Ever since Tesla began its brilliant ascent in the automobile industry, it feels like the focus of the industry has shifted from Detroit to California. A city that was once the home to the Big Three in automobiles – Ford, Chrysler and GM, it quickly fell off the radar of the market. Europe and Japan emerged as powerhouses in combustion vehicles. China had its own electric vehicle revolution, just as America did, starting from Tesla. And now, even traditional European automobile companies like Mercedes, BMW and Audi are undergoing electrification.
And now, Ford has decided to enter that market as well. Last year, Ford announced that their first all-electric car would be an SUV. And when they named it a Mustang, all “petrolheads” lost their minds. Because the Mustang embodies the spirit and captures the emotions of all combustion vehicles. And when you take out the engine and replace it with a battery that drives an electric motor, it completely destroys what the Mustang stands for.
But still, an all-electric Ford Mustang was going to enter a market where the Tesla Model Y and Model 3 are thriving. And who better to challenge the Californian automaker than one of the original Big Three from Detroit? So let’s look into how the Ford Mustang Mach E can try and sway some votes to their side.
The Ford Mustang Mach E: Is It Detroit’s Answer To Tesla?
Ford Mustang Mach E: First Look
The Mach E is available in two battery configurations – 76 kWh or 99 kWh. It has rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive options, driven by one and two motors respectively. There are four main variants, two in each of the above-mentioned powertrains. The starting variant costs $40,350 and has 254 bhp on a single motor. A small upgrade is the Extended Range version that costs $49,980 and focuses on the long haul. Then comes the dual motor variant with a smaller battery pack at $46,650. And if you want the larger battery, you pay $57,030.
Moving on to the performance, the Mach E doesn’t disappoint. While all variants are limited to a top speed of 111 mph (179 kph), the fastest variant reached 0 to 100 kph in 5.1 seconds. That is as fast as a 5.0-litre Mustang Coupe.
The overall drive is what you expect to be in an electric SUV, not a Mustang. It does weigh 2.2 tonnes after all and isn’t going to make that soulful sound when you floor the throttle. But it does offer you three different drive modes – Active, Whisper and Untamed. While it may not change the ride, handling or power, it does electronically adjust the throttle, brakes and steering settings. And it also gives a feeling of robustness.
There is a feeling that Ford has carefully tried to weave two different ideologies. They have made a design as sleek as possible to match the Mustang standard, but also provided enough space to appeal to the families. There is a centre screen that dishes out a lot of data and brings connectivity to the fore.
The Tesla Question
For any new electric vehicle, it has become a tradition of getting pitted against the most relevant Tesla rival. Here, one can pit the Mach E against the Model 3 as well as Model Y. And so, we will compare overall specs of the current two highest-selling Teslas with the Ford.
Starting off with overall dimensions, the Mach E’s ride height is quite similar to the Model 3. In terms of storage capacity, it does challenge the Model Y, even though it doesn’t beat it. The topmost variants of the three vehicles offer a nice bit of variety in the market. The Mach E GT will pull 459 hp and sprint from 0 to 60 mph (96.5 kph) in less than 4 seconds. It provides a 235-mile (378 km) range as well. The Model 3 Performance, on the other hand, has an acceleration timing of 3.2 seconds and 310 miles (500 km) of range, being driven by a 450-hp powertrain. And finally, the Model Y runs does the sprint in 3.5 seconds and offers 280 miles (450 km) of range.
The overall look of both the Tesla models is more stylish, as compared to Ford’s aggressive impression, which is once again based on the Mustang standard. Inside, the Mach E does provide an extra screen behind the steering wheel, something that isn’t present in the Teslas. Beyond that, they have gone about the Ford way of designing.
Finally, the comparison from a financial POV. The Mustang starts at around $43,000 and the premium variant goes up to $60,000. But Ford will benefit from the $7,500 in federal tax credits, pulling those prices down to $35,500 and $53,000 respectively. And this suddenly makes people take notice. That is because the Tesla Model 3 starts at $39,900, $48,900 and $56,900 for its three variants. And if you want the slightly-bigger Model Y, it starts at $49,200 and $61,200 for the Long Range and Performance variants respectively.
Will It Come To India?
Ford has already announced that the Mach E will be launched in India as well, which will help in driving the electric-car message across the country. While it is expensive, it can benefit from the lower GST rate for EVs in India. Of course, by the time it does get launched, the market will already have the Jaguar I-Pace and the Audi e-Tron. And with the Mercedes EQC already launched, the Indian customers will surely get spoilt for choice in the electric SUV segment.
Ford has made an impressive entry into the electric industry. They branded their first all-electric as a Mustang and received a lot of backlash for it. But if you keep the ‘galloping horse’ badge aside, the Mach E is a very good all-electric crossover. It acts as a family car with a decent amount of interior and storage space. It runs quite well on the track and also has a good-enough range. Obviously, it does not have the specs to disrupt Tesla’s position. Yet. Because if first impressions count, Ford has definitely put their hands up for the world to take notice. And if they keep building from here, it will enrich the market further.