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2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E - Review by Larry Nutson

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The new kid in town

By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau

According to Ford data reported by Automotive News, the all-electric Mustang Mach-E is already surpassing its gasoline powered sibling. Ford has produced 27,816 so far in 2021, more than the 26,089 standard Mustangs that have rolled off the assembly line.

The Mustang Mach-E is selling very quickly. The turn rate is 10-days, essentially selling as soon as it hits dealer showrooms. Mach-E sales for May 2021 totaled 1,945, with 10,510 Mustang Mach-E’s sold this year. California is the largest market with one out of every four Mach-E’s sold in the state.

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I recently had my first taste of the Mach-E. The all-new battery electric vehicle (BEV) from Ford was my transport for a week. It soon became apparent that lots of folks know about the Mach-E. As I drove around I saw heads turn from all types of people. While parked, I did a walk-around to inform three curious construction workers. Two Chicago Police officers pulled up next to me in their cruiser—a Ford Explorer, by the way--signaled for me to open my window and asked me about the Mach-E. Young car enthusiasts who work at my go-to seafood purveyor stopped preparing customer orders and came outside to have a look.

The common question was “How’s it drive?” The answer is easy. The Mach-E drives really well, like you would expect any new car coming into the market today. Today, there are no bad cars. No automaker can or will introduce a vehicle that is not competitive. That’s not just my opinion. Other auto industry professionals agree. There’s something for everyone to meet all their needs and wants, no matter what they may be. The risk of a poor purchase decision is near zero.

The auto industry has been developing historic BEVs for over 120 years and modern iterations for 50 years now. I drove a prototype research BEV back in the late-1970s in my work back then. Electrified vehicles became production and consumer-ready in the first decade of this century. Today more and more Americans are embracing electrified vehicles for use in their personal lives. Why? It's not about reduced consumption of oil. 

It's about cutting total emissions from all vehicles by 50% by 2035. Why? Climate. The earth is getting warmer. Too warm! The goal is to slow the earth's warming by 1.5ºC by 2050. Transportation is the biggest contributor of harmful greenhouse gases. We need to reduce the number of internal combustion engine (ICE) powered vehicles to help achieve this reduction. BEVs are very good. They drive just like an ICE-powered vehicle. BEVs are especially suitable in urban, big-city driving where distances are short.

The United States reentered the Paris Agreement, a climate treaty dedicated to lowering greenhouse gas emissions in more than 180 countries around the world. The legally binding agreement aims to substantially reduce global greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to limit the global temperature increase in this century to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, while pursuing the means to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees.

Apologies if I have been “preaching to the choir.” Thanks for sticking with me. Now, about the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E. It’s a four-door, five-seat utility vehicle (UV) with a large opening rear hatch. The rear trunk provides 29.7 cubic feet of space. With the rear seats folded down, that increases to 59.7 cubic feet of space. And, because there is no engine under the front hood there is a drainable front trunk with 4.8 cubic feet of space. The front trunk with its drain can be packed with ice for tailgates or the beach.

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The Mach-E is available with standard (68kWh) and extended-range (88kWh) battery options in rear-drive or all-wheel drive configurations. RWD models have one rear-mounted permanent magnet electric motor. AWD models have two electric motors, one up front and one in the rear---an eAWD. Select, Premium, First Edition (already sold out), California Route 1 and GT models are offered.

Depending on model and battery choice, rear-drive configurations have either 230 or 305 miles of range. All-wheel drive configurations have either 211 or 270 miles of range. Select and Premium trims are RWD or eAWD. First Edition is eAWD only. California Route 1 is RWD only.

Every Mustang Mach-E has plenty of performance. Horsepower ratings range from 266hp to 346hp. Electric motors develop instant torque from zero RPM. Zero to 60 mph acceleration times are in the performance car range of 4.8 seconds to 6.1 seconds, save for the GT.

The GT is something special for the enthusiast. It’s eAWD only, has a range of 235 or 250 miles, and can hit 60 mph from stop in 3.5 seconds in the GT Performance Edition with its 480hp.

