By Aaron Brzozowski
Someone over at Ford accidentally hit “Publish” on the first-ever 2021 Mustang Mach-E well before they were supposed to. Or perhaps not. Perhaps it was meant to silence doubters. But were they silenced?
Ford’s “Mustang-inspired” battery electric crossover isn’t scheduled to be revealed until Sunday, November 17th, just before the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show. But for some amount of time today, what appeared to be an early version of the Ford Mach-E reservation site was online, in plain view of anyone who bothered to go looking for it. Incidentally, the opportunistic Mach E Forum is chock full of such people, and that’s how we came to see some of the EV’s pricing and performance figures before we were supposed to.
For starters, yes, you’ve read the headline right: the 2021 Mustang Mach-E (we’ll get to that name in a moment) is slated to start at a reasonable $43,895, with 230 miles of range and a “mid-five-second” 0-60 acceleration time. The quickest version of the utility vehicle will be able to sprint to 60 mph in a scant three-and-a-half seconds, give or take a few tenths. Then there’s the aptly named “California Route 1” variant, which delivers the best range in the lineup, at 300 miles, while the acceleration (six seconds 0-60) is the slowest. That’s just over $52,000. Again, before incentives. As if the customers seeking out high-shelf vehicles need some kind of incentive.
The range-topper is the 2021 Mustang Mach-E GT, at $60,500. This performance SUV will sprint from 0-60 mph in under four seconds, or roughly the same as a standard Tesla Model X, and also about the same as the 760 horsepower 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500. However, the Mach-E GT undercuts the California cookie cutter by over $20,000. That comes with all of the expertise, engineering, and validation that Ford Motor Company has delivered on over the years, where Tesla and other upstart EV automakers continue to figure the game out.
Now, back to that name: Ford Mustang Mach-E. The Blue Oval brand has been saying all along that its battery electric crossover would be a “Mustang-inspired” vehicle, but never did the company say outright that it would wear the “Mustang” name. Now, we know that it will, leading to this bizarre double-speak reality wherein Ford’s iconic high-octane two-door pony car/muscle car will share its nameplate with a battery-powered crossover utility vehicle.
That’s not necessarily to disparage the Mach-E, mind you; in a somewhat surprising move, the base drivetrain configuration is actually rear-wheel-drive – i.e. as it should be – with all-wheel-drive standard or available across all trims. And on the topic of range, the Ford Mustang Mach-E is poised to deliver, with a targeted EPA estimate of 230 miles minimum for the base RWD Select model, and up to 300 miles for the RWD Premium. Those figures aren’t shabby at all, and they make the Mach-E a serious contender with the likes of the Tesla Model X, as well as the more affordable (but smaller) Model 3.
Say, speaking of Tesla, we do have some bad news: going by the photos (gallery provided below), the Ford Mustang Mach-E will have a huge, cumbersome, center-mounted touchscreen display in place of a traditional buttons-and-knobs center stack, just how Tesla does it. Unsurprisingly, the instrument panel, too, will be represented in the Mach-E by a long, skinny digital display. As studies have shown, this is a step backwards, but automakers are doing it anyway.
So future. Much wow.
As a Mustang, the Mach-E is all wrong. It’s a tall, heavy, battery-powered thing that looks more akin to the new European Ford Puma than anything else. But as an inaugural (serious) attempt to make a compelling pure-electric vehicle with good performance and a livable range, the Ford Mustang Mach-E actually looks pretty good, by the numbers.
Is this Ford’s Cayenne Moment? It would be easier to tell if they didn’t choose the Mustang name.
When he’s not wrenching on his Porsche 944, Aaron Brzozowski has served as an automotive videographer, a staff writer, a podcaster, an editor, a producer, and a journalist over the better part of 10 years.