Ford’s new EV has a long arduous road ahead

In unveiling the new Mustang Mach-E, Ford has booked a seat in the same electric car club that’s nowadays frequented by the leading big-name automakers: Tesla, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Jaguar, and Porsche. Admittedly, the Blue Oval did arrive a tad late to the party. Now, threatened by the risk of falling behind its rivals that were already building and selling electric cars, Ford needed to come up with a quick and cost-effective solution that would allow it to launch it’s first serious electric car as soon as possible. The savior was none other than Ford’s iconic Mustang nameplate and, as exciting as that might sound, it will hold no weight in the model’s success (or failure).

What Does the Mach Name Mean to You?

Ford Has Officially Confirmed the Mustang Mach-E Name For its New Electric SUV
- image 871807

Ford brought back the old Mach nameplate and associated it once again with the still-marching-on Mustang badge for its first mean-business electric car and that’s how we get to talk about the Mustang Mach-E. But before we get to the gist of it, close your eyes and think of Ford. What are the first three cars that spring to mind? For us, one of them is the Mustang and we’re pretty sure that same applies to the gearhead community as well. Perhaps our kids will have a different perception of the word now that Ford has decided to slap it on its all-electric crossover, but we must not get ahead of ourselves - the general appeal and interest generated by the moniker are not enough to guarantee that the Mustang Mach-E will have a profitable career.

The Mustang Mach-E project was rushed to its birth

Don't just expect the 2021 Mustang Mach-E to be a success based on its name Exterior
- image 871935

There’s not much to say about Ford’s decision to morph the Mustang body into a crossover shape. That’s the sort of body type that sells these days, so there’s nothing to debate here.

The thing is that using the Mustang nameplate (now well-established in Europe as well) mixed in with the hunchback allure, Ford went for a tight-knit formula that would help its marketing efforts in the long term

. But in reality, the Mustang Mach-E was brought to life in a relatively short timeframe. Now, what company was criticized in the past for churning out EVs that had obvious build quality issues? Oh, right, that’s Tesla.

Don't just expect the 2021 Mustang Mach-E to be a success based on its name Exterior
- image 871946
Ford’s top management gave the greenlight for the Mach-E in 2017, so from there to the launch event we just witnessed, the carmaker had two years to come up with a competent product.

As you can imagine, everything at Ford was go, go, go. Wired reports that the Blue Oval managed to streamline every process, including design, to the extreme. In doing that, Ford almost dropped the customary clay models to rely heavily on CAD (computer-assisted design) and according to design manager Chris Walter, “we [the designers] would pop in sketches on Monday, choose the one we wanted on Tuesday, built the CAD model on Wednesday, mill it on Thursday, then present it on Friday.

Don't just expect the 2021 Mustang Mach-E to be a success based on its name Exterior
- image 871948

What’s more, according to Electrek, the “new” Ford led by James Patrick Hackett also stands for “reduced meetings, approval times, and general bureaucracy, something that would have taken twice as long.” Cutting down on those productivity-killing habits is one thing, but rushing every other aspect of a car’s development process is another.

Don't just expect the 2021 Mustang Mach-E to be a success based on its name Exterior
- image 871932
So while Ford was indeed able to launch the Mustang Mach-E just in time to affirm its relevance in the EV game, there is no guarantee that it won’t suffer from repercussions that might affect the vehicle’s overall build quality.

We definitely don’t want it to happen now that Ford’s bringing the big guns to the electric battle (and is pointing them at Tesla), but it’s something we’ll have to keep tabs on. After all, a recall is not what Ford wants or needs because it will not only slow down the burst we’re witnessing now but also damage the company’s credibility. That of the Mustang name, too.

How will Ford market the Mustang Mach-E?

Don't just expect the 2021 Mustang Mach-E to be a success based on its name Exterior
- image 871939
Mach-E marketing is a make-it-or-break-it aspect because the legendary nameplate and high-appeal body aside, the Mach-E isn’t the only electric car out there.

And of those carmakers that are already out there with at least one EV on the market, Tesla (who else, after all?) has been Ford’s benchmark for the Mach-E. And even if Ford has been battling Elon Musk on other fronts, directly or indirectly - by pouring money into Rivian and working hard to create the first-ever F-150 truck powered solely by electricity -

the Mach-E arrives just in time to also throw the gauntlet to the Tesla Model Y, signalling that the Ford-Tesla rivalry is heating up.
left right

There’s even a lot of Tesla influence baked in the Ford Mach-E. The OTA updates, the portrait-oriented multimedia screen, the way you’ll pay for recharging, and even the price tag. So far, the Mach-E looks like the most practical of the EV bunch according to the cold numbers, but that’s not a paramount requirement these days. Not when Tesla has taught fans and customers that you can get blitzing acceleration from an EV and still use it to take your kids to school without them throwing up. This and the fact that Ford is aiming for the stars (the stars being Tesla) speaks a lot about the latter and how it has managed to set the pace and singlehandedly pull the whole industry towards its electric future. OK, maybe pull is too big of a word, but it certainly provided the needed jolt to get things moving.

Coming back to the initial point, Ford needed an EV solution and it needed it fast, so it got inspired by one of the top dogs. If the recipe will work (or not) is something we’ll have to wait and see in the coming years. The Ford Mustang Mach-E won’t go on sale earlier than 2020, and it will need at least one year to stretch its legs and start generating an income.

Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read More
About the author

Related Articles

Ford Hopes That Fake V-8 Engine Noise Will Help You Forget that the Mach-E Isn’t Really a Mustang

The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Just Introduced the Ford Sync 4 Infotainment System

Mustang Expert and Historian Starts a Petition to Change The Mustang Mach-E’s Name

Ford Is Limiting the Mustang Mach-E Production in the First Year, But It Won’t Sell That Many Anyway

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

2021 How Does the 2020 Ford Mustang Mach-E Compare to Its Main Competition?

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: