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All against Tesla, part 11: Ford rival Mustang Mach-E becomes the first show-off electric car

So far, Ford has mainly made pithy sayings when it comes to electric cars: Tesla was dealing with the “ultimate disruptor”, warned the then CEO in summer 2019 with a view to Ford’s history, and at the beginning of November his successor declared the first real one Competition for the pioneer will come from within. In any case, the car with which Ford wants to break into Tesla terrain will soon be coming onto the market: the Mustang Mach-E. At an event in Hamburg, teslamag.de already had the opportunity to take it for a test ride.

Ford electric car with a lot of “emotion”

In the USA, probably more effectively than in this country, Ford wants to build on the tradition of its classic pony car with the Mustang Mach-E without the electric trailer. But that requires an optical balancing act: The original Mustang was sporty and low, the electric one, on the other hand, is high like a Tesla Model Y. That is probably due partly to the current mass taste and partly to the battery in the underbody. To hide it, Ford puts a color-contrasting elevation on a low tapering coupe roofline, which doesn’t even work badly. One consequence, however, is that you don’t quite know what kind of car you have in front of you with the Mustang Mach-E.

Whether sky blue (or “Atoll Blue Metallic”) is the right color for a sporty future car like several of the E-Mustangs in Hamburg is another question. In any case, this electric car should not just drive, and even up to 610 WLTP kilometers thanks to a battery with up to 99 kilowatt hours, but rather arouse “emotions”. The competent looking Ford employee at the wheel never got tired of emphasizing this.

Because with a special offer instead of pure utility you can make better money with electric cars, explained the driver. In fact, unlike other electric successors like Volkswagen, the prices for the Mustang Mach-E are courageously at Tesla level. The Ford is available from 46,900 euros, Tesla wants at least 46,400 euros for the Model 3. The Mach-E then has a significantly larger battery (75.7 kWh compared to around 55 kWh for the smallest Model 3), but with 440 kilometers it only provides about 10 kilometers more WLTP range.

A sense of space tighter than with Tesla

On the way we were in Hamburg in a fully equipped First Edition for 67,900 euros. That, in turn, is around 10,000 euros more than the Tesla Model Y and on the level of its much faster performance variant. The range of the Ford with 99 kilowatt hours of battery instead of around 75 kilowatt hours of the Tesla is, according to the current information, noticeably higher at 610 kilometers compared to 505 kilometers. But the Mustang legacy should be a sporty one, and with at best 5.8 seconds from 0-100 km / h, the “emotional” Mach-E is inferior to even the smallest Tesla Model 3.

But it was actually designed to be sporty, and a few details show that Ford took more time to think than Tesla – sometimes only to solve problems it caused itself. In the Mach-E, for example, a front camera can be switched to the screen that shows the area directly in front of the vehicle. At Tesla there is a blind spot there, and the autopilot has so far kept the images from the front to itself anyway. But with the electric car Ford, the artificial look ahead is also more urgently needed. Because you sit in the relatively high crossover in a sporty, deep seat and look not only at the road, but also to a large extent at the mighty front hood with two traditional Mustang hoods.

Of course, that is no longer needed today, admits the Ford driver – but you know the emotions. For us, rather negative feelings also aroused the feeling of sitting under a low roof: Despite the panorama glass, the space perception in the Ford was much narrower than in the Tesla Model 3 and even more so in the large Model X. In the Ford cockpit it remains despite a lot new display controls also conventionally linked. Perhaps another typical difference to Tesla: Like other electric cars from traditional manufacturers, the Ford also has an option for artificial engine sound in the interior. She did not allow herself to be heard because the software was still on a pre-production stand in Hamburg in mid-October, as the demonstrator explained.

Mustang Mach-E as a show-off electric car

Unlike the moderate acceleration for a sporty electric car, these are likely to have been deliberate design decisions that may find their fans. But we didn’t like them either, perhaps spoiled by Tesla. The companion during the test urgently points out that the synthetic leather seats in the electric Ford are “very comfortable, soft and pleasant”. But we also have something to complain about: They have decorative stitching, of which the Ford employee could even tell which color is reserved for which variant. But we didn’t notice that because we found the idea basically superfluous.

In terms of range, the Ford Mustang Mach-E is certainly no nakedness with a start just above Tesla level and more. But otherwise the design seems to follow the principle of more appearance than reality, which makes the Mustang a show-off electric car for us – after all, perhaps the first in the world. Ford CEO Jim Farley recently described it as “Tesla’s first real competitor”. The main reason he cited was that a Tesla is not a Mustang. That’s probably true, but is it really an argument for the Ford?

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