Electric Mustang Revealed! (No, Not That One)
There are probably few people in the automotive world who aren’t anticipating, thinking about, hoping for, hoping against, or otherwise cogitating about the “all-electric, Mustang-inspired SUV.” That’s coming on November 17.
But today, November 5, Ford, at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, unveiled the Mustang Lithium project vehicle, the result of work that Ford did with supplier company Webasto, which provides an 800-volt battery system with EVDrive Technology that can discharge a mega-watt of electrical energy tout suite.
“Ford has made no secret of the fact that we are electrifying our most popular nameplates,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s Chief Product Development and Purchasing Officer, in introducing the Mustang Lithium. He went on to say, “This one-off Mustang prototype is a great opportunity for us, together with Webasto, to showcase to our customers what a new electrified powertrains can do for performance in a car they already know and love,” which, in effect, brings us back to the aforementioned EV SUV that will be a production vehicle, not a prototype.
That said, with the Mustang Lithium Ford is demonstrating that electric vehicles can be muscle cars and not just in terms of the ability to generate maximum torque from the start.
Not only is that 800-volt battery pack on the massive side, but they’ve engineered the vehicle in ways that are familiar to those who like to drive their Mustangs fast.
For example, there is a Calimer-version of the Getrag MT82 6-speed transmission with billet internals—yes, a manual transmission that is commonly found in track Mustangs. The beefy tranny is required because the Phi-Power dual-core electric motor and dual power inverter motors generate 1,000 lb-ft of torque and more than 900 hp.
There are Ford Performance half shafts and a Super 8.8 Torsen diff. There are 20-inch Forgeline wheels wrapped with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires.
There are the Ford Performance Track Handling Pack and strut tower brace, as well as the Brembo six-piston front brakes found on the Shelby GT350R.
There is the use of lightweight materials, such as composite side splitters and a rear diffuser from Sankuer Composite Technologies. Webasto also developed a hood with see-through polycarbonate windows.
Yes, this is a show car. But given that Ford is investing more than $11.5 billion in electrified vehicles by 2022 one can’t help but speculate that more than a few of the learnings from the Mustang Lithium will find their way into production cars.
One of the things that Ford is rolling out on many of its vehicles is the ability to select drive modes, to handle such things as snow or sand or to provide more eco-driving adjustments.
And the Mustang Lithium also has a suite of drive modes that are selectable through a 10.4-inch touchscreen display.
One of the options is Valet. Let’s face it, you don’t want to drop your Mustang Lithium off outside a restaurant and make it possible for that kid with the ill-fitting bowtie to take many miles off the Michelins.
There are Sport and Track, which are certainly reasonable.
But then there is the best one of all: Beast. One can only imagine.
A young(ish) guy that I’ve known for a number of years, a man who spent the better part of his career writing for auto buff books and who is a car racer on the side, mentioned to me that his wife has a used Lexus ES Hybrid.
Sandy Munro and his team of engineers and costing analysts at Munro & Associates were contacted by UBS Research—an arm of the giant banking and investment firm—and asked whether it was possible to do a teardown and cost assessment of the Chevrolet Bolt EV.
The little car that could still can. And this time as a car that not only gets great fuel economy, but which has ride and handling that makes it more than an econo-box (and its styling is anything but boxy).