Today's technology and cloud-connected world make the impossible possible.
According to a recent report in The Detroit News, Ford is working to keep the Mustang Mach-E on schedule. Vehicle engineers are still working regardless of the coronavirus. While most of the automotive industry can't manufacture or sell cars, this doesn't mean design and development teams are unable to work from home.
The Ford workers can't test drive the car on the track or get into the lab, but they can drive it around their neighborhood, work in their garages, rely on videos and simulations, and sit in front of a home computer working with various software programs and chatting with colleagues.
Mach-E engineering manager Rod Iorio pointed out how much different it is working from home. He said:
"There are dogs, kids, there are older family members — that does add some spice to the process. Everybody is just trying to adapt. Many of us have been working on this Mustang Mach-E for many years. It's in our blood. You can't just hit the pause button."
Ford has been touting its compelling all-electric crossover for some time now. It stands to be the first true Tesla rival in terms of range, performance, price, and appeal. Tesla has a storied history of issues and delays when it comes to vehicle launches. It finally broke free from that stigma when it brought its Model Y crossover to market months ahead of schedule. Ford hopes to prove it can stick to its word and launch its electric vehicle on time, despite having the odds severely stacked against it.
Navigant Research analyst Sam Abuelsamid explains:
"The Mach-E is the embodiment of a whole different way of operation for Ford in terms of product development and represents a fundamental shift in the way Ford works. It's really important as a demonstration both to consumers and the financial markets that 'We've learned from our past mistakes. We are ready to move forward.' By executing this program in what is a comparably short time period, it shows that Ford really has changed and they are ready for the future."
Mustang Mach-E team members took home prototype vehicles and still have remote access to their tools. They can do most work in their garages, and for a time, they were disinfecting and sharing cars. Now, they can no longer trade and share the Mach-E vehicles, but they can each drive their own prototype and then share information with one another.
Fortunately, today's technology and our connected world make projects like the Ford Mustang Mach-E possible even in the midst of a global pandemic. We can only hope this terrible situation will come to an end soon, and we wish Ford the best of luck as it moves forward with its all-electric pony.