Charging And Infrastructure, Not Range Anxiety, Main Concern Regarding Mustang Mach-E
Over my automotive writing career I’ve driven hundreds of vehicles, if not thousands – vehicles ranging from affordable to luxury to even supercars. There’s a lot of wow factor vehicles. But, until this week, I had never really spent any time driving a pure electric vehicle.
Ford set me up with five days driving the Mustang Mach-E. To be clear, this arrangement did not come with any strings attached nor a guarantee of positive coverage. Ford knows my stance when it comes to the Mustang Mach-E, as far as using the name on the electric crossover.
I will be writing my final thoughts about that tomorrow, along with my official review of the Mach-E. For now, I was thirsty for knowledge about electric vehicle ownership and curious about what owning the Mustang Mach-E would look like.
Like many people, range anxiety was initially a concern for me. The Mach-E was delivered to me in a covered trailer with a full charge. It showed an overall range of 207 miles. That seemed low to me, at least with my gasoline engine mentality. I can get many more miles than that on an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle.
But, nevertheless, with range anxiety still on my mind, I took the Mach-E out for a quick jaunt. As expected, the torque was unbelievable and instant. The touchpoints were great. The seat was comfortable, and the tech inside the Mach-E all impressed.
So far I was impressed, after my initial jaunt. I pulled back into my driveway having barely dented the range, but had a big trip planned in the Mach-E for later in the week.
It’s important to note that I do not have a 240 outlet available to charge the Mach-E and would’ve only been able to use 110. Home charging, without a set 240 is foolish. So I did not charge the Mach-E once at my house. This would add to the initial range anxiety.
Taking The Mustang Mach-E On A Road Trip
I had planned a trip up to the Halderman Barn Museum with my mentor Jim Halderman, who is the cousin of Gale Halderman, the principle designer of the 1960s and original Mustang. Gale was a dear friend and I remain close to his family, who maintain the Halderman Barn Museum, as a museum to Ford Mustang design.
The barn has a huge Mustang logo on the side of it. And I wanted that photo, to be the first Mach-E to get that shot. Recall, that Jim is the person I wrote about who traded in his V8 convertible Mustang to order a Mustang Mach-E GT. That story got a lot of comments.
Jim is excited about the electrified future of the industry and is a fan of the Mach-E. So, off we went to the Museum, which was about 70 miles from my house. Going that far without gasoline was going to be nerve-racking, or so I thought.
When we arrived at the Museum, I had 150 or so miles of range still. So I knew I had enough “power” to get home, without recharging.
After getting the “money shot” of the Mach-E with the barn as the backdrop, we headed back home. Jim had pointed out places to charge along the way. I opted not to stop. As I got home, I still had 85 miles of range. Heck, I could’ve taken one more trip up to the Museum.
This road trip helped show me that range anxiety is a thing in your head, and is not much of a factor. It is just a change in your mindset. However, when I finally decided to charge, I was left with some frustrations.
My TorqueNews colleague John Goreham wrote this informative article about electric vehicles for beginners that I recommend for anyone interested in EVs.
Level 3 Charging For The Mustang Mach-E
Because I’m a newbie to the EV world, I was uncertain about the different levels of charging available and what networks would and wouldn’t work with the Mach. I sent emails to my Ford contact Emma Bergg who shared passed me on to Eddie Fernandez who is Charging Communications for Ford.
First, living in Cincinnati, Ohio, which is a major city, there’s still a lack of Level 3 chargers. The closest one to me was about 19 miles away. Imagine driving 19 miles out of the way to go get gas? That was annoying.
I get to an EVGo Level 3 charger that both the FordPass app and the Mach-E guided me to in the parking lot of a Walmart. The overall charging process was intuitive and easy. However, and this is no fault of the Mach-E, my credit card would not work at the EVGo station. I ended up calling the help number and they responsively took care of me and took my credit card over the phone to get my charging going.
However, I was once again disappointed with how slow this “fast charge” was. The FordPass app told me that my charge would be back at 100% in just over two hours.
I foolishly thought a fast charge would be like filling up at a gas station, with 5-10 minutes max. It is not. And that’s one area that perhaps can and should be improved upon in the future from an infrastructure standpoint.
I did ask Eddie Fernandez about this situation, and this was his response: “Charging speed is based on two factors - how much power the source (charger) can give, and how much power the EV can take. Mach-E's battery can handle 150 kW hours, which is available at Electrify America. You charged at an EVGo station which likely had less power output at those chargers, so not as fast of charging speed capability.”
Ford partners with a charging network called Electrify America, which had even fewer stations in my area. According to Fernandez, “Ford actually provides customers with 250 kWh of free charging at Electrify America to get them started (good for 3-5 "fill ups"), with discounted pricing as a partner after that.”
I finally ended my charging session about 51 minutes in which took my Mach-E from 29% charge to 72% charge. Once again, with my gasoline mentality, I felt letdown. This felt like cutting the pump short of a fill up. But, once again I asked Fernandez about this mentality and he wisely advised: “The EV community usually considers 80% charge as full, as charging the last 20% of a battery can take much longer to "top off".
The 52 minute charge session added 116 miles range (from 66 to 182 miles) and cost me $15.30.
The lesson I learned was, I got more miles, which is what I needed and the mentality of having to be at 100% charge is unnecessary, especially since most EV owners recharge at home.
My FordPass app and home charging a Mustang Mach-E
The FordPass app was incredibly helpful. It works so well and answered many of my questions. I could check my range at any time and even look up close charging stations (level 1, 2, and 3). This app even communicated with the Mach-E.
If this is the future of automotive, count me in. As someone who spends a lot of time on my iPhone, I want connectivity to my vehicle and my phone. Fernandez, who is obviously a little biased, said “The FordPass app can help you easily narrow down searches and trip planning.”
But he is right. I give high marks to the app and its integration with the vehicle.
As for home charging, I did not do that, but I do have a little information regarding that.
Fernandez provided me this information regarding public charging speeds and home charging speeds:
• Public: Up to 59 miles of range in just 10 minutes of charging at an Electrify America DC fast charging station (150 kWh power output), or charge from 10-80% in around 45 minutes
• Home: Ford Connected Charge Station (48 amps) can get you up to 28 miles of range per hour off charging, whereas using a 240V outlet with the Ford Mobile Charger (which comes standard with the Mach-E) will get you 20 miles of ranger per hour, and of course you can plug into an ordinary wall socket (110V) but that will get you slow and steady charging of 3 miles of range per hour.
To be clear, nobody should buy an EV of any kind unless they are going to have a 240v installed at their home.
Does the Mustang Mach-E invoke range anxiety?
My final thoughts on this are pretty simple. It takes a monumental shift in our mentality from gasoline to electric to calm range anxiety. I used this analogy and it’s pretty apropos.
Are you the type of person who drives around with the low fuel light on? How far below the E do you go? That’s range anxiety in a nutshell. You can either push it until you find a charge, or you can take a little time when you have charge left to get it up to the 80% range.
What is certain is that the country needs a much better network of Level 3 and fast charge stations. This country is not there yet and is not ready for an influx of EVs. There’s a lot of work to be done on the infrastructure to make range anxiety non-existent altogether.
Tomorrow at the TorqueNews Mustang-dedicated page, I will post my official review as well as my thoughts on the name, and if you haven't checked out my driving impressions including one-pedal driving, read that story here.
Related content: Driving is believing. Official review of 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E.
This was a long read, and hopefully you appreciated it. Leave me your comments and thoughts below, as always.
Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.