Ford Slides 2024 Mustang Mach-E Electric Car Into Gap Left By Tesla

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Electric car fans all over the world were on edge late last year and into 2024, when demand for EVs appeared to slump. More recently, news of a dive in sales for industry leader Tesla has dominated the headlines while other automakers appear to be doing okay. Apparently, Ford has spotted an angle, because it has been laying plans to juice interest in the Mach-E by appealing to drivers who enjoy the feel of driving, rather than watching their car drive itself.

The Rise And Fall Of The Mustang Mach-E Electric Car …

When Ford unveiled the Mustang Mach-E in 2019 to much fanfare, the electric car was going to be one of a trio of experiments in zero emission mobility based on iconic Ford gas-powered vehicles. The other two were electric versions of the F-150 pickup truck and the Transit delivery van.

The E-Transit van has been doing reasonably well, including a thumbs-up from the US Postal Service for its mail delivery electrification plans. The F-150 Lightning and the Mustang Mach-E have had their ups and downs. Earlier this year, reports surfaced that Ford was cutting back production of the Lightning. In February, Bloomberg also noted that Mach-E electric car sales tumbled earlier this year after a key tax credit expired, and price cuts were aimed at softening the blow. The Detroit Free Press also reported that Ford cut prices on the 2023 Mach-E in an effort to keep up with the price cuts over at Tesla.

Nevertheless, on February 20, Free Press reporter Phoebe Wall Howard took note of the Mach-E’s momentum among drivers. “The Mach-E is second to Tesla in U.S. electric vehicle sales,” noted reporter Phoebe Wall Howard. Citing Ford US sales analyst Erich Merkel, Howard also observed that “Ford has sold 108,667 Mach-E SUVs in the U.S. since its launch in December 2020 through January 2024.

“During the last three months of 2023, Mach-E saw its best sales quarter since it was introduced with nearly 12,000 vehicles, according to Cox Automotive,” Howard added.

… And The Rise Again

Much has happened in the handful of weeks since February in regards to sales of Tesla’s lineup. In the latest development on the Ford side, the company’s press office emailed CleanTechnica to make sure we knew about the opening of online orders for the 2024 Mach-E.

“Today, we’re announcing that the 2024 Mustang Mach-E lineup is now available to order online delivering more performance, more range, and faster charge times than any previous Mustang Mach-E model,” Ford wrote.

The company also let slip some details about performance, noting that “the 2024 Mustang Mach-E hits 0–60 in 3.3 seconds (faster than both Tesla Model Y and Porsche Macan 4 Electric) and quarter mile in 11.8 seconds at 114 mph, when equipped with the new Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Upgrade.

“The Performance Upgrade comes standard on the new Mustang Mach-E Rally edition and is an available upgrade for the 2024 Mustang Mach-E GT,” they explained. They also provided a link to a YouTube video, which you can see here.

An Electric Car For Drivers, Not Watchers

So, here’s where it gets interesting. One of the key elements contributing to the mystique of the Tesla brand is the promise of a fully autonomous electric car. So far, the self-driving promise has failed to materialize in full, but many fans of the company have enjoyed testing out its capabilities under various conditions, with various degrees of success.

Ford has gone in the opposite direction with the Mustang Mach-E, to emphasize the hands-on driver experience. A hint of things to come appeared last September, when the company finally removed the camouflage from the much-anticipated Mustang Mach-E Rally electric car.

“We have always explored new areas of performance, and the combination of a rally-tuned suspension, dual motor electric powertrain, and wicked styling makes the Mustang Mach‑E Rally a different kind of performance vehicle that will excite customers chasing their next adventure,” explained Donna Dickson, the Chief Engineer of the Mustang Mach-E line, in a press statement.

“Mustang Mach-E Rally 1 is electric vehicle technology applied to an entirely untapped white space, expanding the Mustang Mach-E family,” added Ford. Emphasizing the handling throughout, Ford cited the “first-ever RallySport Drive Mode 6 from Ford, which is designed for off-road driving and adapts electronic control systems to allow bigger slides, a linear throttle response for better control, and more aggressive damping for better handling in loose corners.”

What Do Electric Car Drivers Really Want?

As for the rest of the Mach-E lineup, Dickson pulled the pieces together in a press statement on April 9, timed to the opening of 2024 Mach-E orders.

“As the Chief Engineer of the Mustang Mach-E® SUV, a major part of my role is understanding what our customers really want and need,” she wrote.

“My team and I spend a lot of time thinking about what will excite our customers so we can build EVs that they’ll truly love,” she Dickson. added. “For 2024, we’re taking everything our customers love about Mustang Mach-E and incorporating that feedback into the vehicle.”

In addition to longer range and faster charging speeds, Dickson emphasized that the Performance Upgrade for 2024 is aimed at “capturing the thrill of driving with mountains of electric torque.”

“The new rear eMotor, developed in-house by Ford engineers, that debuts on all trim levels of the new Mustang Mach-E, weighs less and helps to deliver improved torque across the 2024 line up,” she added.

Conspicuously absent from the public relations push is any mention of the car behaving autonomously, though the Mach-E line in fact does sport Ford’s new “BlueCruise” hands-free feature. Consumer Reports reviewed BlueCruise last fall and described it as an advanced form of cruise control or “active driving assistance” system to control speed and lane centering. The system is only activated for use on designated limited-access highways, where complications like traffic signals and pedestrians are absent.

The absence of “self-driving” language in Ford’s publicity materials reflects the insights of Consumer Reports senior director of auto testing Jake Fisher, who noted the difference between self-driving and assisted driving.

“Systems like BlueCruise are an important advancement that can help make driving easier and less stressful,” he explained. “But they don’t make a car self-driving at all. Instead, they create a new way of collaboratively driving with the computers in your car.”

“When automakers do it the right way, it can make driving safer and more convenient. When they do it the wrong way, it can be dangerous,” he warned.

For the record, Consumer Reports gave BlueCruise its top ranking for active driving assistance, followed Cadillac’s Super Cruise and Mercedes-Benz’s Driver Assistance.

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Image: New 2024 Ford Mach-E Rally electric car courtesy of Ford.

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Tina Casey

Tina specializes in advanced energy technology, military sustainability, emerging materials, biofuels, ESG and related policy and political matters. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on LinkedIn, Threads, or Bluesky.

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