2021’s Top Ten Tech Cars: Ford Mustang Mach-E
Lots of EV magic, for less than a Tesla
Start with range. The Mach-E can go 482 kilometers (300 miles) on a charge, which is 42 km short of the Tesla Model Y Long Range but close enough for a little electric rock and roll. And the Ford, with its optional 98.4-kilowatt-hour Extended Range battery (88 kWh is usable, the rest a buffer for long battery life) smacks down the driving range and efficiency of far-pricier electric SUVs from Audi, Jaguar, and Volvo. That includes a solid 100-mpge rating from the EPA (2.35 liters per 100 kilometers).
The Ford drives glued to the pavement, quiet as a glider. It can scamper to 60 miles per hour (97 kilometers per hour) in 4.8 seconds, spurred by dual all-wheel-drive motors with 258 kilowatts (346 horsepower) and 580 newton meters (428 pound-feet) of torque. A pricier, $61,000 Mach-E GT (and also a separate GT Performance Edition) arrives later in 2021, promising 0–60 mph in 3.5 seconds.
Regenerative braking is the only performance bummer: It's perfect in the selectable “one-pedal" driving mode that decelerates the car to recapture energy when you lift your foot off the throttle pedal. But the physical brake pedal itself can feel grabby and artificial in spirited driving during the transition from regenerative to mechanical braking. This crossover happens when the car goes from being slowed by the internal, mechanical resistance of electromagnetic generation in the motor/generators, to being slowed by the plain old friction of conventional braking. In the former mode, your foot feels just an artificial electronic cue that the electric motors are slowing the car, but in physical braking, which begins farther along in the pedal's progress toward the floor, there's a more distinct grab. It takes some getting used to.
Traditionalists may be shocked to see the Mustang name and galloping-pony badge on an electric SUV. But the moniker is apt. This affordable EV recalls the space-age vibe of the original Mustang's phenomenal 1960s debut.
(After a $7,500 U.S. Tax Credit)
There seems to be something for everybody with this car, including people who don't like quiet. The Mach-E's smartly designed touch screen accesses three drive modes—Whisper, Engage, or Unbridled—whose variables include digitized onboard sound that tracks with rising-and-falling acceleration. The synthesized mimicry, the EV equivalent of a laugh track, recalls a Ford V-8 by way of DJ Spock. Just leave it in Whisper and enjoy the silence. The car particularly shines in the passenger compartment, with superior seats, materials, and fit and finish that make the Tesla Y feel bare bones in comparison. It's a looker on the outside, too: The sculpted, wide-hipped body may be the Ford's most visible competitive edge.
Public charging is snappy with 150-kilowatt DC capability, but it's slower than Tesla's fastest Supercharger rate. But Ford claims it will go from a 10 percent charge up to 80 percent in 45 minutes with the extended-range battery.
The Mach-E brings EV ownership within reach of more people, and the raised height, practical SUV layout, and all-wheel-drive option are what Americans, in particular, now want.