The Mustang Mach-E Delivers a Jolt—If You Can Find a Charge

Images from the app that can control some features of the Mach-E.

 

Courtesy of Mustang

Which brings us to its overall success as an electric car. Scoring a successful EPA range rating is a big deal these days, as many cars tend to fall short of their early estimates, usually due to powertrain inefficiencies. Ford managed to keep the Mach-E well above the range-anxiety threshold of 200 miles. We’ll get to some charging challenges in a moment, but the Mach-E comes with access to the FordPass Charging network, with more than 13,500 stations nationwide. Its peak charging rate of 150 kW means it can add up to 61 miles of range for every 10 minutes on the pipe, and reach 80 percent charge in 45 minutes. (Charge speed diminishes as the battery nears capacity, as with other EVs.)

Ford also delivered a car that’s fun to drive, with three distinct driving modes, including “Unbridled.” In a sequence of informal comparisons against a comparable Tesla Model Y Performance on a closed course, the Mach-E came up predictably short in overall thrust, with the Tesla hitting 60 mph in a brisker 3.5 seconds, which would be more directly comparable to the Mach-E GT Performance coming later. But in a simulated slalom, the Mach-E more than held its own against the Model Y, with comparable speeds and only slightly more body roll, another thing that will be addressed in the GT version. It felt sure-footed, smooth, and quick, with crisp steering feel and surprisingly good wind- and tire-noise levels—a potential gremlin for whisper-quiet EVs.

The final question, of course, is whether the Mach-E lives up to the Mustang logo affixed to its minimalist grille. Keeping in mind that there have been plenty of actual Mustangs that haven’t exactly lived up to the Mustang name, the short answer is yes, it does. Ford had a choice of whether to make the Mach-E its own thing, or to skew it toward one of its existing models—whether that be on the side of pure efficiency or performance. It chose the latter, and likely wisely. Doing otherwise would have set a low bar for both the engineers and potential customers, whereas aligning it with the Mustang forced them to think hard about the driver experience and the mystique of the car.

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Visually, it’s definitely more Mustang than, say, Ecosport, the company’s tall, intensely awkward entry-level multipurpose vehicle. The Mach-E has a dramatically long hood, strong proportions, and high rear haunches, without looking like it’s trying too hard to be cool. Mine came in a Grabber Blue that’s a bit over the top, but the other color options are more complementary to the design.

The drive experience is exceptional. Ford decided late in the game to put the subframes intended just for the GT models into all the Mach-E’s, giving them much more latitude while tuning the suspension, and dialing in a rear-drive bias that performance car enthusiasts crave. When unleashing the torque, it feels confident and manageable, with those brief white-knuckle moments to keep things lively and interesting for drivers capable of safely pushing cars to their limits. Its low-mounted battery, with its low center of gravity, helps you carve up the turns all day, and the battery always seems able to deliver the acceleration you desire. So no, it’s not a literal Mustang, but in my book, it earns the badge.

My days with the Mach-E weren’t without struggle—though it wasn’t necessarily the vehicle’s fault. My wife and I had planned to drive the car from eastern Pennsylvania to Syracuse, New York, and back in a single day. The three-hour, 200-mile drive each way should have been a snap for the Mach-E, with its 240-plus-mile range and several charging options along the way, including one free DC fast-charger just south of Binghamton, New York.

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