When Tesla launched the Model 3 in the UK it was even more of a game-changer than the hugely successful Model S. A mid-sized saloon delivering excellent range with zero emissions. With a starting price close to £40,000 it makes an excellent proposition, especially for fleet users. Pitching the Model 3 into the heart of fleet driver territory whilst giving company car drivers usually choosing premium upper medium diesel saloons, a viable electric option. The main rivals capable of offering affordable long-range battery electric vehicles (BEVs) of a practical size previously were the Nissan Leaf, Hyundai Kona Electric and the Kia e-Niro.
The resulting popularity of the Model 3 is such that Tesla have not been able to supply enough vehicles to satisfy UK demand. This demand shows little sign of falling. Due to the lockdown and the stalled delivery of the majority of new cars, the Tesla Model 3 had the highest registration tally of all new cars in May 2020 according Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) data with 852 registrations. Clearly, this figure is much lower than the biggest seller would ordinarily achieve in a month, but it highlights that due to Tesla’s online ordering process, the demand and supply of their cars has continued.
The Pony interloper
Tesla’s grip on the company car market could be put under pressure in the coming months as Ford prepares to launch what might prove to be a worthy adversary of the Model 3.
The new Ford Mustang Mach E appears to be a credible alternative for those that may have previously only considered the Model 3. Of course, there will be those who will still only consider the Tesla due to the favorable image that the brand has managed to conjure in the relatively short life of the company, but the Mustang Mach E is arguably a better-looking car whilst also offering the popular SUV silhouette.
This is Ford’s first ground-up BEV project. Created as a family sized SUV, fulfilling the requirements of high proportions of buyers today, the Mustang name instantly gives the vehicle an exciting and emotional integrity.
Ford have continued communicating with the Glass’s editorial team regarding the Mustang Mach E during lockdown. They started taking pre-orders online and it is proving very popular with the First Edition already selling out.
Andy Cutler, Glass’s Forecast Editor commented, “I for one really cannot wait to get behind the wheel of the Mustang Mach E; I was supposed to drive it just as lockdown started and this has meant that we will have to wait a while longer to get behind the wheel which is really frustrating”.
Mach E Details
The Mustang Mach E is a fully electric SUV available with rear wheel drive (RWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD), with a regular range or extended range drivetrain. The WLTP maximum range for the RWD standard mileage model is 280 miles and the car will be available for just over £40,000. The extended RWD model is priced just under £50,000 and is capable of a maximum WLTP range of 370 miles. AWD versions are also available, however the range does drop slightly.
The car comes without door handles; instead, it senses the presence of the key and as you approach and a sensor on the B pillar lights up and you touch it to enter the car, it automatically locks itself when you leave the vehicle.
The Mach E uses Ford’s latest generation of their SYNC system: this system allows the driver to customise and update the Mach-E’s drive right from a mobile device or desktop. It also includes a cloud-connected navigation system, along with modem-based over-the-air updates which Ford claim will be almost invisible to the user. Interacting with the Ford SYNC system will be via voice commands or the 15.5” touchscreen display.
The standard specification is extensive although if you want slightly more kit then go for the extended range model benefiting from panoramic roof, 360 Degree Camera and B&O Premium Sound System amongst other additional specification.
The Mustang Mach-E is equipped for both AC charging, with its 10.5 kW on-board charger, and DC charging. This allows the standard range model to take a 115kW charge and the extended range model will take 150kW allowing top ups of 73 miles in about 10 minutes. With a home charging unit you get around 27 miles per hour so overnighting charging should be enough to attain full range.
The rise of the BEV
Over the past couple of years, ranges have increased greatly and purchase prices have reduced, with the latest models making compelling cases for being your next vehicle. Throw in the fact that incentives for company car drivers are currently so rewarding it is understandable why demand for the latest BEVs is so high.
The issue for many BEVs capable of achieving longer ranges has been the initial purchase price. Putting them out of reach of the majority of drivers, models such as the Tesla Models S & X, Jaguar i-Pace, Audi e-Tron and Mercedes-Benz EQC all costing over £60,000. The Tesla Model 3, Kia e-Niro, Hyundai Kona Electric and now the Mustang Mach E offer real-world range twinned with prices making them more affordable for businesses to run as company cars for higher mileage users. This is the dawn of a new automotive era. Soon there will be many more rivals offering excellent range at more affordable prices, for now though, the Mustang Mach E is a car to look forward to driving whilst the competition between manufacturers hots up.