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For my Ford Mach-E drive experience I drove a Premium eAWD with extended range battery. By the numbers, that’s 346hp, 270 miles of range and a 60mph time of 4.8 secs.

The Mach-E is very nicely equipped with all the features we have come to expect in a new vehicle today. It is very car-like. Power adjustable and heated front seats, heated steering wheel, a power fold feature for the outside mirrors, and a 10-speaker B&O sound system all caught my attention.

Ford Co-pilot360 provides adaptive cruise control. A 15.5 inch color touchscreen accesses Ford’s Sync 4A communication and entertainment system.

A panoramic fixed-glass roof lets in the sun…all the time. There’s no interior sliding sunshade panel. Instead, a special glass coating helps the interior stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. In addition, an inner layer between the glass helps protect against UV rays. I did wonder how well this would work in the hot triple-digit Arizona sun. I drove on moderately warm sunny days with the Mach-E typically parked outside and didn’t observe any extreme interior heat build-up.

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There’s a lot to like about the Mach-E. Opinions being what they are, my wife wasn’t fond of the large touchscreen. I’m more familiar with seeing them, so I was more accepting. Electronic push-button door releases are used to open the doors from the outside. Push the button and the door opens a couple inches. The front doors have slim pull handles; the rears have none. I thought the ride was a bit too firm. The 55-series tires on 19-inch wheels fitted to the car I drove have a 39psi recommended cold inflation pressure. The onboard TP readout showed them above that at 43 psi when cold. Perhaps that had an influence. Ride height is 5.8 inches, so a bit of unpaved road or deep snow driving should be fine.

A note on battery charging. This is the important topic when it comes to BEVs and the one that should be understood before you make the leap. Ford equips the Mach-E with a portable charge cord that can be plugged on to 120-volt household outlet or 240-volt outlet….like used for an electric clothes dryer.

Here’s what you get:

  • 120v adds 3 miles of range per hour (this is a trickle charge)
  • 240v adds 19 miles of range per hour
  • A 240V Level 2 charger installed in your home adds 30 miles of range per hour. Mach-E buyers can opt for a Ford Connected Charge Station to be installed by a licensed electrician.
  • Public 240v Level 2 charging stations from Electrify America, ChargePoint, EVGO and others can be found through the Ford Pass Charging Network
  • A 440V Level 3 DC fast charger can add a max of 59 miles of range in about 10 minutes. The standard-range Mustang Mach-E is estimated to charge from 10 percent to 80 percent in approximately 45 minutes while charging on a DC fast charging station.

Surveys say 80% of BEV owners charge at home. That’s great. However, charging infrastructure is a big issue that needs work. Cities need to develop charging solutions for people who live in multi-unit dwellings (MUD) and park in large garages or on the street. Kansas City is doing a program to install EV charges on street light poles. The U.S. DoE is leading a program in a number of cities to work on MUD charging solutions.

On the subject of driving range, through regenerative braking electric charge gets put back into the battery. I don’t yet have a good number to say how much. But, as an example, in frequent stop and go in-city driving you may only use 4 miles of range to go 5 or 6 miles. Also note that cold outside ambient temperature will reduce driving range.

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In my Mach-E drive I frequently used the “L” range on the transmission selector to maximize regen braking. When it came to adding charge I visited a nearby Electrify America DC fast charging station to add more range the cost of which was covered by the Ford Pass Charging Bundle. I charged the battery from 44% to 80% in 20 minutes.

The 2021 Mustang Mach-E has a starting price of $42,895 plus a $1,100 destination charge. The Premium eAWD I drove had a base price of $49,700. The extended range battery added $5,000. A $400 equipment group plus destination charge brought the total to $56,200.

More information and specifications can be found at The Mach-E is eligible for the $7,500 Federal tax credit and other state and local incentives. And note the Ford Mustang Mach-E was named the 2021 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year.  

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Lastly, I have driven and number of BEVs. They drive and perform very well in a big, crowded large cities where driving distances are short. Another BEV benefit is their quiet operation which reduces noise from vehicles in a neighborhood. About half of U.S. adults support a proposal to phase out production of gasoline-powered cars and trucks.

Something to think about!

© 2021 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy