The Ford Mustang Mach-E is due out at the end of this year and will be the newest contender to challenge the absolute dominance that Tesla has had in the electric car market thus far. Yes, a few electric cars from legacy automakers have already made their debuts. But they couldn't really go mano-e-mano with Elon Musk's electric automaker. Will Ford's Mustang Mach-E be any different?
The Mustang Mach-E will be Ford’s first modern purpose-built electric car (we know the Ford Focus Electric existed, but we can’t count compliance cars). Much to the ire of die-hard muscle-car Ford fans, the Mustang Mach-E takes its name from the legendary Mustang Mach 1. However, instead of a growling muscle car, it’s a silent electric crossover.
Nevertheless, Ford is still using its most iconic nameplate for its new electric crossover. This demonstrates how much they're invested in this upcoming vehicle launch and (hopefully) it's a real opportunity to kickstart a new chapter in Detroit.
The Mustang Mach-E will be available in a multitude of different trim levels offering a variety of ranges and performance metrics. The base model is the “Standard” model and will start at $43,895 with a range of 210-230 miles and a 0-60 time of low 6 sec. to mid 5 sec. — depending on whether you get a single motor or dual-motor. The chart-topping version is the “GT” which should start at around $60,500 boasting a range of 235 miles and a 0-60 time of mid 3 sec.
Note: these specifications are still not 100% set in stone as many of them are “targeted” but we do expect final specs to fall in line (or hover closely) with these targets provided at the time this article was published.
If we can assume that Ford will be successful in achieving these specifications for their production variants of the vehicle, then the Mach-E will end up coming up short in most "face-offs" with its biggest competitor, the Tesla Model Y. Nevertheless, it will be somewhat close in a few areas.
Comparing the Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium 4X with the Tesla Model Y Long Range (as they are closest in both price and specs - see infographic below), the Model Y does beat out the Mach-E in many categories, but it’s not a landslide.
The most important statistic for many people, range, favors (not surprisingly) Tesla's Model Y. While the Model Y has a range of 316 miles, the Mach-E tops out at 270 miles for the AWD and 300 miles for the RWD version. Most people, no doubt, want to have as much range as possible. Tesla's Elon Musk, for one, thinks 300 miles should be the EV industry's new norm.
The Model Y also wins out on 0-60 times as well, with it having a 4.8 second time while Ford is targeting a “mid 6 sec.” time for the RWD and “mid 5 sec.” time for the AWD. Again, you’re not going to lay down sick drag race times in either, but the Model Y is still much quicker.
So why would someone choose the Mach-E over the Model Y? Well, when it comes to your wallet, the prices are still in the same ballpark. Ford qualifies for the full $7,500 EV tax credit, while Tesla no longer does. So the Mach-E’s affordability can (conceivably) outweigh whatever shortcomings it has when compared to the Model Y.
In addition, vehicle design plays an important part in the car buying experience too. It's completely subjective, but there will be those who prefer the design of the Mach-E to the Model Y, and vice versa.
Then, of course, there's brand loyalty that plays into a decision when buying a car. Earlier this year, Autolist looked at the Ford Mach-E vs. Tesla Model Y comparison and conducted a survey to see which way consumers leaned. Interestingly, those surveyed were split (almost) evenly between the two brands — with 51% preferring the Ford.
To its credit, Ford has been making some strides to take electrification seriously. However, the Detroit automaker is still unable/unwilling to move to a direct-to-consumer sales model (as Tesla does) at this time. People still have to go through a traditional dealership. However, the Mustang Mach-E will utilize an e-invoice system that should prevent dealers from advertising the new electric car under the MSRP. Unfortunately, Ford corporate will not be able to step in once the dealership makes contact with the customer. Therefore, dealerships are still free to set whatever prices they want for the Mach-E, which might kill a lot of momentum for the new electric crossover.
Another key determining factor in this all-electric face-off is an established charging network. One of the biggest reasons for Tesla’s success is its massive Supercharger Network that enables its chargers to be readily available, consistent, fast, easy-to-use, and spaced properly for long road trips all over the US. This gives Tesla a big advantage (for now).
In contrast, Ford hasn't built up a charging network of its own yet. Instead, the FordPass Charging Network was cobbled together using other charging networks such as Electrify America, Chargepoint, and third-party chargers — placing them all under one umbrella.
While the Mach-E looks promising, keep in mind: we're just basing predictions off of today's plans. Plans could change. Production holdups could happen. The electric drivetrain might have issues, the dealers might mark them up significantly, and Ford could end up making significant changes pre-release. We simply don’t know how good the car will be until production starts.
Looking back on his tenure at Ford, former CEO Mark Fields knew this vehicle launch was critical to Ford's future. Now we've come full-circle and it's encouraging to see this exciting electric car, a Mustang no less, finally coming to market.
An earlier version of this article appeared on EVBite. EVBite is an electric vehicle specific news site dedicated to keeping consumers up-to-date on any developments in the ever-expanding EV landscape.