Ford’s mysterious Mustang-inspired electric crossover is beginning to take shape. The yet-unnamed model was announced over a year ago, and it is tentatively scheduled to make its debut as a thinly veiled prototype by the end of 2019. It will be the company’s most advanced model to date, and engineers are going to great lengths to make it fun to drive.
The Blue Oval published a brief teaser video on its official Facebook page to announce that its electric car offensive is around the corner. Ford has dabbled in EVs before; it sold a battery-powered Focus in many markets, and it experimented with an electric Ranger pickup during the 1990s, but these were low-volume vehicles based on existing, gasoline-powered models. The Mustang-like model was developed with electric driving in mind from the get-go.
It’s important to make the distinction between Mustang-inspired and Mustang-based. There’s no evidence suggesting the two cars will share any major components. Ford’s video explained engineers are tuning the crossover with driving enjoyment in mind, and they’re using 3D simulators to dial it in, so this might be where the Mustang connection comes from. The design is expected to borrow styling cues from the emblematic pony car, too, though it won’t be a low-slung coupe.
Ford previously floated a 300-plus-mile driving range, though that figure corresponds to the extended-range model, and full technical specifications remain guarded. Blending Mustang genes and the instant torque delivered by electric motors should unlock brisk acceleration. Product planners even considered resurrecting the hollowed Mach 1 name for the crossover, though they allegedly abandoned those plans when fans of the original, V8-powered Mustang Mach I released in 1969 cried foul. The model is tentatively called Mach E.
Documents erroneously published by Electrify America, a network of charging stations operated by Volkswagen, claimed the crossover will arrive with rear-wheel drive. Odds are that means the standard model will come with a single electric motor over its rear axle. Making it all-wheel drive will be as simple as adding a second motor over the front axle.
Why is a company affiliated with Volkswagen dishing out information about a Ford? Good question; the two companies are cautiously expanding the partnership they announced during the 2019 Detroit auto show, and electric technology is one of the alliance’s focal points. Owners of the Mustang-inspired model will have paid access to Electrify America’s network via the FordPass Charging Network, which groups 35,000 plugs at 12,000 stations owner by various providers across America. Using one of Electrify America’s 150-kilowatt charger will zap the battery pack with 47 miles of range in 10 minutes. Going from 10% to 80% will take approximately 45 minutes, according to Ford.
Moving inside the car, the video confirms Ford will place the infotainment system’s screen on top of the dashboard rather than embedding it into the center stack. It’s a layout that makes it possible for Ford to update the hardware without needing to fully redesign the center stack. The model could receive a bigger screen at some point during its life cycle, for example.
Ford’s assertion that electric cars are coming asks more questions than it answers. We don’t know exactly when they’re coming. Digital Trends learned the company will introduce something electric at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show opening its doors in late November, and there’s a good chance it will be related to the camouflaged prototype shown in the video. Electrify America’s leak revealed the model will reach showrooms in late 2020, meaning it will arrive during the 2021 model year. Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but don’t expect it to start under $30,000.
Updated on October 21, 2019: Added information from Electrify America.