People hold contradictions within themselves, it’s just how we are. We want our cake, and we want to it eat it too. We want to load up the kids with all their soccer gear into the sensible SUV, and we also want to tear the tarmac a new one every now and again.
Enter the Mustang Mach-E SUV: Ford’s first foray into the EV space and a significant departure from Mustang’s muscle-car lineage. It’s attempting to make some space for itself in an already-crowded electric vehicle market, competing with the likes of Tesla’s Model 3 and Model X, Jaguar’s I-Pace and Audi’s e-tron quattro — that’s without mentioning the upcoming Nissan Ariya, Volkswagen ID Crozz or Porsche Macan.
For the diehard Mustang nuts out there who see a transition to electric power as an affront to everything the pony badge represents, however, power doesn’t appear to be an issue for this SUV: “The Mach-E will be available with ‘standard’ 75.7kWh and ‘extended-range’ 98.8kWh battery choices, with rear- or all-wheel-drive configurations, motor outputs ranging from 190kW to 342kW, and target driving ranges of between about 340km and 480km.”
The main thing drivers will be interested in, outside of the aesthetics you’d expect from a Mustang, is the power it delivers and what it feels like to drive. So how does it stack up?
Depending on the model (Select, Premium, First Edition, California Route 1, or GT) and battery option selected, you could be looking at a number of outcomes in this space. The Select model (more or less the basic version of the car) has an output of 190kW and a 0-100km/h time of around 6 seconds. Compare this with the top of the line GT model with its 342kW output and you’ve got a car that can hit 100 in 3.5 seconds.
There's a raft of configurations to choose from in between, with rear and all-wheel drive options available, and a maximum range for the Premium model of around 480km.
A lot of design cues and methodology seem to be taken from prominent EV competitors, particularly Tesla. Take the 15.5-inch internal centre screen with touch screen controls for example, the near-field technology that turns your smartphone into a key, or the three available driving modes: Whisper, Engage and Unbridled (terminology reminiscent of Insane/Ludicrous mode). These modes change things like steering response, ambient lighting, interior sound production, and digital cluster animations and are changeable on the fly.
One of the major edges it seems to have over some of its competitors is its internal system, Ford SYNC. Ford claims it learns from your habits and preferences over time, and can suggest actions based on where you are, what the time is, and what you normally get up to based on both of those (and other) factors.
As with other purpose-built production EVs, the additional storage available with the frontal boot (or ‘frunk’ as it’s sometimes referred to) means there’s no shortage of space on hand.
The vehicle was supposedly developed just down the road from old Henry Ford’s first factory in the heart of American automotive country, Detroit Michigan, and is intended to represent a natural evolution for the muscle car as it moves into the future, according to Rod Heiser (Ford Mustang Mach-E chief engineer).
“The Mach-E is instantly recognisable as a Mustang, thanks to signature elements such as its long, powerful hood, rear haunch design, aggressive headlights and trademark tri-bar tail lamps.”
Now, are you ready for the kicker? The Mach-E will not be coming to Australia, at least not anytime soon.
Pin the blame on Australia’s comparatively ancient EV infrastructure, the disparate nature of Australian cities and the Mach-E’s limited range (even at its peak target range of 480km). Ford (and many more EV manufacturers) are keen to expand into Australia, but certain limitations have yet to be overcome.
That being said, if you’re absolutely desperate for one of these suped-up electric SUVs, private import laws are set to change and open the gates for all kinds of unique vehicles to start popping up across the country. You’ll just have to get around that pesky left-hand drive thing first.