By on February 26, 2019

Image: Ford/YouTube

Ford’s upcoming EV is a contentious model, despite how little we know about it. Intended to help bring the automaker into the brave new world of electromobility, it also leans upon the brand’s heritage by being a “Mustang-inspired” performance crossover. Whether you’re totally behind the idea or want to stand directly in its path in a Tiananmen-style showdown, its existence will change the company at least as much as axing its traditional car lineup will.

Like most automakers, Ford wants a lineup that hosts plenty of electrics. It knows it has to come out of the gate with a winner. But the car saddled with that responsibility has already faced some problems. Early reports indicating the vehicle would carry the “Mach 1” name led to mass wailing from Mustang fans. While Ford temporarily dialed back the pony car associations, marketing tactics eventually shifted back toward getting the public riled up about the upcoming model’s performance.

Bill Ford, the automaker’s executive chairman and great-grandson of Henry Ford, was even getting in on the action while speaking at the Crain’s Detroit Business Newsmaker of the Year event earlier this week. According to Automotive News, he said the new EV “is going to go like hell.”

It’s a relatively famous and carefully chosen phrase. Back in the Swinging Sixties, Henry Ford II and some of the most famous names in automotive history joined forces in an attempt to unseat Ferrari’s at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. At the time, the very idea seemed ludicrous. Ferrari had enjoyed five years of dominance in France and Ford was an unproven upstart. But, with some encouragement from Henry II telling Shelby-American to “go like hell,” Ford’s GT40 trounced Europe’s best in 1966.

Dusting off the old quote highlights this dichotomy of past and future that Ford seems fixated on. But it’s rather fitting to hear Bill quote his uncle. In the world of electric vehicles, Ford is viewed as an underdog; it would be a major triumph for it to mass produce an EV with heart-pounding performance. Fortunately, that now seems to be the goal.

“When we first started talking about electrification, there was this thought that there had to be a trade-off: It was either going to be green and boring and no fun, or really exciting but burn a lot of fossil fuels,” Ford said. “Electrification has come to the point that you can do both.”

The manufacturer is already in the later stages of development and a large, heavily camouflaged crossover sporting a fake exhaust pipe and no gas cap has already been spotted on public roads. However, beyond its claimed 300-mile (or better) range, little is known about the future model. In fact, this is one of the few times that company brass has even directly acknowledged the vehicle as having serious performance chops.

Due in late 2020, the electric crossover will likely don the “Mach E” moniker (patent filings for the name emerged in December). However, Ford is under no obligation to use that title and could just as easily fall back on its earlier Mach 1 tie-in or come up with an entirely new name. Production was originally intended to commence in Flat Rock, Michigan later this year, but Ford ultimately decided to build the vehicle in Mexico. We hope some leaks sneak north of the border in the coming months.

[Image: Ford Motor Co.]

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43 Comments on “Bill Ford: Ford’s Mustang-inspired EV to ‘Go Like Hell’...”

  • avatar

    They should call it the C-Max. With the C standing for “cringe”

  • avatar

    It will be an I-Pace with the face of a Mustang. Yawn.

    • 0 avatar

      LOL! How far can you go before you have to stand around and play pocket pool for three hours waiting to get the battery recharged?

      Cross-country road trip, anyone?

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        No 3-hour charges here… This guy crossed the country in 50 hours in a Model 3:

        • 0 avatar

          isn’t it funny? any time the subject is an EV, there’ll be people who think all of us drive across the entire country every day.

          • 0 avatar

            Yes, it’s hilarious because it takes a totally different frame of mind to take an EV for any distance beyond its range.

            As you may already know, if a person takes an ICE vehicle on a long distance trip beyond the range of the fuel tank, it takes (maybe) 10-15 minutes to refuel, go pee, and buy drinks and snacks. Well, at least that is what it takes me and the wife.

            Out here in the Great American Southwest there aren’t as many Charging stations. I remember three people at The Links in Scottsdale waiting in line for the two Charging stations that were both in use by others.

