Ford Motor has developed a racing version of its upcoming all-electric Mustang Mach-E crossover with 1,400 horsepower and a top speed that's not street legal.
The company plans to use the prototype vehicle, which it's calling the Mustang Mach-E 1400, to show off the potential performance of all-electric vehicles as the new crossover begins arriving in dealerships later this year.
"It's an all-around athlete," Mark Rushbrook, motorsports director of Ford Performance, told CNBC. He called the vehicle a "learning platform" for the company to utilize aspects of for its future all-electric vehicles.
Ford is investing more than $11.5 billion in electric vehicles worldwide, including the Mustang Mach-E, through 2022.
The Mustang Mach-E 1400 used the body of the production vehicle but its components are quite different than the one for consumers. Engineers optimized the crossover's aerodynamics, chassis and other systems to boost the performance.
The crossover features seven electric motors — five more than the Mustang Mach-E that will sell later this year — that power the vehicle. The hood also is made of organic composite fibers, a lightweight alternative to the carbon fiber that comprises the rest of the vehicle.
Ford declined to disclose the top speed, maximum horsepower and other performance attributes of the racer. The Mustang Mach-E GT for consumers is expected to achieve 0 to 60 mph in under four seconds with an estimated 459 horsepower and 612 pound-foot of torque, according to the company.
Automakers routinely use racing prototypes to test and develop performance technologies. As Ford begins to offer additional all-electric vehicles, Rushbrook said that strategy is expected to continue.
With racing, Ford wants "to push the envelope, learn, innovate and bring it back to the mainstream cars and products that we sell to customers," he said. "This is part of that as well."
The Mustang Mach-E 1400 is expected to debut at a NASCAR "race soon." It includes three passenger seats for the company to offer the public rides in at events.
The crossover was developed with RTR, a performance vehicle company.