Completely insane. This is arguably the most apt description of Mustang’s all new, all-electritrifying Mach-E 1400 prototype – which literally burst from the covers for the first time on Monday 21 July.
And coming directly from the horse’s mouth — that being the mouth of Ron Heiser, the chief programme engineer for the “one-of-a-kind prototype” — one might just be slightly mad not to agree with his description.
The first obvious proof of his assertions lie in the aesthetics of the Mach-E 1400, which lines, curves and stance is an undeniable visual assault on the senses. The second, among a string of other proofs, is in the numbers, with the all-electric Mach-E 1400 generating a powerful, four-figure kilowatt output.
Mustang Mach-E 1400: Four-figure kilowatt output
Coming in hot on the heels of the all-electric Mustang Cobra Jet 1400, Mustang Mach-E 1400 projects 1045 peak kilowatts and more than 1000kg of downforce at 257km/h from its seven motors and an ultra-high-performance battery.
And in the words of Heiser:
“Now is the perfect time to leverage electric technology, learn from it, and apply it to our portfolio.
“Mustang Mach-E [the brand’s new, incoming, all-electric SUV crossover] is going to be fun to drive, just like every other Mustang before it, but Mustang Mach-E 1400 is completely insane, thanks to the efforts of Ford Performance and RTR.”
Heiser was referring to the origins of the Mach-E 1400, which culminating in Monday’s reveal, was developed by Ford Performance in collaboration with RTR Vehicles.
What is motivating Mustang?
The aim, according to Ford, was not only to demonstrate the performance possibilities of electric propulsion, but to take racing and drifting to new levels — and early indications are that Ford has certainly succeeded.
Make way for the ‘electroheads’
It’s a clear warning shot fired across the front fenders of motoring purists and “petrolheads”: Stand back and make way for a new generation of “electroheads”.
Backing this up is that the Mach-E 1400 is slated to make its first major public appearance at a NASCAR race in the near future when the vehicle will set out to “challenge perceptions of what electric vehicles can do with performance tuning and advanced technology”.
ELECTRIC ROAD ROCKET: HOW FORD SEES IT
In presenting the new model to the international motoring media, Ford positioned the Mach-E 1400 as “Mission accomplished”.
“Ford introduces the Mustang Mach-E 1400, an all-electric road rocket that shows just how much performance can be harnessed without using a drop of fuel,” said the automaker.
“This one-off Mustang Mach-E with its seven electric motors and high downforce is ready for the track, drag strip or gymkhana course – anywhere it can show how electric propulsion promises extreme Mustang performance,” Ford continued.
Developed in collaboration with RTR and built off a Mustang Mach-E GT body-in-white, the prototype targets 1045 peak kilowatts. The chassis and powertrain work together for a multitude of setups offering capability, according to Ford, unlike any other vehicle.
Involving 10 000 hours of collaboration by Ford Performance and RTR, the model is intended to bridge the gap between “what an electric vehicle can do and what customers tend to believe it can do”.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
“Getting behind the wheel of this car has completely changed my perspective on what power and torque can be,” said RTR Vehicles founder, motorsports champion and professional fun-haver Vaughn Gittin Jr.
“This experience is like nothing you’ve ever imagined, except for maybe a magnetic roller coaster.”
HOW IT TOOK SHAPE
Ford said the Mach-E 1400 took shape without rules.
“The Ford design team and RTR used many of the same tools Ford uses for its race cars and production programmes. Aerodynamics are optimised for shape and location, with a focus on cooling ducts, front splitter, dive planes and rear wing.”
With a total of seven motors – five more than even Mustang Mach-E GT, there are three attached to the front differential and four attached to the rear in pancake style, with a single driveshaft connecting them to the differentials, which have a huge range of adjustability to set the car up for everything from drifting to high-speed track racing.
“The challenge was controlling the extreme levels of power provided by the seven motors,” said Ford Performance motorsports director Mark Rushbrook.
“Mustang Mach-E 1400 is a showcase of the art of the possible with an electric vehicle.”
The chassis and powertrain are set up to allow the team to investigate different layouts and their effects on energy consumption and performance, including rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive.
Drift and track setups have completely different front-end configurations like control arms and steering changes to allow for extreme steering angles in drifting.
Power delivery can be split evenly between front and rear, or completely to one or the other. Downforce is targeted at more than 1000kg at 257 km/h.
ELECTRIC HORSES AND THE ART OF POWERSHARING
The 56.8-kilowatt-hour battery (installed) is made up of nickel manganese cobalt pouch cells for ultra-high performance and high discharge rate. The battery system is designed to be cooled during charging using a di-electric coolant, decreasing the time needed between runs.
Further, Ford explained that an electronic brake booster is integrated to allow series regenerative braking combined with ABS and stability control to optimise the braking system.
“Mustang Mach-E 1400 features Brembo™ brakes, like the Mustang GT4 race car, and a hydraulic handbrake system designed for drifting that integrates with the powertrain controls to enable the ability to shut off power to the rear motors,” said Ford.
Set for its imminent debut at a NASCAR race, the Mach-E will also serve as a test bed for new materials. The hood is made of organic composite fibres, a lightweight alternative to the carbon fibre that comprises the rest of the vehicle.
With Ford investing more than $11.5 billion in electric vehicles worldwide, the company believes the Mustang is the perfect nameplate to start what it views as an exciting chapter in electric vehicles.