Ford Mustang Mach-E to gain new features with wireless updates

Electric SUV will be continuously enhanced after purchase through ‘virtually invisible’ over-the-air software updates.

Ford has detailed a new over-the-air update system that will continue to enhance its Mach-E electric crossover over the course of its life.

The wireless software tweaks can be made anywhere and are said to be ‘virtually invisible’ to Mach-E owners, taking less than two minutes in some cases. Complex updates that require more downtime can be scheduled for a convenient time, such as the middle of the night.

Ford expects the first round of over-the-air updates will be rolled out to Mach E owners within six months from the first customer deliveries. Owners will be notified of the available update, which can then be activated using a Wi-Fi or celluar connection.

The entry-level standard-range rear-wheel drive Mach-E is priced from $75,000 in Europe. Ford Australia is yet to confirm the Mach E but pricing near to Europe will put it in the ballpark with Tesla Model 3.

The base model promises a “target range” of 340km from its 76kWh battery and puts out 189kW. The extended-range version is almost $20,000 extra and has a 99kWh battery pack for a 482km quoted range and a power output of 209kW.

The all-wheel-drive model starts from $85,000. With the 76kWh battery, its quoted range is reduced to 418km. The extended-range four-wheel-drive version starts from over $100,000 with a 539km quoted range and a power boost to 248kW.

 

The Mach-E is Ford’s first volume-production battery electric vehicle and the flagship for the launch of 18 mild- and full-hybrid new models scheduled for launch by the end of 2021.

The Tesla Model Y rival is the first production car to emerge from Ford’s Team Edison, a 70-strong Detroit group tasked with designing the firm’s next-generation EVs. At launch. the range-topping version will produce 247kW, with a full GT model making around 342kW due at a later date.

Murat Gueler, Ford’s Europe design chief, said the aim was to create “something special that stands out from the crowd”, describing the new machine as “an EV with soul”.

The new electric car has taken the Mustang title as the first step in expanding the nameplate into a full model line. The Mach-E moniker is inspired by the Mach 1 variant of the first-gen Mustang.

The Mach-E order book is understood to be “healthy” and buyers who have expressed an interest will be locked into deals during the middle of this year, with many expected to be on the list for the high-spec First Edition models, limited to 10,000 units globally.

Ford’s electrification drive includes Fiesta, Puma and Focus Ecoboost hybrid models, plus Kuga, Transit Custom and Tourneo Custom Ecoblue models. Most efficient is the Kuga plug-in hybrid, claimed to emit 26g/km of CO2 on the outgoing NEDC cycle.

The styling strongly links the EV to the regular Mustang, reflected in features such as the badge and front and rear lights, as well as several lines along the bodywork. Gueler said: “The approach was to put this car in a unique spot: only Ford can do Mustang. In the next few years, there will be hundreds of EV nameplates, but with Mustang, we can load up with emotion and drama.”

The car lacks conventional door handles, instead featuring buttons that pop open the doors and small holds protruding from the front doors. Owners can use their smartphones as keys, or use a keypad built into the B-pillar.

The Mustang Mach-E sports a more radical interior, with a wide dashboard featuring a Mustang ‘double cowl’ and built-in soundbar. The dash is dominated by a Tesla-style vertically mounted 15.5-inch touchscreen with a rotary dial fixed onto it using special glue. Many of the car’s systems are controlled through the screen, which uses a new Sync 4 operating system that can accept over-the-air updates. There is also a 10.2-inch digital cluster for the driver, while the steering wheel retains a number of physical controls.

The Mustang Mach-E sits on a new Ford EV platform called Global Electrified 2, or GE2 – an extensively reworked version of the C2 architecture used for the latest Focus and Kuga. Gueler said designers had input into setting the platform’s dimensions, both to set the wheelbase and to enable the extended bonnet, which is long for an EV but considered an iconic Mustang design feature.

The model will initially be launched with two battery pack sizes and three power outputs. The entry-level version will feature a single motor driving the rear wheels, with either a 75kWh battery and 189kW motor or a 99kWh battery and 213kW motor. Both produce 416Nm, with a claimed 0-100km/h time of under eight seconds and WLTP range of around 465 and 600 kilometres respectively.

The twin-motor all-wheel-drive version is offered with a 75kWh battery and 189kW, or 99kWh and 247kW. Both versions provide 582Nm and a sub-seven-second 0-100km/h time, with estimated ranges of 420 and 540 kilometres. Charging is available through an AC home charger or via DC fast chargers at up to 150kW.

The car is 4712mm long, 1881mm wide and 1597mm high, placing it between the Jaguar I-Pace and Mercedes-Benz EQC. Kerb weights range from 1993kg to more than 2218kg and all models will have a governed top speed of 180km/h.

Claimed boot volume is 402 litres and there’s a 100-litre waterproof front luggage bay.

Ford hasn’t given a full range of performance figures yet, but Team Edison’s Dorit Haas said it was “meant to be like a sports car”. She added: “This is a performance EV. Not just in a straight line, but in terms of handling and agility – the ride is very important.”

The rear-wheel-drive models will sit on 18in wheels, with 19in wheels for all-wheel-drive versions. Twin-motor machines gain adaptive LED headlights and red brake calipers, while limited-edition First Edition models also get a panoramic roof.

The Mustang Mach-E is being built in Mexico and is available to order now and will be sold exclusively online.

Julian Rendell

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