LOS ANGELES – Ford Motor is touting its all-electric Mustang Mach-E as a performance SUV that will redefine the automaker's lineup and expand the iconic pony car name to a new generation of car buyers.
The 2021 Mach-E, which was unveiled Sunday night in Los Angeles, is the first vehicle based on the company's new EV architecture as part of an $11 billion plan to develop 40 new all-electric and hybrid models by 2022. It also marks the first time the Mustang name is being used on a vehicle other than the two-door pony car since it debuted in 1964.
Pricing, performance and EV range for the Mach-E are expected to be comparable to Tesla's upcoming Model Y SUV.
Top performance models of the Mach-E will achieve 0-60 miles per hour in the mid-3-second range with an estimated 459 horsepower and 612 lb.-ft. of torque. That makes it faster off the line than a Porsche Macan Turbo and in-line with the Mustang Shelby GT500 and Tesla Model Y.
The Mach-E, depending on the model, is expected to achieve between 210 miles and at least 300 miles, according to Ford. The Mach-E will be available with a standard 75.7 kWh battery or extended-range 98.8 kWh battery. Tesla estimates the Model Y will achieve up to roughly 300 miles.
Ford CEO Jim Hackett said the Mach-E will feature a new, hands-free driver-assist system that is expected to compete with Tesla's Autopilot and Cadillac's Super Cruise systems. The company, he said, plans to activate the driver-assist system through an over-the-air update. He declined to provide timing for the system update.
The Mach-E is expected to arrive in dealerships beginning in late-2020 with "Premium" and "First Edition" models, followed by base and performance models, including a "GT," through spring 2021. Starting pricing — excluding federal tax incentives of up to $7,500 — will range from about $43,895 for the base "Select" model to roughly $60,500 for the GT.
Announced starting prices for the Tesla Model Y, which is expected to begin production late next year, will cost from $39,000 to $60,000 depending on the configuration.
Following the Mach-E debut Sunday, Ford opened online reservations for the vehicle on the company's website. A $500 refundable deposit is required.
The Mach-E is a pivotal vehicle for Ford that relaunches its EV efforts nearly a decade after the automaker released an all-electric version of the Ford Focus for compliance reasons.
Bill Ford, executive chairman of the automaker, compared the significance of the Mach-E to his great-grandfather announcing the Ford Model T, a vehicle that brought affordable transportation to the middle-class.
"At the first-ever Detroit auto show, Henry Ford said he was working on something that would strike like forked lightning," Ford said in a release. "That was the Model T. Today, the Ford Motor Co. is proud to unveil a car that strikes like forked lightning all over again. The all-new, all-electric Mustang Mach-E. It's fast. It's fun. It's freedom. For a new generation of Mustang owners."
Aside from its badging and performance, the Mach-E includes Mustang design aspects such as a long hood, rear haunch, aggressive headlights, and trademark tri-bar taillamps. The "grille" of the vehicle also is cut out to resemble the pony car.
"This thing had to be a hero," said Jason Castriota, Ford brand director for battery-electric vehicles. "We didn't want it to be eaten up."
Ford says the rear-wheel-drive Mach-E is the first production vehicle to be tuned by the Ford Performance team utilizing Ford's racing simulator in North Carolina. All-wheel-drive also is available.
The interior of the Mach-E is clean and modern, comparable to the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y. It features a vertical 15.5-inch center screen in addition to a 10.2-inch information cluster in front of the driver. The Tesla models feature one 15-inch screen in the center of the instrument panel. Castriota described the interior of the cabin as "sexy tech."
The Mach-E debuts Ford's next-generation SYNC infotainment system that includes a customizable area that can learn a driver's preferences and make personalized suggestions, according to officials.
"It can suggest going to the gym if it learns Mondays are workout days or calling home if you do that every day after work," said Darren Palmer, Ford global director for battery electric vehicles. "The result is a cloud-connected assistant and interface that's intuitive, beautiful and ready for the future thanks to fast over-the-air updates."
In addition to the touchscreen, drivers can use a single rotary knob located near the bottom of the screen to control the system.
The Mach-E will be produced at Ford's plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico. It will be the first vehicle sporting the pony badge to be produced south of the border in decades.
Ford previously reiterated that the company is America's top producer of vehicles and the largest employer of UAW-represented autoworkers. More than 80% of the vehicles Ford sells in America are built in the U.S., including the Ford Mustang at its Flat Rock plant in Michigan.