Ford says 80% of the reservations for the Mustang Mach-E specify long-range battery packs.

We’ve heard plenty of talk about “Tesla killers” during the last few years, though most of the promising competitors, such as the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron have fallen short of expectations. But could Ford finally have come up with the right formula?

The automaker does appear to be on track, at least according to news that the U.S. version of the First Edition Mustang Mach-E going on sale next autumn is sold out. The automaker says a small number are still available abroad, and it does have other variants of the all-electric SUV available, at least for now.

The First Edition, which carries a stick price of $59,900 before adding in delivery fees, gets a two-motor all-wheel drive system capable of making 333 horsepower and driving up to 270 miles per charge. It won’t be the most powerful version of the all-electric SUV, however. The even sportier Mach-E GT won’t go on sale until mid-2021, however.

(New Mustang Mach-E is just the first step in “electrification” for Ford)

“Reservations for the First Edition of the Mustang Mach-E are officially full — though other models like the Premium edition and the GT are still available for pre-order,” Ford said in a year-end statement.

The automaker has described the First Edition model as a limited run but has not said how many it will actually build, so it’s difficult to tell exactly what the announcement translates to in terms of actual volume.

About 55% of reservations call for all-wheel-drive versions, 30% for the Mach-E GT.

The company has not released formal sales targets for the Mach-E as a whole, either, but insiders have openly hinted that Ford would be pleased if it moves about 50,000 of the long-range electric vehicles worldwide during its first full year of production.

If it hits that target it would become one of the best-selling electric vehicles yet to come to market – though it would lag well behind Tesla’s Model 3 sedan which has been running at a rate of around 300,000 this year worldwide. And the California EV maker’s CEO Elon Musk has suggested on several occasions that demand for the Model Y SUV also debuting in 2020 could be just as high.

Still, Ford would likely outstrip competitors such as Chevrolet, with its Bolt EV, and Nissan, with its expanded mix of Leaf hatchbacks, two of the current best-sellers in the long-range EV market.

The Detroit automaker was an early player in electrification, with a mix of hybrids, plug-ins and battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, but the Mach-E is its first long-range model. During a background briefing ahead of the electric SUV’s official debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, Ford officials said original plans called for a much less sporty vehicle that would largely be aimed at meeting the minimum requirements set by California clean air mandates. About two years ago, however, the decision was made to shift to a more exciting and powerful product with broader appeal.

The Mustang Mach-E makes its debut in Los Angeles with Chairman Bill Ford Jr.

As the project came together, senior Ford executives decided that what was originally described as a “Mustang-inspired” vehicle should become the first SUV to actually use the popular Mustang name.

(Mustang Mach-E takes aim at Tesla Model Y)

That has generated a slew of criticism from traditional Mustang coupe fans, but appears to be paying off with a broader audience, in part by signaling the performance capabilities of the new Mach-E.

The industry is beginning to shift away from focusing on the green benefits of SUVs in order to also promote the tremendous power that can be delivered by electric motors, said Ron Cogan, publisher of Green Car Journal and chief judge of the Green Car of the Year Awards.

Once the full range of Mustang Mach-E SUVs come to market buyers will have a choice of five different variants, base prices running from $47,000 to $60,000 – though a fully loaded Mustang Mach-E GT will readily push above the $70,000 mark.

Base models will feature a single 210 kilowatt motor – translating into 250 horsepower and over 300 pound-feet of torque – driving the rear axle. The First Edition and other mid-range versions will add a 50 kW motor to the front axle.

The Ford Mustang Mach-E will become a direct competitor to Tesla’s upcoming Model Y.

The Mach-E GT will bump the front motor up to 210 kW, with preliminary estimates of 459 hp and 612 lb-ft combined peak output.

“Our base model will be faster than a base Porsche Macan (SUV) and close to the Macan Turbo,” which can hit 60 in as little as 4.1 seconds, powertrain chief Ron Heiser said last November during the pre-L.A. Auto Show briefing. The Mach-E GT, meanwhile, “will be within spitting distance of a Porsche 911 GTS,” which sprints to 60 in about just over three seconds.

High-end models also will have the option of a larger battery pack capable of over 300 miles per charge, according to Ford, though final EPA numbers have yet to be determined.

(Ford lets us in on a secret: It’s going to be the Mustang Mach-E)

The automaker began taking advance reservations for the Mustang Mach-E immediately after the electric SUV was unveiled in Los Angeles. Among other things:

  • Among initial orders, 80% of U.S. customers are opting for the extended-range battery;
  • About 55% want all-wheel-drive; and
  • About 30% are placing reservations for the Mach-E GT.
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