FORD GETS A PARTICIPATION AWARD FOR THE MACH-E. NOW WHAT?
DateMONDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2019 AT 11:08AM
By Peter M. DeLorenzo
Detroit. The big hyped show had the now-obligatory orchestrated Tesla-esque presentation, including the cheering minions and the be-there-or-be-square manufactured “event” quality. And, of course, the sniveling members of the press, who ran the gamut from rabid bootlicking enablers – It’s revolutionary! It’s the greatest thing since sliced bread! (you get the idea) – to a few who had the temerity to actually offer some reasoned perspective. (In other words, it’s a giant “we’ll see” until further notice.)
It even had a Hollywood celebrity on hand – actor Idris Elba – to kick off the show, claiming his fealty to Ford was long-lasting and real, which completely fell flat when the actor and Bill Ford participated in a painfully stilted and forced interview/conversation on stage.
The Ford Mustang Mach-E is yet another new electric crossover (about the size of the Escape) with all of the currently accepted ingredients present and accounted for: rear- or all-wheel-drive; available in both standard-range (75.7 kWh lithium-ion battery) and extended-range (98.8 kWh battery), which has a “targeted” EPA-estimated range of at least 300 miles in rear-wheel-drive configuration (the batteries feature 288 lithium-ion cells in the standard-range version and 376 lithium-ion cells in the extended-range); the battery is located on the floor between the vehicle’s two axles and secured inside a waterproof battery case surrounded by crash-absorption protection; the batteries are liquid-cooled to optimize performance in extreme weather and to improve charging times; the Mach-E is targeting 332 horsepower and 417 lb.-ft. of torque, with other versions getting more (see pics and more info in “On The Table” -WG).
The Mach-E also features a Tesla-esque interior, featuring a do-everything center stack that is supposed to represent Ford’s advanced “connected” vehicle configuration going forward. (They made the mistake – Mistake No. 1 – of calling it the “next-generation” SYNC. Ford’s signature system has been a glaringly weak link ever since they launched it despite overhauls, fixes and improvements. So why not ditch that compromised – at best – name for this alleged “revolutionary” new Ford?)
So, that about covers the basic ingredients, but it's only the beginning of my thoughts on Ford’s Tesla fighter.
First of all, what about the fact that it’s called Mustang Mach-E? Longtime readers of this website know I have advocated that GM leverage the Corvette image and brand name for an expanded lineup of vehicles for years, in order to go toe-to-toe against Porsche in the market, with the ultimate goal of creating an all-new performance division for GM. I still feel that way. So, why does it feel different for Ford?
I have written about the Mustang being “the soul” of the Ford Motor Company for a decade, with the F-150 being “the franchise.” Make no mistake, the F-150 has been directly responsible for the Ford Motor Company’s profitability for so long now that to imagine the Ford Motor Company without it would be to imagine that the company went out of business. But the Mustang is the remaining link to Ford’s “glory days” of the 60s, when Ford’s “Total Performance” racing/marketing onslaught transformed the company image. (Yes, of course, the Ford GT does that, too, but on a much more limited scale; for most people, the Mustang is Ford’s approachable mainstream sporty car entry.)
But to call this frumpy looking crossover – squint and it looks like 20 other crossovers in the market – a “Mustang” is so egregiously wrong that it makes me cringe. Let me make this clear: I learned to drive a stick-shift in a 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350. We raced an ex-Bud Moore Mustang Boss 302 in the ’71 Trans-Am season with my brother Tony at the wheel. In short, I know Mustangs, and the Mach-E is no damn Mustang. In fact, it’s a crushing disappointment and an insult to the legacy of the Mustang, especially when you have the blistering fast and perfectly brutal looking new Shelby GT500 Mustang just hitting the streets.