By on July 21, 2020

Ford appears to have spent a fortune in order to convince the world that electric vehicles have nearly limitless potential.

Its latest spot promoting the Mach-E (and its current efforts to embrace battery power) include a high-powered prototype boating 1,400 horsepower and some of the most recognizable faces in motorsport attempting to challenge it — or at least help make for some quality entertainment while parodying the scientific method. The marketing campaign is so bonkers, it’s hard to be cross with the company even if Ford had taken the testing more seriously.

While physics-defying electrics aren’t new, they’ve only recently begun making appearances at Ford Motor Company. The Mach-E 1400 — developed in collaboration with RTR Vehicles — is here to drive home the message that the automaker isn’t taking electrification lightly. 

We’re just pleased to see that commitment hasn’t precluded having a good time on the tarmac.


Similar in concept to the 1,400-hp all-electric Mustang “Cobra Jet” 1400 dragster that foreshadowed it, the maniacal Mach-E relies on electric motors and lots of modifications to do the dirty work. But it fills niches the Mustang cannot and does so with seven (yes, seven) motors hidden beneath its sheet metal. Aggressive aerodynamics give it a claimed 2,300 pounds of down force at 160 mph, while power is shifted around the vehicle to optimize handling or transform it into a drift machine eager to shed rubber.

Ford made no bones about building the Mach-E to show off, adding that it does double duty as a test bed to see where the current performance limits of EVs exist. That requires some modifications between runs. Drift duties require completely unique front end configurations from the grip-focused track mode, and must allow for more aggressive steering inputs. However, the septet of electric motors don’t change beyond how power delivery is managed. Three are affixed to the front differential while the other four are pancaked together at the rear. Power can be sent to (or removed from) either end, depending on what’s needed.

 

“The challenge was controlling the extreme levels of power provided by the seven motors,” Mark Rushbrook, motorsports director of Ford Performance, said in the release. “Mustang Mach-E 1400 is a showcase of the art of the possible with an electric vehicle.”

From Ford:

The 56.8-kilowatt-hour battery (installed) is made up of nickel manganese cobalt pouch cells for ultra-high performance and high discharge rate. The battery system is designed to be cooled during charging using a di-electric coolant, decreasing the time needed between runs.

An electronic brake booster is integrated to allow series regenerative braking combined with ABS and stability control to optimize the braking system. Mustang Mach-E 1400 features Brembo brakes, like the Mustang GT4 race car, and a hydraulic handbrake system designed for drifting that integrates with the powertrain controls to enable the ability to shut off power to the rear motors.

We don’t care how much regenerative braking the experimental crossover can muster; range must be abysmal whenever it’s pushed to the limits. We’ll be the first to admit that the performance ceiling for electrics is insanely high (especially at lower speeds, thanks to instantaneous torque), but they don’t play the endurance game all that well. The Mach-E (which Ford continually assures us is a Mustang) probably spent a significant portion of its filming being habitually recharged.

No matter, it achieved its goal of dazzling us with smoke and noise — even if the high-pitched whine it produces lacks the guttural accompaniment of internal combustion. The Blue Oval really just wanted to show off, and has done so effectively.

Don’t expect to ever see this critter on sale. While the production Mach-E can be ordered now, with deliveries taking place later this year, the insane prototype is much too wild for public consumption. Ford said you’ll be able to see it touring NASCAR events soon, however.

[Images: Ford Motor Co.]

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17 Comments on “Ford Reveals Literal Hype Machine With Prototype Mach-E...”


  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    That massive wing is for sucking quarks out of the quantum realm for power?

  • avatar
    aja8888

    Yikes! I’d hate to have been the tires on that beast!

    I think over the next few years we are going to see a lot of great use of electric current in vehicles, and I don’t mean in the car’s sound system.

  • avatar
    dwford

    This is how you get people interested in EVs! Not with electric purses like the Nissan Ariya. Until our infrastructure catches up, EVs are going to be for people that WANT them. Desire them.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      I’m in the category of wanting/desiring one. I have almost 100k miles on my first one. Getting ready to buy the next one. One of the best features is that if you have to pass or accelerate quickly while moving, there is no downshifting, just an instant, no questions asked, launch. They also feel more like a manual than an automatic because of the regen seeming like engine braking. Once you get used to one, ICE vehicles just aren’t the same.

  • avatar
    JMII

    VW already did this with their EV hill climber. And YouTube is filled with videos of V8 muscle cars seeing nothing but Telsa sedans tail lights.

    Love how the video shows it smoking other Ford products.

    Not sure how this relates to the Mach-E you can actually buy however which has no where near this power level. Is there a built-to-order option for the 1400? Oh no… bummer.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      “Is there a built-to-order option for the 1400? Oh no… bummer.”

      From what I’ve read, you’ll only be able to get 469 hp. It could end up being a different number. The Model Y has dyno’d at around 500 hp at the wheel.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Maybe the RTR Mach-E portends a future high performance model in the works? Ford Performance has a great team in place when it comes to chassis work ( they’ve done a good job with Mustang via the Shelby cars despite its plebian roots ) and Ford could certainly upgrade the powertrain on the Mach-E in some fashion as well as more functional bodywork.

      Or not since it certainly serves as a test bed for Ford and a way to generate buzz.

  • avatar
    brn

    That video game whine is obnoxious. Just might be what turns me off of EVs.

    • 0 avatar
      NoID

      I had to turn the video down just to get through it, and very nearly ended it early. That shrill whine is downright painful.

      I’m sure they could tune the sound for a production version, but it was a big turn off for me. I’m a much bigger fan of how Harley Davidson cut the gears on their LiveWire to give it that Jetsons sound.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “That video game whine is obnoxious.’

      Did they deliberately increase the whine? I haven’t seen too many EV’s but the ones I’ve encountered were completely silent.

      • 0 avatar
        brn

        High performance EVs are anything but silent. However, I agree that they likely enhanced the sound just for this video. For me, it was an unfavorable enhancement.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Bad asss video

  • avatar
    Snooder

    Man, the shot of it behind the hoonicorn really puts it into perspective just how big it is. It’s like they took a regular mustang and fed it a few too many twinkies.

    Not that’s a bad thing. It’s just funny.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    I wonder how many times it would have to recharge to create a gymkhana video.

  • avatar
    forward_look

    Never mind the hot rods. I need a practical EV.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Then look at any number of EV’s currently on sale such as the Model 3, Y, Bolt or Leaf or get a reservation on a normal Mach-E. The practical angle is pretty well represented in the EV marketplace.

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