By on September 7, 2018

Image: Ford

A lengthy Medium post penned by Darren Palmer, director of product development for Ford’s Team Edison, went live yesterday, no doubt at the request of Ford PR types and company brass. (It was shared on Ford’s media page.)

In it, the Ford product veteran goes on about the challenges facing his team of electric vehicle developers, mentioning, “The stakes are high.” Are they ever. With 16 fully electric vehicles on the way by 2022, joined by 24 electrified vehicles, that’s a heavy plate to carry. Despite having nearly 20 years of hybrid vehicle exposure under its belt, large swaths of the buying public remain confused by electrified powertrains (“Will my PHEV leave me stranded with an empty battery?”) and anxious about EV range. It takes time — a lot of time, apparently —  to change hearts and minds. The U.S. EV take rate is less than 1 percent of new vehicle sales.

However, what created a splash on Thursday was not the revelation that building and selling EVs to the American public is hard, but the image accompanying the post.

In it, we see our first glimpse of the upcoming Mustang-inspired electric crossover that bore the name “Mach 1” before Ford quietly stopped calling it that. Due out in 2020, Ford’s aiming for a 300-mile driving range with this vehicle — a number that should quell the anxiety of most American drivers. (Technological wizard Bozi Tatarevic puts the range anxiety-beating threshold at 259 miles.)

Riding atop a platform shared by the 2019 Ford Focus you’ll never have a chance to buy and the next-generation Escape, this unnamed crossover is Ford’s opening salvo in the coming EV battle. Ford wants to dominate what it hopes anticipates will be a significant automotive segment.

While Palmer doesn’t dive into the vehicle’s specifics — it’s more of a rumination on the design process and human-centric this and that, plus the benefits of terrifying, open-concept offices — he did mention the upcoming EVs will boast an all-new infotainment system. It’s understandable Ford would want some gee-whiz tech to compliment the vehicle’s futuristic powertrain.

In a recent interview, Jim Farley, Ford’s head of global markets, said the upcoming vehicle would have “the profile of a Porsche Cayenne and the swagger of a four door Mustang.” Looking at this image, your author wonders if Ford’s courting danger by swinging too far in the Mustang direction, style-wise. Yes, it’s just a conceptual image that’s subject to change, but grafting Mustang taillights onto the clearly sleek (coupe-like?) body might be a cue too far. Surely the nose doesn’t follow the same path?

Then again, given the public’s aversion to electric vehicles, maybe this is the only way of making people who otherwise wouldn’t give two shits about an EV sit up and take notice. As we saw with the furor generated by the Mach 1 naming gambit, Mustang faithful might have a big problem with a very Mustang-inspired design. Of course, anger over another vehicle doesn’t stop Mustang owners from buying another Mustang. It might actually get a few thinking about expanding their vehicular family. Still, other Ford fans might not be too appreciative of a heritage-diluting styling gimmick.

Employing a brand-wide design language is one thing, but grafting model-specific cues onto a wholly unrelated vehicle could be taken as evidence that the company has lost its appreciation of the past, instead of the opposite.

The stakes are high, indeed.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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24 Comments on “Ford: Does This Ass Turn You On?...”


  • avatar
    EBFlex

    “Ford: Does This Ass Turn You On?”

    A mustang rear end with some MS Paint red lines through the tail lights?

    No. It doesn’t.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I doubt consumer ignorance is to blame for low interest. 100 years of expectations from ICE cars, life has adapted to their quirks and kinks. Offering another vehicle with a different drivetrain that has any sort of restrictions that aren’t on conventional cars doesn’t set a high bar. Even when both are equal and an EV can be charged as quickly as ICE, I still doubt we will ever see mass adoption. Roads that have 25% EV are going to be connected to houses with expensive electricity.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    I do like the ass on my Mustang. Probably my favorite angle on the car. Raise it a foot higher, add two doors and a hatch? I’ll probably sell my Mustang. I don’t want to be seen in something that looks like a mommy-mobile. And then I’ll be done with Ford, because they’ll have nothing left to offer.

  • avatar
    DevilsRotary86

    So I said it on Jalopnik and I will say it here. Based on the little information given: this photo, that it will be an “electric crossover”, and that it will be “inspired by the Mustang”, I can make an educated guess. It will look like a BMW X4 or X6 M-B GLC coupe or GLE coupe, but with a Mustang-like grille and tail lights.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    I much prefer the approach Ford took with GT. Keep it secret…until that one day it appears and blows everyone’s mind. That, of course, means it MUST be fantastic design. That said, if Ford is teasing these views, it stands to reason that Ford is not confident in its design direction. Pity.

    • 0 avatar
      Rocket

      They’re teasing it because they have a credibility problem with Wall Street. Convincing investors the brand is on the right path is as important right now as generating customer interest in the product itself. Probably more so given recent events.

  • avatar
    VW4motion

    Wow, very professional wording. Sad

  • avatar
    forward_look

    Going to take more than time to get electrics going. We need cheaper batteries/vehicles, complete redesigns, and especially rechargers where every gas station used to be. Preferably next to a diner or motel so I can at least do something useful while I recharge my car.

