in rear- or all-wheel drive with an option for an extended-range battery. Starting prices range from $44,895-$61,500, including the $1,000 freight charge from Cuautitlan Izcalli, Mexico. New owners will be able to deduct up to $7,500 with the federal electric-drive vehicle credit and there are additional state rebates for buying a battery-electric vehicle; California offers $2,000 through its Clean Vehicle Rebate. F And learn about federal tax incentives here.
Deliveries are on track for late this year, starting with the Premium edition. Others will follow soon after with the GT next summer. European deliveries will start in 2021, due to longer transportation time from the plant.
A Mach-E First Edition, $61,000, sold out in December, but here are some bullet points of what was learned:
• Carbonized Gray is the most popular choice with 38 percent choosing it, with Grabber Blue Metallic 35 percent and Rapid Red 27 percent
• More than 80 percent of U.S. customers are upgrading to the extended range battery
• About 55 percent are opting for all-wheel drive
• Almost 30 percent of U.S. customers are choosing the Mach-E GT
• More than a quarter of all reservations are coming from California
EV adoption in California is ahead of the rest of the U.S., Kaufman said, with a 4 percent share of the EV market, compared to 1 percent elsewhere. Nearly three in four customers in the Northeast reserving a Mustang Mach-E have so far opted for an all-wheel drive model, Kaufman said. “In states such as Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, that number climbs to more than 9 in 10.”
Online reservations can be made now.
The Mach-E had to live up to Mustang performance expectations but also have long-range driveability, Kaufman said. The challenge to provide range versus performance was handled by offering two battery sizes, 75.7 kWh and the 98.8 kWh extended range. Standard rear-wheel-drive models will have estimated ranges of 230 miles and up to 300 miles (or possibly more) with the extended-range battery. All-wheel drive drops the range to 210 and 270 miles, standard/extended.
The high-performance, dual-motor GT AWD will have blazing-quick acceleration to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds but with a range of 235 miles.
“We’ve really tried to lean into the Mustang DNA, Kaufman said, “by offering three performance modes, including “Whisper” and “Unbridled.”
With a tow rating of about 1,650 pounds (750kg), the car’s four-wheel disc brakes are huge: 18-inch vented discs front and solid 17-inch discs rear. And the GT gets 19-inch discs front and rear. The stopping power should be plenty for towing or to manage the curb weight, which has not been released. (The Jaguar iPace weighs about 4,800 pounds and the Audi e-tron 5,754 lbs.)
It appears to be a roomier cabin than the Mustang with 38.8 inches of headroom or 40.4 inches with the optional panoramic glass roof. Front legroom of 41.9 inches compares to 45.1 inches in the Mustang but shoulder room is 1.3 inches wider at 57.6 inches.
Back seat headroom is 38.3 inches (39.2 in. with the panoramic roof) with long legroom of 38.1 inches.
Cargo space is functional with a front trunk of 4.7 cubic feet and 29 cu.ft. behind the back seat or 59.6 cu.ft. with the back seat folded. The “frunk” is water-resistant and can be hosed out for tailgating, camping and toting muddy gear.
The liquid-cooled batteries are coming from South Korea-based LG Chem then assembled in the U.S. The standard-range battery pack has 288 cells and 376 for the extended-range pack. Electric-drive units are outsourced, but Ford writes all its own battery control and propulsion software.
The permanent magnet motor has various power ratings depending on model:
• The Select battery has 190 kW of power or 255 hp with 306 foot-pounds of torque; AWD raises torque to 417 lb.-ft.
• The Premium model with extended range battery has kilowatt power ratings of 210 and 248 for standard/extended range, with 305 lb.-ft. torque; AWD has 248 kW and 332 hp and 417 lb.-ft. torque;
• California Route 1 (rear-drive only) has ratings of 210 kW/282 hp and 306 lb.-ft. torque.
• And the GT has 342 kW of power, which translates to 459 horsepower 612 foot-pounds of torque.
A need to accelerate EV efforts
Ford saw a need to accelerate its EV efforts, citing a current sales forecast projecting that by 2025 more than 100 EVs are expected to go on sale in the U.S., 250 in Europe and 350 in China, he said. The Mach-E is part of the automaker’s $11.5 billion investment in electrified vehicles through 2022. Ford is expected to introduce 40 models over that period, including 16 battery-electric vehicles, according to industry reports.
An all-electric F-150 “is coming in a few years,” Ford says, “as well as the all-electric Transit van” under development for 2022. Ford has plans for hybrid-electrics on high-volume, profitable vehicles, including the Explorer and Escape hybrids launched last year and a new F-150 hybrid this year.
