Transition: Iconic Mustang Coupe to the Mustang Mach-E
In 2019 Ford announced the name of its all-new, all-electric crossover would be the Mustang Mach-E. It is an understatement that the Mustang community was not pleased. How dare Ford besmirch the good Mustang name by calling a SUV, powered by electricity no less, a Mustang? The uproar was strong at first, but has since softened as Mustang aficionados have come to realize the Mach-E is truly a horse of a different color.
In our First Timer series we speak with people who purchased their first electric, plug-in hybrid electric or hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle. Recently we met up with a long time Mustang owner who took the electric leap and bought a 2021 Mustang Mach-E.
Our Mach-E owner, Brett, is the CEO of a software company that works with the construction industry. Married and with two college age kids at home, he was looking for a cutting-edge crossover that could comfortably seat four adults. His shopping and purchasing story is modern and progressive, and will become a common experience.
Clean Fleet Report: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Brett: We live in South Orange County, California, and my daily round trip commute of 40 miles is nearly all freeway driving.
CFR: You like cars? Tell us about some you have owned.
I have always been a gearhead, and my vehicles have just about all been V8s. I love speed, I love power. I have owned a lot of Mustangs, including several 1969s, a 1973, and in 1982 I got a 5.0L. To get better fuel economy during the oil crisis I owned a Mustang II with a V6, but it really wasn’t all that bad. Just before getting the Mach-E, I owned a Jeep Cherokee SRT with 475 horsepower, which was a blast!
CFR: Tell us about your research and shopping experience.
Brett: As the Cherokee SRT was hitting 100,000 miles, I began thinking of getting a new car. Since I was a Mustang guy, I had heard and read about the Mach-E and I thought, what the heck, I’ll give it a shot. As I was driving down the freeway, I passed the Ford dealer in San Juan Capistrano and saw a white Mach-E. I stopped in for a test drive, but this was during COVID which meant a sales person could not be with me in the car. So after signing a waiver, to my surprise they handed me the keys and I drove it. Alone.
From that first test drive I was sold, but I needed to find an all-wheel drive. I waited about a month before going to another dealer who had an all-wheel drive, and when I drove it, that is when it was over. I said okay, this is what I am going to get because the car was so tight and the all-wheel drive handled great.
I researched all the electric vehicles that are out there, and those that are coming. I love cars, and I looked into everything. At the end of the day I love how unique the Mach-E is, because in California Teslas are everywhere. I just like unique. To me, there was nothing so different or iconic looking than the Mach-E.
CFR: How was the purchase process. Did you go with the second dealer where you drove the all-wheel drive?
Brett: Interesting story there. I went onto Ford’s website and reserved a Mach-E GT, but then found out the GT does not have the all-glass roof. I then ordered a red, all-wheel drive Mach-E Premium. Once you do this dealers will start calling, but none of them had a red all-wheel drive in stock, or any idea when they would. Then a dealer from North San Diego County called and said they had what I was looking for, but it was a demo. I told them I would take it when they were getting rid of it, and they said: “Really?”, and I said “Yes!” Not long after that it was delivered to my house, I checked it out, and took a drive.
All the paperwork was on-line, then Docusign everything. I never went into the dealership, and the only paper she gave me were the temporary plates. For me it was fantastic and a beautiful experience, and I thought that finally, finally, finally, the automotive industry was forced to go digital (because of the pandemic), and it made for a great buying experience. Also, even though it was a used car, I got the full warranty as if it was new.
CFR: What, if any, contact post-purchase have you had from the dealer or Ford?
Brett: I received a call from the dealer checking in, which was nice. The rest has been from Ford. With all the Mustangs I have purchased over the years, I have never had this level of connection with Ford. I feel appreciated by Ford, which now has a direct relationship with me. The Mustang brand is important to Ford, and I will be real interested to see, at the end of my three-year lease, who contacts me first–Ford or the dealer.
CFR: What drew you to the Mach-E?
Brett: I couldn’t do a sedan again, and having owned four Grand Cherokees I was comfortable with an SUV. Even though the Mach-E roof height is five inches lower, and the car is about six inches shorter, it has the same width as the Grand Cherokee, so it was pretty darn close for me. There is good rear leg room and the car is comfortable. I was intrigued by the electricity, and the Mach-E had the range I was looking for.
A 250-mile driving range was my minimum requirement. I knew I wanted a SUV, and it had to not look like everything else out there.
Ford says the Mach-E can go 265 miles, but recently I got 270-275 miles. I drive 40 miles daily and initially treated it like a cell phone, charging it every night at home. I now do it every three days when it hits 60- to 70-percent. The Mach-E comes with a 32 amp charging cord, which the dealer didn’t mention to me. With this cord all I did was have an electrician install a 14-50 receptacle–and BAM!–you are charging at Level 2 speeds at home. I consider this to be a gas station in my house, charging from 10pm to 6am. I get a full charge overnight.
My first long trip was to Phoenix with one charge each way. I was nervous as I watched the range and battery gauges drop, but it exceeded the estimated range. Other long trips have been to Tecate, Mexico, and Santa Barbara, with no charging or range issues.
CFR: Let’s talk about your experience driving the Mach-E. Since this was your first electrically powered car, and you had never previously driven any electric car, what are your impressions?
Brett: The first thing is the lack of engine noise. Being an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) guy, the lack of the rumble–which I just love–was interesting. My impression was it was cool, and I didn’t expect that much torque. You hear and read about it, but you really don’t realize how much torque it has, at any speed. The all-wheel drive feels great on the road.
The performance of the Mach-E is all about the instantaneous torque. It’s amazing. Even with my SRT, it didn’t have this much torque at every speed because you had to wait for the transmission to downshift. But the greatest thing about an EV is the acceleration, and deceleration. You get up to speed so fast, but then you slow down so quickly and smoothly with just the motor, as opposed to an ICE car where you are constantly on the gas pedal and then on the brake pedal. I just love the feel of the EV, especially the one-pedal driving.
As far as performance, it is quite remarkable that my Mustang 428 Super Cobra Jet could barely break 0-60 in six seconds, while my Mach-E is 0-60 in 4.8 seconds.
CFR: Do you have any closing thoughts on owning a Mach-E? And when you come off the three-year lease, would you consider a Mach-E again?
Brett: It is going to be a blast (researching electric cars) in two years when I get to do this again. We know the driving range is only going to get better and better in the next couple years, so first it will be how does it drive, and it has to look cool.
I would consider the Mach-E again, but there is going to be a variety of vehicles, more than now, to look at. For me, I think the most exciting thing coming will be the Ford F-150 Lightning and Chevrolet Silverado electric pickups. I am anxious to see what Jeep has, and what Ford does with the Bronco in two years.
Conversations with friends and family have been interesting. They aren’t surprised to a certain degree, but they say: “Geez, you are a V8 guy, what are you doing?” It is fascinating how many guys 50+ are in awe that this Mustang is all-electric. What’s interesting, though, are the hard core Mustang guys, as half of them can’t accept the Mach-E is a Mustang. They mention the V8 thing, but it is more their passion behind the Mustang. They are a funny crowd.
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Story and photos by John Faulkner
Our Thoughts on the Mach-E
Road Trip: 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E
Road Test: 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E
Flash Drive: 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E