It was a futuristic-looking idea that Ford executives were persuaded that they wouldn’t sell until all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E was a part of the Mustang family. The construction of the would-be all-electric vehicle became an impasse for management, with tall rooflines and a forgettable profile. Engineers were sent back to the drawing board to create something more iconic, but for a moment, there was nothing Mustang about it.
In May 2017, the project began. The Mustang Mach-E had already been in production for some time, according to the Detroit Free Press, and its original intent was not to create a brand symbol, but rather to create a vehicle that simply helped meet government-mandated fuel economy goals. But once Ford executives got a look at what designers had been up to, it would all change.
Jim Farley, who was not yet the CEO of Ford when the initial concept was announced, quickly found a design problem. “When I first saw it … I said, ‘Oh, boy. Houston, we have a problem.'” When I first saw it, he went on to call the whole package “a science project,” and sent the engineers back to the drawing board with the approval of then-CEO Jim Hackett.
Other Ford executives have praised Farley as “instrumental” for the introduction of the Mach-E into the Mustang family. He wanted to use the Mustang as a spiritual lodestar for the Mach-E, according to the lore behind the project. Plan proposals that showed more and less Mustang impact before a suitable middle ground was reached were allegedly drawn up.
At the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show, the final product was introduced, and while it maintained the dimensions of a crossover, it now had far more soul.
For instance, while keeping the overall vehicle length, the wheelbase was extended. It made the Tesla-esque front bumper taller, adding to the kit the iconic shark nose of Ford. Next, the A-pillar was pulled back, which gave a more modern look to the concept, while the roofline followed the Mustang product line more closely, making it a more sporty appearance. It only made sense to add haunches above either rear wheelwell to the Mustang’s quarter wall, and the chef’s kiss was the tri-bar Mustang tail lights to complete the rear-end look.
The Mustang Mach-E has been much more than just a zero-emission family hauler as we know it today. Ford’s decision to add it to the Mustang vehicle family can, in fact, speak volumes about the future of the company as a whole. And though it may not be a Mustang in the form of a sports car (or is it?), in terms of brand importance, it is a Mustang.