Jason Lomberg, North American Editor, PSD
The Battery Show & EV Tech Digital Days was sadly online-only, but we did see some cool emerging products – like Ford’s electric Mustang SUV.
The Mustang Mach-E headlined Ford’s Day 1 Keynote, “Electrifying Iconic Vehicles.” And Ford couldn’t have picked a better candidate for electrification than an iconic muscle car infamous for its middling MPG.
Right away, Ford’s Global Director of Electrification, Mark Kaufman, made reference to Henry Ford's desire to make automobiles affordable. Because let’s face it – “electric SUV” doesn’t exactly scream “cheap.”
And the price point of EVs hits on something else Ford carefully underlined – “range anxiety.” It’s the single biggest factor preventing EVs from penetrating the wider marketplace. And while the average commute – about 16 miles each way, with regional variations – is far less than most EVs’ electric range, the fear of being stranded with a dead battery is a powerful and tangible concern.
Range anxiety is holding EVs back – their share of the American market is only about 1.5% -- and that plus the EVs’ above-average price point has kept them out of the hands of the mainstream consumer. Of course, we’ve made huge strides as a nation, with a 75% year-over-year increase in EV sales from 2017-2018 (with one million registered electric cars on the road in 2018), and according to Statista, by 2030, there will be 4 million EVs in California, alone. Range anxiety could soon be a forgotten relic
To address that ubiquitous fear, Ford has made a 1.5 billion investment in electrification through 2022, which includes a fully-electric F-150 in a couple years. According to Ford, their charging network will soon amount to 13,500 stations, the largest of any automaker, and their rechargers should (hopefully) be capable of providing 61 miles in 10 minutes.
As for the Mustang Mach-E, itself, they’re targeting a 300-mile range, though CNET Roadshow recently reported that the rear-wheel-drive Mach-E with the Extended Range 98.8 kWh battery pack option may come up a tad short at around 288 miles per charge.
288 miles would still cover the average commute – and then some – but for many automakers promising an EV range in the neighborhood of 300 miles, it’s still mostly theoretical.
The Mach-E should be able to go 0-60 mph in around 3 seconds, and unlike normal Mustangs, it’ll have a spacious interior.
Ford’s already dropped the Mach-E’s price, with the base model starting at $43,995, and the vehicle releasing on a rolling schedule beginning at the end of this year. So while $40K isn’t exactly everyone’s idea of “affordable,” it’s not too bad for an electric SUV that should get up to 300 miles per charge. Maybe.