Mustang muscle car goes electric at US$44,000 price tag

Business | 19 Nov 2019 2:30 pm

Ford Motor is unveiling its first all-electric SUV, marking the start of an avalanche of battery-powered vehicles coming from mainstream and luxury automakers during the next two years that industry analysts say will boost electric vehicle sales.

The “Mustang Mach E,” which will go 230 miles to 300 miles per charge depending on how it is equipped, was unveiled Sunday night ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show press days.

Ford executives realized in 2017 that they had to offer something more exciting for the first of a new generation of electric vehicles. The company last year it promised six battery electric vehicles by 2022. It also has partnerships with VW and startup Rivian to build more.

To sell them, Ford decided to go to the company’s strengths: pickup trucks, commercial vans and the high-performance Mustang.

“There are going to be plenty of BEV (battery electric) SUVs on the market. Some will have big batteries and double motors and be pretty fast. Some will look really good,” said Jason Castriota, the company’s brand director for electric vehicles. “No one can combine all those elements and create something that will cut right through the clutter,” he said. “Mustang is power.”

The five-passenger Mach E sort of resembles a Mustang, and Ford says it comes close to matching the car’s performance. Engineers say the base model will have a range of about 230 miles per charge, with a long-range option of more than 300 miles. The base version is expected to go from zero to 60 mph in a little over six seconds, Ford said, while the performance GT version will do it in about 3.5 seconds.

The base version is rear-wheel-drive, with all-wheel-drive options. It has the Mustang pony badge on the front and rear, a long hood and a fastback look at the rear. Yet designers preserved rear-seat headroom with a blacked-out glass roof. The Mustang team set up the Mach E’s chassis tuning, which determines its handling. Designers also copied the Mustang’s triple tail lights.

U.S. orders are being taken now, and the SUV will reach showrooms next fall. The base model will start just under US$44,000, with the GT starting around US$65,000. Ford buyers are still eligible for a US$7,500 federal tax credit, which is being phased out at Tesla and General Motors.

Ford has deal with Electrify America and others for a national network that includes over 12,000 charging stations and 35,000 plugs, so EV owners can go on longer trips.

The company also will have 2,100 of its U.S. dealerships certified to service electric vehicles.

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