Earlier this week, I drove the Standard Range AWD Ford Mustang Mach-E Select on a mountain road trip, right as a winter storm was coming to an end.
To begin this review, I'll point out the essential facts of this trip. I took the Mach-E on a drive from Charlotte, NC, to a mountain town called Boone, NC. Boone is home to Appalachian State University and is located roughly 90 miles away from where I live. The Mach-E Standard Range AWD can go 211 miles on a single charge, so it should make it there and back on paper.
However, it is important to know that there were a few stipulations, which could limit the car from being able to make it there and back:
- It was cold; the starting temperature was around 40 and raining, quickly transitioning into mid-30 temps and a wintry mix. It was snowing, windy, and in the mid-twenties by the end.
- I was driving up a mountain. To get to Boone, I have to pass through Blowing Rock, and the road reaches a maximum elevation of 3,650 feet, according to Google Earth. My starting elevation is around 750 feet, but it's pretty flat until you're about 80% there. Not a massive elevation increase by the West Coast's standards, but it's enough to measure the Mach-E's regenerative braking capabilities going down the mountain.
- I drove at the posted limit (unless conditions did not permit), and tried to keep the cruise control system on as much as possible.
- There are no heated seats in the Select model, so I had to rely on the cabin heater for warmth. However, I used the heater sparingly.
How Did It Perform?
Before starting the drive, I preconditioned the cabin for around 10 minutes before beginning the drive. The car was at 100% battery, and showed a possible total of 217 miles. Ford's range estimator would usually be a bit lower in colder conditions, but since it was garage kept and over 60 degrees Fahrenheit the previous day, that's how the 217-mile estimate came to be.
The majority of the drive was in the mid-30°F range, and on the 65-mph state highways, its range dropped quicker than the estimates. There was a mixture of snow and rain throughout most of the drive, but it subsided when I reached Lenior, NC. From Lenoir on, it was about a 2,300 feet elevation increase, and the roadside snow accumulated along the way up. Once I reached the top of the mountain, the conditions rapidly shifted: the roads were covered in around six inches of snow and iced-over slush.
Once I reached Boone's DC fast charging station, I recorded a distance of 88.1 miles driven and an efficiency rating of 2.5 miles/kWh. The battery was at 48% and showed 81 miles remaining. Even though the distance back would be 7.1 miles above the estimate, I am sure it could've made it back without recharging. Since a good stretch of the distance back is rapidly decreasing in elevation, there would be a regenerative gain not seen on the way up. Since I wanted to drive around to test its AWD capabilities in the snow, I charged up anyways.
There is only one DC fast charger in Boone, and it's only a 62.5kW stall. Luckily, nobody else was using it, and I even seemed to be the first person of the day to charge up, and that was at 12:00 PM. As most know, the Mach-E has a charging curve that severely limits power after the battery hits 80%. There is an update available at dealerships to prolong the higher charging speeds, but this one hasn't received the update yet.
The charger, powered by Chargepoint, only cost $5.00 an hour, and even though the Standard Range Mach-E can charge up to 115kW, it only took 32 minutes and $2.66 to go from 48% to 80% charge (24kWh added). I have recorded much faster times at lower percentages, but the station's limited charge rate and cold temperatures were against Mach-E's favor.
The Mach-E performed exceptionally well in the snow, even on its all-season Michelin Primacy A/S tires. Its dual-motor system allowed it to sail with ease through the snow. Its traction control system worked like a charm with virtually zero tire spin. However, around corners, you could get the rear to slide a bit, but that was only if you were really pushing it.
The Mach-E's 5.7" ground clearance was its only downside. It wasn't a massive issue, but in some areas, you could hear the frozen slush thumping against the floor of the vehicle.
After driving through snowy back roads and getting looks from people who've likely never seen a hybrid, it was time to head back. For the drive back down the mountain, the regenerative braking worked exceptionally well. In the 10 mile drive down the mountain, I had gained 6 miles on the guess-o-meter. At the mountain's base, my miles per kilowatt-hour grew to 5.2, from leaving Boone (not trip total). After that, it was a flat (ish) drive back, and my number eventually dropped to 4.1kWh, with 44% battery remaining.
My efficiency was 2.5 mi/kWh on the drive to Boone, and I used 52% battery (35.4kWh). On the drive back home, my efficiency was 4.1mi/kWh, which used 36% battery (24.5kWh). The round trip total was 3.3 mi/kWh, which is quite decent for a winter drive with inclement weather. At 3.3mi/kWh, that means I could've gone 224 miles in total; keep in mind that EPA only rates it at 211 miles.
Overall, the entry-level Mach-E performed exceptionally well in the cold. Even though this was a shorter trip, the 68kWh Mach-E still has plenty of range for most, but if you're planning on driving in the snow, it's best to opt-in for the dual-motor setup.