With the highly-anticipated Mustang Mach-E currently in production and slated to begin deliveries this month, armchair analysts are eagerly waiting to see the competition that’s bound to unfold with Tesla. For months now, we’ve seen Model Y against Mach-E showdowns but if we go beyond the surface level, the two could be more similar than many might believe.
Above: Tesla's Model Y and Ford's Mach E (Image: Motor 1)
Getting the obvious out of the way, both vehicles are part of an emerging (and exciting) electric crossover segment. In the U.S, most crossovers sit within an over-crowded vehicle segment jam-packed with competition across each and every status class. These two, however, separate themselves from the rest by competing in a smaller sub-category of electrification.
Based on this, the Tesla Model Y is expected to be the best-selling vehicle from the company. Elon Musk explains, “We expect the demand for Model Y will be maybe 50 percent higher than Model 3, could be even double… As I understand it, the midsize SUV segment worldwide is the most popular type of vehicle, so we’ll probably see a higher volume of Y than 3.”
With the Mustang Mach-E being labeled as Ford’s flagship electric vehicle, one might assume a similar situation. However, until EVs begin to outsell Ford's ICE counterparts, it could be a while before we see the Mach-E at the top of Ford’s internal leaderboards.
Pricing and specs, meanwhile, are a bit of a mixed bag. Where the Mustang Mach-E lags behind marginally in performance and range, it has a bit of an edge in affordability. Behind the numbers, though, are a few noteworthy similarities. Moving away from the hard data, more abstract (yet intriguing) parallels emerge.
A word of warning (in advance): some of these category comparisons are certainly up for plenty of debate.
Tesla is, arguably, the best at ignoring (and abandoning) the outdated, high-pressure, ultra-salesy, franchise dealership model. Instead, the Silicon Valley automaker is paving the way for a simplified, streamlined, and more modern path-to-purchase for car buyers. No haggling, no pushy sales guys, no waiting, and minimal physical paperwork is involved. Creating such a digital approach has forever changed the industry as we know it.
In turn, Ford has taken note and created its own online buyers route for the Mustang Mach-E. Ford customers can head online to make their purchase, pay for their purchase, sign documents, get financing, etc. In addition they’ll be able to add insurance, get trade-in quotes, and opt for home delivery all from a web interface. Ford still has the more common dealership route for those saddled with tradition, but this new option marks a first for automakers outside of Tesla.
Sticking with heritage, both of these electric crossovers are American cars. Aside from that, the two have different (albeit distinctive) looks. The Mach-E features a rowdier muscle car complex while the Model Y looks more minimalist with modern sleek curvature.
Above: Ford Mach-E interior takes inspiration from Tesla (Source: Ford)
Unlike some other cars roaming the roads, both of these EV’s are fit with a high definition large format touch screen. Their digital displays are used to control the entirety of their respective vehicles giving us a glimpse into the buttonless future.
Like most next-generation vehicles, both of these have a tech-oriented approach. As we push towards this “do less, have more” entitled future, tech is becoming the primary focus in today's automotive landscape. Tesla has proven to the world that over-the-air software updates simply work, and consumers demand it.
With OTA, Tesla has been able to continuously improve their vehicles. Tesla is able to take feedback and suggestions from its community to keep their customer base constantly marveling at the brand as it's always evolving.
Ford, in turn, is looking to take a similar approach. However, only time will tell what the company does with its latest tech-oriented push. That said, the Ford Mustang Mach-E is said to be suited for over-the-air update compatibility.
In this decade, you can’t talk tech without discussing self-driving capabilities. The ongoing race to a 'robotaxi' future is currently a priority at every automaker. With its OTA updates, Tesla has been able to continuously improve their autonomous features adding updates like red light recognition and other significant stepping stones towards a full self-driving future.
Meanwhile, with a 40% stake in Argo AI, Ford's own path to fully autonomous vehicles could potentially be promising. The first major Ford OTA update has already been boldly announced with the addition of hands-free driving said to be coming sometime next year. With standard adaptive cruise controls and their upcoming hands-free driving capabilities, Ford is hoping to challenge Elon Musk and Team Tesla.
That said, with billions of miles of real-world driving data from Tesla's worldwide fleet of cars, the Silicon Valley automaker has no direct competition to speak of — it will be difficult for Ford (or any other automaker for that matter) to catch up in this area.
Ford hasn't built up a charging network of its own yet. Instead, the FordPass Charging Network was cobbled together using a patchwork of other charging networks such as Electrify America, Chargepoint, and third-party chargers — placing them all under one umbrella.
Tesla also has access to most of these third-party chargers. But, Tesla also has its own massive Supercharger Network which enables its chargers to be readily available, consistent, fast, easy-to-use, and spaced properly for long road trips all over the US.
While Ford's approach will enable road trip charging, the Supercharger network gives Tesla a proprietary edge (for now).
Nevertheless, both electric cars will travel long distances and provide countless road trip adventures — while driving, happily, with zero tailpipe emissions.
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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.