It’s not just over-the-air updates making EVs better, but automakers expanding the use case for them, like the 2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally edition coming early next year.
The automaker’s latest iteration of its EV is designed to handle the rough-and-tumble world of off-road rally racing. Engineers took a Mach-E GT powertrain and tuned it up to 480 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque — the highest output ever for a Mach-E thus far.
Officials told reporters at preview a few weeks ago that those are “at least” numbers so the horsepower and torque numbers are likely to rise a bit before they debut. But as tested, they push the new model from stop to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, which is quicker than a GT Performance model.
The goal was to produce a vehicle for drivers who “want something that’s going to be great on their weekday commute and all the way to an off-the-beaten path adventure on the weekend,” Michael Sego, group marketing manager, Mustang Mach-E.
The new model will be available early next year in North America and Europe and while it’s not the final number, officials said the new model will cost about $65,000. Perhaps more importantly, it’s not a limited production vehicle, Ford will build as many as people want to buy.
Ready for the off-road
The company moved the vehicle from concept to reality in about a year and a half, which is lightning quick. Engineers used the Subaru WRX as a starting point for comparison, while the team was basically comprised of rally racing enthusiasts on staff.
“We’re always looking at new ideas, right?” said Donna Dickson, chief engineer, during the preview. “As part of the Always On (philosophy) we’re looking at new product, what can we do to better the product?
“But this one came as hey, let’s get into this space. Let’s get into that rally-inspired (segment). We wanted to drive EVs there because there really wasn’t any competitors in that space. So it came up and we drove with it.”
In order to ensure it can handle the off-road portion, the vehicle was raised 20 millimeters, sits on 19-inch ally rally wheels, more underbody protective shielding. It also received a new rear motor and other updated hardware.
Then the software was tweaked to provide more sustained power from the two-motor model as part of its RallySport Drive Mode.
To make sure it could handle it, engineers put it through 500-mile durability testing to simulate rally cross driving. The vehicle’s range is 250 miles. It’ll can be charged from 10% to 80% in about 36 minutes on a 150kW charge.
The Rally model is available in Grabber Blue Metallic, Shadow Black, Eruption Green Metallic, Grabber Yellow, Star White and Glen Glacier Gray