Ford has increased the towing capacity of the Mustang Mach-E and lowered its charging time significantly for customers in Europe. Both are good news for EV advocates. When I took my Tesla to an Earth Day event last month to talk to people about electric cars, two of the most frequently asked questions were a.) how long does it take to charge and b.) can you tow a trailer with an electric car? It was frustrating to tell people, “It depends,” because they wanted simple answers to complex questions.
The EV Charging Experience
In general, the battery in an electric car will charge more quickly when it is close to being fully depleted. Charging speeds tend to slow down as the battery’s state of charge passes 50% and get downright pokey when it hits the 80% SOC mark. Ambient temperature can play a role, also. A cold battery does not charge as quickly as a warm battery.
Charging times also vary by the voltage and amperage of the charger being used. With a 120 volt wall outlet, an electric car like a Tesla can only add about 3 miles for every hour it is plugged in. Try telling someone it can take days to fully charge a battery. Their eyes glaze over and they lose interest in an EV altogether.
Level 2 charging using a 240 volt circuit is much faster, but can still take half a day to charge a Tesla battery from 15% 95% if you are planning a road trip. That’s not really a problem if your car will be sitting idle from 6 in the evening until 6 the next morning, but it’s still not what most people want to hear.
Even DC fast charging times can vary a whole lot depending on the power of the charging equipment. I remember the first time I plugged in my Tesla to a Supercharger it started charging at over 200 kW and I thought, “Well, this won’t take any time at all!” but once the battery got to 80% SOC, the whole process slowed to a crawl.
Until recently, people who owned a Mustang Mach-E found it took 52 minutes to go from 80% SOC to 90% SOC. Ouch! That’s a seriously long time. But now Ford says it has reduced that time to just 15 minutes for cars sold to European drivers, thanks to an over-the-air update. The update also includes a recalibration of the one pedal driving feature for even smoother performance at lower speeds and enhancements to driver comfort, Ford said in a press release.
Towing With A Mustang Mach-E
Previously, the towing capacity of the Mustang Mach E was 750 kg (1650 lb). Good, but not great. Now Ford says it has increased the tow rating for all Mach-Es equipped with the extended range battery — whether rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive — to 1000 kg (2200 lb). That’s enough to tow a modest sized fishing boat, the company says, and backs that up by showing a picture of a Mustang Mach-E towing just such a boat. In comparison, the Tesla Mode Y has a towing capacity of 3500 lb.
“The towing upgrade for Mustang Mach-E is one of a number of free updates we’re continuing to make in hardware and software or through homologation to give owners the best experience possible,” says This Woelpern, general manager of imports for Ford of Europe. “With towing in particular, it was a great example of us responding to customer queries, where we checked the feasibility of an increase and were able to deliver what they wanted.” Ford is delighted the Mach-E appeals to so many European drivers who might not otherwise consider a Ford product.
Of the two improvements announced by Ford this week, the reduction in the time it takes to charge a Mustang Mach-E from 80% to 90% is the most significant. As people gain experience with driving an electric car, they are finding that range is not as much of a limiting factor as they feared. Most of us don’t drive more than 50 miles or so every day and can do all the charging necessary at home overnight while our cars are sitting idle in the driveway or garage. Plugging them in only takes a few seconds and is only necessary once or twice a week.
But when traveling longer distances, charging quickly is of paramount importance. Yes, it’s less stressful to stop every 3 to 4 hours for a bathroom break and to stretch our legs, but we still want to get back on the road and continue our journey fairly quickly. Towing a ski boat is nice, but faster charging is what will really make electric cars appealing to more drivers.
There is no word officially whether these updates apply to cars for the North American market, but it seems logical to assume the same updates applicable to export models will apply to domestic models as well. When we know more, you will know more.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Latest CleanTechnica TV Video
CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.