            I’ve never had to wait long to find an open gas or diesel pump. Maybe that’s why the people that I know who own an EV still take one of their ICE vehicles for the road trip.

            If all they had was ONE vehicle that was an EV, they are pretty much at the mercy of available Charging station infrastructure, even using an EV route planner.

            Besides, the route planner route may not be the way they want to go.

          • 0 avatar

            @jimz: yeah, most days I do 20 miles. Unplug, 20 miles, plug back in. I don’t look at the range or pay attention to the charge time. This time of year it’s so nice not having to freeze outside pumping gas or go out of my way to a gas station. I haven’t driven more than 200 to 250 miles in a car in a single day in over a decade. I fly instead.

          • 0 avatar

            They are called Luddites. There is always resistance to the new unfamiliar things or trends, people afraid of being pushed out of their comfort zone. But future happens regardless.

          • 0 avatar

            “I remember three people at The Links in Scottsdale waiting in line for the two Charging stations that were both in use by others.”

            About 30 plus charging stations including several quick chargers within 2 or 3 miles of that location according to my charging station mapping software. Zooming out a bit to the entire Phoenix area, I’m getting a count of 335 chargers. If you are in dire need of a charger, all you have to do is find a campground or RV park with NEMA 14-50 outlets that are willing to sell you power.

            BTW, Shell is now entering the US charging market. They bought one of the networks. They’re already putting chargers at gas stations in the UK.

          • 0 avatar

            If I have to drive beyond my EV’s range I’ll take my wife’s gas car. Like many of your others, this is a stupid argument.

          • 0 avatar

            sportyaccordy, so that means that you have to have more than vehicle.

            Which means you have to be able to afford them and the insurances. Look around you, your town, your county, your state. How many people are that flush with money?

            So the argument then is: EVs are for rich people.

            And how about those poor bastards who live from pay check to pay check? We got a ton of those, with the middle class shrinking, and all.

            I did consider an EV for running around town but that means that I would be like so many others that I have mentioned before, who have an SUV for her, a pickup truck for him, and an EV to show the neighbors how green they are.

            What a crock!

            EVs only work for a select, niche group of people with an abundance of disposable income. The elite!

            EVs don’t work for the masses. But they should be available for anyone who wants to buy one. Just not subsidized.

          • 0 avatar

            mcs, these were people who were staying at the Links. Why would they leave the premises to find a Charging station and stand around while the battery was being charged, if a charger was even open and available? You never know ’til you get there.

            We were there because a long-time friend had surgery at the Mayo, and I had no problem finding an open pump at the nearby Chevron.

          • 0 avatar

            @hdc: Several chargers in the Mayo on East Shea Blvd parking garage so you could have skipped the Chevron station and plugged in right in the garage – if that’s the facility you were going to.

            “You never know ’til you get there.”

            Untrue. You’re making comments about a subject you aren’t familiar with. You can check for available charging stations on the fly as you are driving. You can also get status on many charging stations depending on the network, so you know if it’s in use.

            You don’t have to stand around waiting for the car to charge. It’s not like a gas car. Just plug it in and do whatever. Charge near a restaurant or at a mall or Walmart. There’s a quick charger across from the Penske Museum (with another on the way) and that would have been my choice. The Scottsdale Tesla supercharger is nearby next to the airport.

        • 0 avatar

          When it makes sense, or I have a lot more disposable income, I’ll consider an EV.

          For now, it doesn’t.

          I trust that’s ok with the rest of America.

      • 0 avatar

        Using an EV route planner for a Model 3 long range, you’d charge about 30 to 35 minutes every 3 to 3.5 hours on a long trip.

      • 0 avatar

        highdesertcat: This concept is directed more at high-performance than some ultra-long-range, that ICE vehicle drivers supposedly require frequently, or ever.
        As for the “4%” – at one time, ICE vehicles were 4% of horses-and-buggies, etc.
        The number and distribution of charging stations grows each year, as that argument against EVs shrinks commensurately.

        • 0 avatar

          vehic1, I’m not against EVs. I believe they should be available for anyone who wants to buy one.

