Electric Vehicles Begin Their Slow Entry Into The Automotive Mainstream, Leading The Way Is The 2021 Mustang Mach-E
Every year we make resolutions and say new year, new me. Frankly it’s tiring and so cliché. But in the auto industry, 2021 does take on the new year, new me persona in more ways than one. Especially in 2021.
First, rebounding from ravaging effects of the global pandemic will be key for every single automaker. For Ford Motor Company, as we’ve discussed, 2021 is an integral year. With the 2021 Ford F-150s already (slowly) arriving at dealerships, the 14th-generation of the best-selling vehicle in North America is vital to Ford’s success. As is the launch (or relaunch) of the iconic Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport.
Hot on the heels is one of the most controversial vehicles Ford has created in decades. The Mustang Mach-E has had a lot of publicity, much of it negative, due mostly in part in to the Mustang name being attached to an electrified crossover.
Without getting a fair shake from many, the Mach-E has been “mocked”, unfairly. But others have accepted it and even traded in their V8s for the EV Mustang. But all in all, how well the Mach-E sells will be key to Ford. How quickly the American consumer shows excitement, and excitement means sales, for the Mach-E will determine if Ford timed the all-important EV launch right and if adding the hallowed Mustang name to a crossover pays off or blows up on them.
I’m often asked which I think will happen, and frankly I don’t know. Tesla is cool and chic and hip. The young consumers love it. It’s one of the hippest auto brands in a very long time. So why can’t Ford, one of the oldest brands around get in on that action by offering something like the Mach-E. Even if it comes with controversy, that could be a good thing.
Well, global research firm ABI Research has offered some insight too as far as the American consumer’s migration toward EVs (and thus away from internal combustion engines).
Let’s take a closer look at what ABI says will happen and how the Mustang Mach-E will be part of this trend.
Electric Vehicles Begin Their Slow Entry Into The Automotive Mainstream
2021 will kickstart a decade of growing Electric Vehicle (EV) adoption, which will see EV sales move from a rounding error of total new vehicle shipments to over a quarter of new vehicles shipping in 2030, states global tech market advisory firm according to ABI Research.
“This transition from niche to mainstream will be built on the introduction of low-cost EV models that satisfy the typical mileage requirements at an acceptable price point.” Explains James Hodgson, Smart Mobility & Automotive Principal Analyst at ABI Research. As EV owners shift from the legacy of environmentally conscious, enthusiastic technology first adopters to more typical automotive consumers, OEMs will need to develop more innovative approaches to the life cycle management of EVs. “Smart charging technologies, support for occasional Direct Current (DC) fast charging, and battery management will be critical in supporting mainstream consumers in their transition from ICEs to EV ownership,” Hodgson points out.
There are a few key and very important points. Low-cost and typical mileage. The standard Mach-E has a starting price of just under $44,000 which does not include a $7,500 tax credit or any state or local credits that might available. Conversely the Tesla Model 3 has a starting price of $35,000 and the Mach-E rival Model Y has a price around $40,000.
So, according to ABI’s one key trend is low-cost. Whether $35,000-45,000 is low cost is up to the consumer. But it’s at least competitively priced. Kudos to Ford for keeping the Mach-E right in line with the Model Y, since that’s the market they are targeting.
ABI’s other trend is “typical driving range.” Again this is subjective, as range anxiety often comes into play for some consumers, especially those new to EVs. However, a closer look at most driving habits shows that any range under 150 miles is more than enough for a daily driver. Therefore, the Mach-E’s range of 300 miles doubles that expectation up.
The Tesla Model Y has better range than the Mach-E, especially when you take into account the Mach-E’s range for an all-wheel drive vehicle which is only 270 miles. But that is still way more than enough for a typical daily driver.
Winning The Consumer Over Requires Ample Inventory
According to ABI, new vehicle shipments won’t snap back quickly, which could slow down the migration and “convincing” of the American consumer.
“The first half of 2020 saw the market for new vehicles implode, contracting by around 70%. COVID-19 and the measures taken to contain the spread of the virus dealt a double blow to the already faltering automotive market, disrupting supply chains and depriving the industry of the bricks-and-mortar retail environment on which it heavily relies,” says Hodgson.
Many OEMs reported a return to growth in 3Q 2020 as offset demand from 1H 2020, manifested in a summer period that saw many governments lift restrictions and allow auto dealerships to reopen.
In the third quarter, Ford saw a major dip in Mustang (two-door muscle cars) sales. The Mustang was down 17.7% in the third quarter, moving just 13,851 units. The Mustang is expected to retain its most units sold in its niche segment, beating out the Dodge Challenger and the Chevy Camaro. But what this shows is, despite a vocal and passionate enthusiast crowd, the sales are down for the Mustang in its original form.
According to Hodgson “Moving into 2021, however, the automotive industry should not expect a return to the new vehicle sales volumes of recent years.
So it only stands to reason that Ford try something different and offer up an electrified crossover version of the Mustang. I took some heat from the enthusiasts for making such a claim. I stand by that story, just as stand by my stance that Ford didn’t have to put the Mustang name on a crossover.
They did, and it’s time to accept it and be fair to it. Anyone who is truly a Ford fan, not just a muscle car fan or Mustang enthusiast should want the Mach-E to succeed. As we see from this report, the integration of the Mustang Mach-E into the mainstream is vital. How it will be accepted is of the utmost importance to Ford and will show whether America is ready to accept EVs as part of the mainstream.
What say you? Are you an early EV adapter or will you wait and see? What's holding you back? Leave me your comment below.
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.