Soul of a Mustang, with tradeoffs
To build a foundation for long-term success in full-battery electrics, Ford would have to build a great product and “to play to our strengths, Kaufman said. “Exciting and capable fully electric vehicles are key to the success.”
Mustang is an iconic nameplate and has tremendous global appeal, Kaufman said, which will be an important asset to help generate interest in the car. That’s why the Mustang name was chosen with Mach-E, recalling the 1970s Mach I version of the muscle car — and which will be applied again this year to a new high-performance model of Mustang.
“Mach-E will be a great step forward for us,” he said. The electrification and body style were developed hand-in-hand to live up to Mustang performance expectations, he said. “The styling has a strong face with a long hood and sharp nose — or like a fist punching through the wall,” Kaufman said. But there were tradeoffs, he said. “The front fascia design gives up some aero, but it was actually critical to get the design DNA right.
To leverage technology, Ford benchmarked the world’s most popular plug-in electric vehicle, the Tesla Model 3, with worldwide sales of more than 300,000 in 2019. In preparation, an industry source told me that Ford had bought 20 Tesla Model 3s to tear apart and learn. (Tesla’s upcoming Model Y compact crossover will compete directly with the Mach-E.)
With a new architecture came the opportunity to “take advantage of not having a motor and what you can do with that space,” Kaufman said. His team had to determine how to use that space in ways customers will find value and how to keep the vehicle relevant, including over-the-air updates, which were challenging to prevent cyberhacks. There had to be a high level of coordination to download software in a way that won’t screw up other systems that are functioning, Kaufman said.
Appeal for younger buyers won’t be just for propulsion and motors but connectivity and “Gotta have-it new experiences,” he said. “Speed is twofold, there’s 0-60 and in how quickly the human-interface performs.”
Like the Model 3, the Mach-E has a large vertical tablet display (15-inches) to access various car features and apps. But, with input from customer focus groups, Ford added a dial at the bottom for audio volume and tuning. (In planning meetings, an engineer used a Keurig cup to quickly show size and functionality, and the style stayed very similar in the production model.)
Standard features will include next generation SYNC infotainment with connected navigation, Phone as a Key, wireless charging pad, rearview camera, two-way manually adjusted front seats, power and heated side mirrors, 10.2-inch digital cluster and 15.5-inch touch screen, six air bags, Ford Co-Pilot360 2.0 and Co-Pilot 360 Assist 2.0, LED Lights and sequential rear turn signals and 18-inch aluminum wheels.
Standard driver-assist technologies in the Ford Co-Pilot360 2.0 include reverse brake assist and reverse sensing system, post-impact braking, blind spot information with cross traffic alert, pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, lane keeping system. Co-Pilot360 Assist 2.0 adds intelligent adaptive cruise control with stop and go, evasive steering assist, lane centering and speed-sign recognition.
One of the biggest gripes for Tesla owners is the availability of a plugs along its Supercharger network of 1,870 stations with 16,585 Superchargers (plugs).
Early on Ford partnered with Volkswagen AG and its Electrify America and its DC fast charging and Level 2 stations. It also works with Amazon.com for installation of smart-connected home chargers. Eighty to 90 percent of charging is at home, but longer trips will require access to an extended charging network.
To date, the FordPass Connect charging network has 13,500 charging stations and 40,000 plugs. Ford says a depleted battery can be charged in 40 to 45 minutes at a DC fast charger with a peak charging rate of 150kW. A rear-drive model with extended battery could add about 47 miles of range in approximately 10 minutes. A standard range model could take a 10 percent to 80 percent charge in approximately 38 minutes.
Fast chargers are limited, but for home charging there is a 48-amp Ford Connected charge station that will recharge a depleted battery in 10.1 hours or 30 miles per charging hour.
And all Ford all-electric vehicles will have an onboard charger for household, 120-volt current or a higher-voltage 240-volt outlet. With the higher-power outlet, a rear-drive Mach-E with extended-range battery can be fully charged in approximately 14 hours, or about three miles of range per charging hour, Ford says.
Ford has been working with dealers for three years to be able to educate customers. Buyers will be able to shop online or go to the dealership. “There are a low number of build combinations so buyers can get the Mach-E they want in a short time,” Kaufman said. And that also helps hold down pricing.
Out of Ford’s 3,000 dealers, 2,100-plus are certified to work on high-voltage systems with 9,500 technicians trained on EV service; 95 percent of service can be handled by 3,000 dealers and 95 percent of parts can be delivered the next day, Kaufman said.