          I considered buying a BEV when my ’89 Camry goes to its final reward in the junkyard. It would only be good for grocery-getting. I still need something to go out of town with. El Paso 110 miles. Las Cruces – 75 miles. Albuquerque -225 miles. That’s one way.

          So an EV would not be practical for me, and I’m trying to keep the number of vehicles I keep around to a minimum.

          We let go of the ’16 Sequoia and the ’16 Tundra.

          Once we settle down after we’re done traveling we’ll keep it down to a Her SUV and a His truck.

          I was ecstatic to see the $7500 tax-credit subsidy being phased out. But now that we’re paying way more than $7500 in annual income taxes, such a subsidy would make sense in getting a cheap EV as a third city car, and/or toy.

  • avatar

    Guess Dodge’s trademark on GLH expired…should’ve made that Dart GLH…

  • avatar

    “It was either going to be green and boring and no fun, or really exciting but burn a lot of fossil fuels,” Ford said. “Electrification has come to the point that you can do both.”

    Uh, yeah, the 2009 Tesla Roadster says howdy. Where can I sign up to be a visionary CEO?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I thought the same thing. These geniuses just figured this out?

      Mustang has been in a serious sales decline since 2015, and the Model 3P kicks its butt in sales volume and 1/4-mile time.

      If Ford wants to compete against it, they have some catching up to do – not the least of which is figuring out how to source all those batteries.

  • avatar

    The horsie is embarrassed.

  • avatar

    I hope “Mustang-inspired” means Mustang-esque styling but with four doors. And please, not the Mustang name (or Mach 1 for that matter).

  • avatar

    my next car.

  • avatar

    Go up in flames like hell?

    Tesla has proven electric cars are a joke. Charging them is a challenge. They lose a considerable amount of range in the cold, they are extremely dangerous in a crash. They don’t make money.

    Why is Ford wasting their time with this? Hackett needs to go. Between wasting resources in this and a garbage train station it’s like he is actively working to get Ford to fail

    • 0 avatar

      “Why is Ford wasting their time with this? ”

      Because buyers should be able to buy one if they want to.

      EVs of all varieties make up around a grand total of 4% of the US auto market. A negligible amount in a 16-17million SAAR. Not even a statistical rounding error.

      But they should be available , and some states mandate that EVs be offered if an automaker sells more than 2000 cars in that state.

    • 0 avatar

      Like you wouldn’t criticize them if they were the only full line automaker NOT developing EV’s.

  • avatar

    Does anyone here remember an automotive journalist named Tom McCahill? He wrote for Mechanix Illustrated from the late 1940s until his death in the mid ’70s. When Ford became interested in Le Mans, McCahill participated in a round table discussion on what it would take for them to succeed. McCahill’s answer, which annoyed the others for its crassness, was, “Ten million dollars.” It turned out to be a pretty close estimate.

    Ford could indeed develop a world class, high performance EV that would trounce all its competitors. They just need to pony up enough cash, assign good engineers to the project, hiring them from outside if necessary, and give them a free hand.

  • avatar
    James Charles

    If it’s a CUV or SUV “E” is needed for naming convention purposes. Keeping with pony car naming maybe “Ford Equine”? Or, Ford “Edsel” or best of all “Ford Electron”.

    In all seriousness I like this. Ford is actually trying.

    Just so long Ford doesn’t go to Coleman Coolers for the interior. The Mustang interior is full of poor materials.

    Ford and GM need to improve their interiors to compete with imports, let alone consider export.

  • avatar

    This is only acceptable if it is able to send out a taser like electric arc to zap snowflakes and socialists.

  • avatar

    I honestly think the EV is the way of the future ..Kudos to Ford for thinking outside the box. Lets hope that all the manufactures can get with the program.

    That being said, they may find it necessary to pry my cold dead hands from the steering wheels of my ageing Mustangs !

  • avatar

    If they really want to use the ‘Mach’ name as well as showing that it’s EV they should call it the Mark E Mach

  • avatar

    Should be interesting. EV’s have instant torque. I’m curious to see how one tuned for the 1/4 mile will turnout.

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