Electrek spoke with Darren Palmer, the product chief for Ford EVs and they received some updates on the Mach-E.
- Palmer said that the Mach-E is “close to sign-off” for vehicle engineering. Hence why there's still photos of test mules driving around.
- He confirmed that Ford will hit the 300-mile range target for the long-range version.
- He revealed that the company has allowed a few Mustang enthusiasts to take it for a drive.
- Ford’s EV team is already looking ahead at future electric models (Electric Explorer and/or Escape?)
- He called the Mustang Mach-E the first “highly aspirational $35,000 electric SUV.”
Each EV needs a 300-mile version
Palmer explained that customer focus groups revealed that EV buyers want a 300-mile version. Hitting that number, he said, is an important strategy for converting gas-car owners to electric.
He confirmed that 80% of Mustang Mach-E pre-orders are for the long-range model, promising up to 300 miles. Of course, the lower-cost Mach-E versions, and those offering all-wheel-drive, will have between 210 and 270 miles. But Ford believes that a 300-mile version has to be available for those who want it.“They need a three [at the front of the range number]. It makes them feel comfortable and they might want to use it as a primary car. It’s becoming viable now.”
Even though Mach-E range numbers are not yet confirmed EPA figures, Palmer is confident that Ford will hit the mark.
Long-range is part of the equation, according to Palmer. But the Mach-E also needs a level of performance expected from the Mustang brand. He emphasized that only perhaps 1% or 2% of American consumers have so far driven a high-performance electric vehicle.“We’re developing to EPA standards, so we expect to get the range that we set.”
“We are seeing test vehicles achieving the range we set as a target. So that’s good.”
Converting Mustang buyers
Palmer said the team has been spending time showing the Mach-E to Mustang clubs and hard-core enthusiasts. He told us that “a few people” have driven it.
What’s somewhat surprising is that those same legacy Mustang drivers want their friends and neighbors to know that they are going electric. According to Palmer, those Mach-E buyers want a grille that looks like an EV, and the cockpit should feel very high-tech with big screens on the dash.“A lot of them are not experienced with electric. So when they drive it, they go, ‘Wow, I didn’t expect that kind of performance and instant instantaneous torque and feel.’”
“So they come in with one impression and leave saying, ‘I want one of those.’”
At the same time, Palmer emphasized that Ford wants to sell EVs in volume, not as niche products. That means solving problems before a mainstream EV buyer knows that they exist. That’s why every Mach-E (and likely every Ford EV) will come with a portable, Level 2, 240-volt charger. It’s a strategy to eliminate the question about what home-charger to buy.“Our customers said, I don’t want to blend in. I don’t want weird, but I want them to know it so BEV straightaway. They want to show that they’re leaping into the future and that they are lovers of the new.”
Palmer also said that Ford’s test teams are currently taking long all-electric road trips to discover any issues about using highway charging. He said that any problems are documented and fed back to the company’s EV charging-network partners.