Ford Mustang Mach-E: What can Ford's first true electric serve?

Ford Mustang Mach-E: What can Ford's first true electric serve?

After two half-hearted and consequently unsuccessful attempts with the Focus electric, Ford has launched the Mustang Mach-E, its first electric model with which the Americans are really serious. Our practical test shows where the strengths and weaknesses of the E-SUV lie.

But first: Yes, the name. The designation of the vehicle as a Mustang is polarizing. Ford has simply decided to electrify its three strongest global brand names first - the Transit, the F-150 and the Mustang. But because of the global market opportunities, the Mustang is not a coupe in the style of a pony car, but an SUV with some Mustang design borrowings. Some will like it, others will reject it for exactly that reason.

In the end, the decision to buy a car should not be made on the basis of an (unfortunate or ingenious, depending on your point of view) marketing gambit, but, especially in the case of an electric car, should also be made dependent on whether the technical data and functions fit your own mobility needs - and that's what this is all about.

At 4.71 meters, the vehicle initially appears quite bulky, which is also due to the flared wheel arches and the relatively long front hood for an electric car on a pure BEV platform. The hood is also crisscrossed by several beads and edges, which is probably intended to remind us of the classic Mustang with a large V8 engine. Even if a more or less conspicuous Mustang logo is placed on the suggested grille at the front, depending on the paint scheme, the Mustang borrowing is particularly clear at the rear: the taillights, each consisting of three vertical bars, are clearly reminiscent of the namesake.

For our test Ford has provided a Mustang Mach-E 4 X in "Dark-Matter Grey" metallic - thus the top model with all-wheel drive and large "Extended Range" battery. As is generally known, Ford offers five variants in Europe: The small battery ("Standard Range") and the large battery are each available with rear- and all-wheel drive, plus the more powerful GT, which also uses the large battery.

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In the case of our test car, this means a 99 kWh battery, of which 88 kWh can be used. The cells come from LG Energy Solution in Poland (the same plant that supplies Audi and Mercedes, among others), but the vehicle is built in Mexico. Despite an output of 258 kW and a torque of 580 Nm, up to 540 kilometres should be possible in the combined cycle according to the WLTP standard. All versions of the Mustang Mach-E drive at a maximum speed of 180 km/h, the test car can accelerate to 100 km/h in 5.8 seconds according to the data sheet. With 7.0 seconds, the slowest version (large battery, rear-wheel drive) is not much faster - but the WLTP range here is up to 610 kilometres.

With its drive, the Mustang Mach-E was able to convince in our two-week practical test with two exceptions. The power delivery is smooth or very snappy depending on the selected driving mode, but always remains well controllable. A small, depending on the view of the Mustang complex nice detail: The driver does not choose here between Eco, Comfort and Sport, but drives a "tame", "active" or "spirited" Mustang - the function is of course the same whether Sport or "spirited" is on the display. But: Via the app, the user can configure in which driving mode the car should start by default - so it does not have to be selected every time you start driving.

The consumption was particularly convincing: on average the on-board computer showed 17.0 kWh/100km at the end of the test (whereby it does not display any decimal places), the WLTP consumption including charging losses is 18.7 kWh/100km for this engine. On a lap over country roads and through villages it was even only 15 kWh/100km. For comparison: the smaller and significantly weaker Mazda MX-30 came to a consumption of 13.9 kWh/100km on the same route under comparable conditions.

During a commuter trip with some city and motorways in the rush hour traffic it was 16 kWh/100km according to the on-board computer. And even during the faster motorway trip with (if possible) guideline speed it was 21 kWh/100km on average. Even up to the maximum speed of 180 km/h limited by software the propulsion only slightly decreases, the Mustang Mach-E doesn't run out of breath here. However, despite the acoustic glazing it then gets a bit louder in the vehicle and the consumption naturally increases. The driving behaviour remains sovereign at any time - the low centre of gravity of the still 2.25 tonne car and the wheelbase of 2.98 metres help here.

Of course, if you regularly drive longer distances at 150 km/h or use the acceleration out of the bends on country roads (more on this in a moment), you will of course have higher fuel consumption.

According to factory specifications, the Mustang Mach-E is charged with up to 150 kW DC. Our test indicates an improved charging curve: the car only reaches the peak of 160.6 kW for a short time after the start of charging (regardless of whether the charge level starts at five or 35 percent), but even at 50 percent SoC (State of Charge) the test car still recorded over 108 kW, at 60 percent 104 kW, before it reached double digits at 65 percent. According to the charging curve determined by Fastned, the Mustang Mach-E already fell below the 100 kW mark at 30 percent SoC. The factory specification of 45 minutes for the 10-80 percent charging window seems realistic.

From 80 percent charge level, the charging performance collapses

However, the Ford has retained one trait even with the improved charging curve: at 80 percent charge, DC charging drops precipitously - from 77.4 kW at 79 percent to 14.2 kW. This AC-level pace is maintained by the Mustang Mach-E. For customers who do a lot of long-distance driving or who don't have a secure AC charging spot at home or at work, that means they can't reasonably use about one-fifth of the battery.

A decreasing charging power with increasing charge level is normal, but this is extreme. A Mercedes EQA with a much smaller battery still charges with more than 60 kW at 90 percent SoC. In the Audi e-tron quattro with a battery of comparable size to the Ford, it is just under 80 kW at 90 percent. This means that the customer can stop at a fast charger beyond the 80 percent if necessary - because one is dependent on the few percent more until the destination or the break is unexpectedly longer. With the Mustang Mach-E, on the other hand, every minute above 80 percent is virtually lost. Here, charging is only worthwhile with the 11 kW AC charger. It must also be mentioned, however, that the Ford with 80 percent in the battery still displayed 403 kilometers of range in our test consumption - that should fit most trips.