Tesla made the first modern electric cars, beginning about 15 years ago. It also made the first electric cars that weren’t focused on being economical or practical cars — as the first electric cars (like the Baker electrics) were designed to be, some 120 years ago.
Tesla’s concept was to make electric performance cars — so as to make them exciting cars. But this also made them expensive cars.
There’s a new electric performance car on the market — Ford’s Mustang Mach-E — that could steal away some Tesla buyers because it’s a less expensive electric performance car.
It also has some practical attributes — because it’s more a crossover than a car.
The bad news is it’s still pretty expensive.
And just became a lot more so.
What It Is
The Mach-E is a compact-size, five-passenger electric performance crossover designed to evoke Mustang-ish associations.
It does not have a V8 engine, and it has five rather than two doors, but it does have rear-wheel drive, just like a Mustang (AWD is available optionally), as well as Mustang-ish sounds, if you turn them on. It also has Mustang taillights and a front end that emulates the look of a Mustang.
And it has four times the cargo-carrying space — because it’s not a Mustang.
It is also a less pricey alternative to a Tesla Model Y, which stickers for $58,190 to start.
You can buy a new Mach-E for $46,895 to start. This one comes with a 266-horsepower electric motor, a 70-kWh battery pack and 247 miles of advertised range on a full charge. If you opt for AWD, the advertised range dips to 224 miles, but you get an increase in torque output to 428 foot-pounds from the rear-drive model’s 317 foot-pounds because you get another motor.
The next-up Premium trim ($54,975 to start) can be ordered with a more powerful (91 kWh) battery that increases the range to 306 miles (290 miles with AWD).
The California Route 1 trim ($63,575) comes standard with the stronger/longer-range battery and AWD.
The top-of-the-line GT trim ($69,895) comes standard with the strongest battery — 480 horsepower — and AWD, too. Range dips to 270 miles — the price you pay for the additional horsepower. It dips to 260 if you opt for the Performance Edition, which is the price you pay to get (once again) more torque: 634 foot-pounds vs. 600.
What’s New For 2023
The distance you can potentially go in a Mach-E with the extended range battery has been increased by 13 miles versus last year, and all trims now come standard with Ford Co-Pilot 360, a suite of driver assistance tech, which includes BlueCruise self-driving.
There is also a new Nite Pony Package for the Premium and GT trims. It includes 19- or 20-inch gloss black wheels and unique-to-this-trim black-themed exterior and interior
styling treatment to match.
A performance electric car that’s more useful than the typical electric performance car.
Electric GT is quicker to 60 (3.5 seconds) than a V8 Mustang GT (4.2 seconds).
“Level 2” (240V) home charge equipment included.
What’s Not So Good
Extended range battery is expensive ($8,600).
Use of this car’s performance quickly saps the range.
You will probably have to pay an electrician at least a few hundred bucks to wire up a dedicated 240V outlet in your garage to be able to “Level 2” charge at home.
Under The Hood
It’s more like under the seats.
This is where most electric cars have their battery packs, spread out as much as possible to
take up as little room as possible. So, when you pop the hood, there’s not much to see.
The Mach-E comes with either a 68-kWh battery, one motor and 266 horsepower or an 88-kWh battery, two motors and 480 horsepower (in the GT).
Rear drive is standard and AWD is available (standard in the GT).
On The Road
EV thrust is immediate — and utterly silent, unless you select the Mach-E’s Propulsion Sound, which emits a V8-like sound as the vehicle jumps forward.
However, that seemingly infinite thrust begins to fade as speed builds — a safety precaution to avoid overheating the wiring. The range 247 is standard; 270 with the optional/stronger powertrain isn’t tremendous, either.
At The Curb
The Mach-E, in spite of its five doors, is a slightly smaller car than the two-door Mustang, which is 188.9 inches long versus 186.7 for its electric namesake. And yet, in spite of that fact, the Mach-E is a much more spacious car inside, for both passengers and cargo.
The Mustang has back seats, but they are all but unusable. Passengers can only get in (and out) if the driver (or front seat passenger) gets out first. And if they can get back there — a near-impossibility for most adults — there is so little room (29 inches) for their legs and heads (34.8 inches) that traveling back there is a kind of punishment.
The Mustang also hasn’t got much room for their stuff — or yours, either. Its trunk is 13.5 cubic feet, which is actually pretty large for the type of car the Mustang is — but it’s small compared with the 64.4 cubic feet of total cargo capacity you have available in the Mach-E.
You may have already heard that Mach-E prices are up — a lot. Last year’s base Select trim stickered for $43,895 versus $46,895 this year, an uptick of $3,000. Trims with the extended range battery now cost $6,075-$8,675 more than the same trims (with the same extended range battery) did last year.
The Bottom Line
This isn’t your great-grandfather’s electric car.
But if the prices don’t come down a lot — and soon — this electric car might end up going the way of the Baker electric car.