After some ranting, Ford is finally making a serious foothold in the electric car market. The Mustang Mach-E is tailor-made to compete with the Tesla Model Y. But unlike its rival Palo Alto, this SUV plays on nostalgia to seduce, with a legendary name as a calling card. Like a certain Fiat 500e.
Ford and electrics are nothing new. There were in the past, as is the case with almost all manufacturers, a number of prototypes. Then a stake in Th! Nk and the launch of an Electric Focus. But it took until 2020 to see a real offensive in this area, called Mustang Mach-E. Like its former Jaguar division, Ford has chosen to start with a family SUV that makes a clean sweep of the past: the platform, unprecedented, is only dedicated to electric cars … Even if one can wonder about its future, the American manufacturer having signed a deal with Volkswagen to share the MEB platform.
A clean sweep of the past, we said? Not quite: because the name Mustang echoes a line launched in 1964. It is about making vibrate the nostalgic fiber of fans of the brand. Admittedly, the style is well in its time, but many style gimmicks, starting with the front face, echo the famous coupe. By the way, it’s not a blue oval that adorns the smooth false grille, but a galloping horse.
A competitor of the Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model Y
Ford is capable of uniquely American gigantism, and it recently proved it with its new Explorer plug-in hybrid. However, the manufacturer has managed to moderate its enthusiasm with the Mustang Mach-E, which adopts a still reasonable size: 4.71 m long, 1.88 m wide and 1.63 m high. Either dimensions extremely close to the Mercedes-Benz EQC. This means that this Ford is not targeting the largest SUVs on the market: it is comparable to the Tesla Model Y rather than the Model X. And European customers will be delighted, the machine remains manoeuvrable in the cities of the Old Continent. So much the better for a car with a global vocation.
Like the I-Pace, the Mustang Mach-E therefore uses an architecture dedicated to electric cars. This means that the battery is located in the floor, between the two axles. As a result, nothing encroaches on the interior: the rear space is more than generous and there are two lockers, one in the front (81 liters), the other in the rear (402 liters). Question life on board and practical aspects, this Ford puts forward serious arguments.
What is obvious when you step aboard the Mustang Mach-E is the massive 15.5-inch touchscreen tablet, placed in the middle of the dashboard. The Tesla inspiration is evident, although there is still a small display behind the steering wheel and a large volume control dial in the middle of the screen. The whole thing is easy to handle: six windows appear below the main one, which allow you to navigate from one function to another without wasting time. And two drop-down menus (one for vehicle settings and driving modes, the other which offers shortcuts to all applications) make it easy to navigate. It takes a little time to adapt, but since this system sits halfway between Ford’s well-known SYNC and Tesla software, both benchmarks in ergonomics, everything is going well!
When it comes to driving aids, Ford has never been late. And this Mustang Mach-E, which must be the technological showcase of the brand, therefore has little to envy most of the competition. If we had to quibble, we might regret the absence of certain gadgets such as the head-up display or the massage and ventilated seats. But it should be remembered that this is not a premium model. In terms of assistance, we are served, with a blind spot detector, and a level 2 semi-automatic pilot, rather relevant, even if it slows down excessively early on when a truck approaches (well before the two regulatory lanes on the motorway) … And continue to do so even if the turn signal is activated to disengage! Still, the guidance between the lines is effective. This lane keeping aid can seem a bit intrusive on a winding road, but it doesn’t matter: a double click on a button on the steering wheel, immediately accessible, deactivates it. In short, in terms of ergonomics, there is not much to complain about.
Battery and motor
Ford declines its range in a fairly classic way. Two sizes of batteries are available: a large (Extended Range) of 98.7 kWh (88 kWh useful) and a small (Standard Range) of 75.7 kWh (68 kWh useful). In both cases, the assembly operates under a voltage of 400 Volts, with a maximum direct current charging power (CCS Combo) of 150 kW for the large battery, 115 kW for the small one, while the on-board charger makes it possible to recover 11 kW in alternating current.
On the engine side, the Mustang Mach-E is available in two versions, rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. This means that it has only one motor (permanent magnet synchronous) on the rear axle or two (one on each axle). Enough to develop a power of 269 hp for the Standard Range versions, 294 hp for the Extended Range propulsion version and 351 hp for the Extended Range AWD. At the end of 2021, a sportier GT version will climb to 487 hp.
A fast charge, but not until the end
During our quick charge test with an Extended Range AWD version, we were indeed able to observe a maximum power of 150 kW, quite remarkable in the category. This drops slowly, to the 80% load threshold, where it drops to 78 kW. Afterwards, we see a very sudden drop: we peak at 11 kW. You can’t call it fast charging, which means that on long trips you have to leave out 20% of the battery capacity. With a fairly high consumption on the motorway of 33 kWh / 100 km, this suggests a range of 275 km on the motorway with a full tank, and 220 km with 80%.
On the road, appetite is obviously lower, at around 20 kWh / 100 km in casting. It’s obviously more than a Tesla Model 3 (we also hope for more from the Model Y, which we haven’t tried yet), but that gives hope for more than 400 km of radius of action, which remains very correct.
Driving the Ford Mustang Mach-E
Ford had time to sniff out the electric car market before finalizing its Mustang Mach-E. The result: the car has many configurable elements, especially with regard to regenerative braking. This ranges from the most perfect freewheel, ideal for limiting consumption (in Whisper mode), to One Pedal Drive, a device that allows you to do without the brake pedal, with a strong engine brake when lifting the foot. , which goes so far as to use the discs when stopped. In between, Active and Untamed modes each add a bit more regeneration than Whisper mode. And, in each of these modes, you can further enhance the effect by pressing the “L” button in the middle of the rotary selector. In short, anyone who does not find a configuration that makes them comfortable is really unwilling to do so.
Untamed mode is the one that is supposed to reveal the sporty character typical of a Mustang. This is quite true for the distribution of torque between the two engines, which allows some drifts (even if the ESP takes care of the grain with a little too zeal), less for the acceleration, a little smooth. To add insult to injury, it’s the Whisper Mode, which is supposed to be focused on energy saving, that gives the most spectacular butt kick under acceleration. In this configuration, the driving is really close to that of a Tesla … There is a worse reference!
On the behavior side, the Mustang Mach-E is surprisingly agile for such a heavy model (2.182 kg). The low center of gravity and non-existent overhangs allow you to turn in a single block. The handling doesn’t have much to do with that of an authentic Mustang, but whatever: we’re having fun all the same! There remains a steering feel a little artificial and a suspension a little frozen on the large undulations of the asphalt.
An interesting positioning
The Ford Mustang Mach-E immediately competes with its most direct competitors in terms of services and further advances the argument of a contained price: from € 48,990 and up to € 65,500 for our trial version the most expensive (for now).
This electric SUV seems to have been born under a lucky star: the one that symbolizes the state of Michigan on the American flag!