Ford's All-Electric Mach E | Drag Strip and Road Tested | How Good Is It?

SID297

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Ford's All-Electric Mach E | Drag Strip and Road Tested | How Good Is It?

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I’m going to just lead off with what you all really want to know. Yes, the 2021 Mach E may just be the most important car in Ford’s lineup. And yes, it drives, rides, handles, and accelerates much better than you’re probably expecting. While I only had a week with the car I can honestly say that I came away impressed. I’ve never been a huge fan of electric vehicles (besides a golf cart), and I still refuse to call the Mach E a Mustang. However; once I set my inherent biases aside I can’t help but appreciate how well engineered this car is, no matter its propulsion system.


First thing first, the particular car I got to spend time with was a pre-production model. So I can’t guarantee the Mach Es you see on dealer lots will have the same level of fit and finish, but this thing was really good. The optional Rapid Red Metallic Paint with Tinted Clearcoat was much slicker than I’m used to seeing from Ford and the panel gaps were perfect. There were a few small issues, such as frunk (hood) lid being difficult to close, but I chalk that up to this car’s pre-production status. The exterior build quality reminds me very much of a Lincoln Continental. It really is that good. Styling is a matter of personal taste, but I think it looks decent.


However, as good as the exterior quality is the interior is even better. You can tell Ford really wanted to make a splash with this car. It easily has the best interior of any main-line Ford car. From the panel fitment to the material choices the inside of this car oozes quality. Now I expect this same level of quality in every new Ford going forward. But something that certainly takes some getting used to is the large 15.5-inch center control screen. I’m a bit old school in that I like basic buttons, knobs, and switches; but this screen handles everything you’d expect in a center stack and then some. The rectangular dash screen cluster, in my opinion, is perfect. It is simple yet effective, and reminds me a lot of display available with a Holley Terminator EFI system.

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You're looking a one of the best interior available in any new Ford.

I know you guys are probably most interested in how this thing performs; and to put it simply, it’s surprising. Since the AWD electric motors develop full torque 0 RPM this thing launches strong. During our first few hours with the car we cruised out to Darlington Dragway for a few passes during test and tune night. The trip out there is about 100 miles, and it shaved off about 1/3 of the battery capacity. Luckily we had a PowerBoost equipped F-150 around to plug the Mach E’s charger into. Its 7.2 kWh on-board generator did an admirable job of charging the Mach’s optional 88 kWh battery pack, that is comprised of 376 individual lithium-ion cells. After about half an hour we were back to 75% charged and ready to make a hit down the track.


Needless to say, this thing got a lot of attention at the track. I kept getting asked what it runs, but I honestly had no idea myself. Luckily, we were in just the place to find out. Wednesday nights in Darlington are an interesting mix of basic test and tune runs (like we were there for), and serious big money grudge racing. The crowd really gets into every run being made, so expect to see some side action based on your performance. It was interesting watching the crowd on the line try to figure out just what the Mach E actually was. But we rolled around the water box (no need for a burnout with the AWD system and street tires), and staged up. On the first run I brake torque it with everything it had, and the car launched out strong. The closest sensation I can describe it to, due largely to the relative silence of the electric drivetrain, is riding an electrically launched rollercoaster like Maverick at Cedar Point.

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Mustang owners may be familiar with a hatch on a Pony Car, but an extra set of doors is something new.


The Mach E pulls very hard on the bottom end, but acceleration seems to taper off slightly past about 80MPH. It is happiest in the lot-to-mid range. The results of three runs over about 15 minutes were: [email protected] | [email protected] | [email protected] That level of consistency between runs is insane. A relative novice could take one of these to an NMRA race and clean up in a bracket class. Another interesting note, each full throttle ¼ mile pass reduced the remaining battery range by 1%. Considering that the pack has a stated 300-mile range, it’s burning through 3 miles of range to make a full throttle ¼ mile hit. I thought that was pretty impressive by itself, and should leave plenty of safety margin to get back home after a night of fun at the track. Running on an open road course the story may be different.

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You can pop the frunk, but you're not going to find an engine.


Speaking of open road, that’s where the Mach E really shines. IMO, Ford nailed the suspension on this car. For its intended purpose, it’s perfect. It is comfortable without being too soft, while still being sporty enough but not harsh. We didn’t have a chance to get this particular car on a lift to show you the underpinnings, but I have seen one myself previously. One look at the suspension components will show you that Ford spent some serious money on their design. The use of aluminum is significant, and many of the pieces are forged. It would be nice to see this design philosophy bleed over to the upcoming S650 Mustang.