  • avatar
    Boxerman

    I don’t think the public has an aversion to electric cars per se. But today realisticaly if you want a decent electric car(comfortable and range) there are two choices Jaguar or tesla, in either case youre paying a 20k premium over what you would pay for the same thing in ICE and its still somewhat range limited, plus there are charging issues.

    The I3 and Leaf are Jokes. The Bolt is great for what it tis, but it looks and feels like a 18K cheap car for near on 40k.

    The Jaguar seems like the rigth direction, its stylish not weird and takes advantage of the packaging opportunities afforded by an electric drivetrain(as does tesla). The new mercedes is a gas powered car with electric drivetrain and bad korean design for the front end, it wont sell well, nor will the otehr “converted” ICE vehices because they will be too range and or space limited for what they cost.

    Electrics need dedicated platforms that confer the advatages of space afforded by electric drivetrains so they offer somethign ICE does not, plus less of a cost upcharge, and yes some sort of standardized charging network. Untill then for purely practical reasons, for most consumers they will be a niche player.

    Now if California stopped wasting money on bullet train to nowhere and built charging stations, if cities charged a big entrance fee for ICE and none for eletrics, then consumer behaviour would alter towards electrics. Instead CARB is stuck in the 60s put its efforts and lawsuits into legislating tailpipes and not ushering int he future though incentivsing conusmer behaviour. mandating behaviour does not work.

    And yes the professor is right+259 real mile range is what it takes. But an EPA 259 miles range is really under 200, esp if the cars to save batteries charge only to 80% and wont go past 20%.

    Still the eletric car with a reall 3000-4000 mile range is nto far off, we will see charguigbn networks and the cost will come down. Electrics will creep up on us like the inetrnet till they take over. Its simply a superior drivetrain for appliance and luxury transport for all sorts of reasons.

    Then the rest of us can keep playign with our gas burnign machines.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I don’t see why range is a big deal. Battery tech and charging infrastructure are nowhere near the place where one could do a long road trip, which is really what long range is all about. I just did a road trip from Charlotte to Savannah GA. 500 or so miles round trip. There are 3 supercharger stations along the way…. but none in Savannah lol. Regular charging stations were not walkable from where we were staying and you can’t exactly run an extension cord from an AirBnB or hotel window. So EVs as a solo vehicle solution is DOA even with a 500 mile range.

      Truthfully 200 miles is plenty, given most people’s commutes. Average American drives like 35-40 miles a day. 200 or even 150 mile range is plenty considering you can charge at home overnight. Very few people are driving anywhere near that on a daily basis. And many people have multiple car households. So one person can commute and run around in the EV, the other can do the same in an ICE car and then when the family needs to travel they can take the ICE car. It’s no big deal.

      • 0 avatar
        forward_look

        The new Leaf looks like a great car, long range, normal looks, cheap (for a EV). Old one, ugh.

        You still have to have another “real” car, for when you take a trip. Let me know when you can recharge in 5 minutes and there’s chargers everywhere. BTW some chargers are not so cheap.

        I’ve worked with high voltage and high power my whole career, and running more than ten kilowatts through a cord, in the rain, makes me nervous.

    • 0 avatar
      Felix Hoenikker

      Boxerman,
      You hit this one out of the ball park.

  • avatar
    thalter

    Who again is supposed to by all these electric vehicles coming out in the next several years?

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    IT bums me out but is understandable that these upcoming EVs are all crossovers. Still hoping for some EV sedans and fast back hatchbacks to complement them.

  • avatar
    Gregaryous2

    First if all… CEO Hachett killed the 1st BEV design 9 mths ago because it looked too generic… Like MB EQC.

    Using Mustang as inspiration is a good thing based on today’s Mustang… Makes for good link to Ford design theme.

    Then in 2021 an all new Mustang arrives with new design theme n platform…

    It just looks smarter to leverage some heritage… Vs. What GM did to the new Blazer… Terrible!!!

  • avatar

    Same old Ford, same old crap.

  • avatar
    RHD

    The solution to range anxiety is a 200+ battery and a small gas tank with a small gas motor. If the battery goes flat, the gas engine propels the car while recharging the battery. A slightly raised CUV/SUV, for example, could have plenty of battery at the floorboards while still looking offroady (it’s not going creek wading, anyway).

    Then the manufacturer could stage an around-the-country or cross-country challenge between the highest MPG gas car, the highest range electric car, and the combo gas/electric. The gas car would have to stop every three hours for fuel, the electric every three hours to recharge, and the combo every five or six hours to fill up with a bit of gasoline. The electrics could recharge overnight with no time penalties, since they would do that under normal usage anyway.

    They could present it Top Gear style, and live-cast it on Periscope or Twitter or whatever. Once the public sees that the new Ford Rangefinder won’t leave you stranded on the way to Grandma’s house, it would become generally accepted as a car to seriously consider when the current lease contract runs out.
    The three presenters/drivers could tally up the scores at the end on a large whiteboard, with total CO/NOx/CO2 emissions, total MPG, total cost of fuel and electricity, down time to refuel, and miscellaneous offbeat challenge scores to determine the winner.


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