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The Mach E has decent cargo capacity, especially if you fold down the back seats.


As good as the suspension is, the steering is even better. Whoever engineered the Mach E’s steering deserves a raise. This car seriously has the best feeling steering I have experienced in any Ford. It is perfectly weighted, has great feedback, and is incredibly responsive. The responsiveness may be due in part to the relatively narrow 225 front tires, but it works. The closest car I can compare the steering feel to is a mid-2000s Porsche 911. I can’t think of much higher praise for most any car than to be compared to a Porsche, but the Mach E’s steering really is that good. If you get a chance to drive one, definitely pay attention to that.

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This door panel is an example of the improved build-quality/material-choices found in the Mach E, far more premium than a typical Ford.


The overall driving experience of the car is quite good. It’s sporty enough to be fun, but comfortable enough to pull off daily driver duty. It’s also neat that you have several different drive modes (I pretty much left it in Unbridled mode) to play with, and if you’re so inclined you can add fake engine noises through the sound system (I left that turned off). Speaking of daily driver duty, you have about 300 miles of range to run. Ford includes a charger that will allow you to home charge at either 15 or 30 amps. The 15 amp, standard household outlet, option is nearly useless. It charges at a rate of 3 miles of range per hour. That would be the equivalent of a gas pump filling a car that gets 25MPG with about a pint of gas per hour. By stepping up to the 30 amp option you’ll be able to charge at a rate of about 21MPH. IMO, the only home charging solution that makes real sense is Ford’s optional hard wired 48 amp charger that replenishes the pack at 30MPH. For a trip, if you can find a DC Fast Charger along your route you should be able to charge from 10% to 80% in 45 minutes.

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Another premium touch can be found in the seats. The leather/vinyl quality is much better than Mustang.


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This is going to take some getting used to, but the LED "fuel" gauge is a handy inclusion.


By now we all know the relative strengths and weaknesses of full electric vehicles. The Mach E represents Ford’s first serious attempt at a ground-up design in this market, and if sells are any indicator of success I’d say they are on the right track. While I may not personally be ready to give up my fossil fuel powered fleet, I can say that I did enjoy my time with the Mach E. If anything it left me eager to get behind the wheel of a T Performance Pack version this fall. Maybe we’ll take one back out to Darlington, place a couple bets, and try to win whatever the equivalent of gas-money is for an EV. That’s always a fun way to spend a Wednesday night, no matter how the car is propelled.

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The profile looks pretty good, and the absence of door handles is slick.


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Which Mach do you prefer?
-SID297
 
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Stangra

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...each full throttle ¼ mile pass reduced the remaining battery range by 1%. Considering that the pack has a stated 300-mile range, it’s only burning through 1/3 of a mile of range to make a full throttle ¼ mile hit.​
1% of 300 miles = 3 miles
 

xblitzkriegx

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It's a descent SUV but it's not a mustang.

I don't care who pushes propaganda forced reviews and how much praise is heaped on it. I don't care that it's a SUV, I don't care that it's electric, that's Ok. I care that Ford desperately latched on to a familiar nameplate because they felt so insecure about electric vehicles that they had to try and trick people in to buying it.

If it really was that good to begin with, it wouldn't need the mustang name at all.
 

04sleeper

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I was able to drive one and I have to say, name aside, it drove fantastic! Fit and finish was great and felt more luxury than anything I have driven. I haven't driven the GT model yet, but I look forward to it.

Look forward to see what performance Ford brings to the table in the future, knowing the potential of EV cars.
 

SID297

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It's a descent SUV but it's not a mustang.

I don't care who pushes propaganda forced reviews and how much praise is heaped on it. I don't care that it's a SUV, I don't care that it's electric, that's Ok. I care that Ford desperately latched on to a familiar nameplate because they felt so insecure about electric vehicles that they had to try and trick people in to buying it.

If it really was that good to begin with, it wouldn't need the mustang name at all.

Everything Ford has done with this car tells me it was built for first time Ford buyers. They have no hang-ups with it being called a Mustang.
 

SSSSSSSSSSSSVT

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I honestly don’t get the luxury comments? It feels like a cheap Uber car inside. It’s like we got to throw a party because ford put vinyl on the door panels and not plastic.
 

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