Ali Farhat is originally from the Motor City and moved to San Diego two years ago. His Detroit roots are an integral part of his car-buying habits. His father is a former employee at Ford Motor Company and Ali himself briefly worked for the Blue Oval.
On the West Coast, Ali is now a big proponent of electric vehicles. He’s also interesting because he owns both a Tesla Model Y and a Mustang Mach-E. Usually these two vehicles are at “odds” with each other with loyalists being in one camp or the other. So I found it particularly interesting to talk with Ali about why he owns both and what he likes about both.
Ali owns a 2020 Tesla Model Y Long Range with 35,000 miles on it, that he named Kelvin the Tesla. He also owns a 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E with 4,800 miles on it that he named Mikey the Mach E). His first EV that still owns is a 2013 Ford Focus Electric with 125,000 miles on it that he named Nikola, ironically.
It was actually his love and appreciation of that Focus Electric that got Ali further interested in EV. I interviewed Ali about his vehicles, his thoughts on EVs and what it’s like owning both a Tesla and a Mach-E.
Related story: Canadian EV expert offers insight into Mustang Mach-E ownership.
Torque News: What draws you to electric vehicles and what do you like about them?
Ali: Having an early EV in a cold climate such as Detroit did not always make for fun times when the bitter cold of winter set in, but I knew this was the future of transportation and I wanted to be part of it. I really feel strongly about the need to consume less fossil fuels. Not only do EVs save on fuel costs, but overall maintenance costs are considerably less than that of an internal combustion engine (ICE), so I knew in the long run I would be saving money. For example, I was able to travel 100,000 miles on the Focus before the brakes required changing. Also, once you own an EV you realize just how much fun they are to drive, and what little they require to operate. I quickly got attached to my EVs, and they’ve become part of the family.
Torque News: So you are a rarity in that you own both a Tesla and a Mach-E. Tell me why you have both vehicles and what you like about each?
Ali: Being from the Motor City, I wanted to keep with the Ford brand, my father worked for Ford as did I for a short period of time. I had a reservation for the Mach E, but honestly after hearing Ford talk (during a presentation of the Mach E) that the Focus BEV was just a compliance car, I was a little taken back and didn’t think Ford was serious this time about transitioning to EVs. I then did some research on the Model Y and really liked the Supercharging Network. I feel that is a huge advantage. I also liked that Tesla only builds EVs. Since the Model Y began deliveries last year, before the Mach E, I decided to purchase one. I also purchased the Full Self Driving feature as I really see a future with autonomous driving and think Tesla is ahead of the game.
I quickly put the Tesla on Turo (a car rental service) as I wanted to share my love for EVs and help tell people that EVs are far superior than ICEs in every way. I felt that only driving it for myself was not helping enough with getting the word out about EVs and I had to do more. I had amazing feedback from the Turo guests that drove the Tesla, and I like to think I was involved in helping people make the switch to an EV.
As Ford was beginning deliveries of the Mach E, we (my partner and I) decided we really wanted to add the Mach E to our fleet and give people another choice. We had a reservation but it wouldn’t be delivered for several more months, so we called around to area Ford dealerships and we got very lucky to find a First Edition in the exact specs we wanted, Long range AWD in Rapid Red. We rushed to the dealer and picked it up that day. I really love the build quality of the Mach E, how amazingly quiet it is on the highway, and the vegan leather seats are amazingly comfortable and really easy to maintain. Oh and the Mach E is a head turner! So many people are interested in it and I am able to share with them just how amazing not only the Mach E is, but EVs in general.
Torque News: What does the Mach-E bring to the table that maybe the Tesla cannot and likewise, what advantage or edge does the Tesla have over the MME?
Ali: The MME definitely has superior build quality both inside and out. Ford has 100+ years of making cars and they got it right with the Mach E. The most important advantage is Mach E is true to the range estimates that are displayed on the dash, I get about 270 miles of range in real world driving. I do wish, however, that charging wouldn’t taper off so quickly when fast charging above 80%.
The Tesla has superior technology and software. Their mobile app and in car user interface is top notch. I like that Tesla only builds EVs, which is in line with my views. Tesla also has the full self-driving future, however, I am very excited to try Ford’s Blue Cruise when it becomes available later this year via Ford Power Up over the air update.
Torque News: You mentioned you also have a Ford Focus BEV, tell me about that car and why you like it? It has a lot of miles on it, right?
Ali: Nikola the Focus is our little workhorse now! Although he does not have any DC fast charging capabilities, he makes a great vehicle that meets all of our daily local needs. Electric motors do not wear out like ICEs so it’s just as peppy and fun to drive as it was the day I picked him up 9 years ago. He currently has 125,000 miles and when both the Tesla and the Mach E are out on Turo trips, the Focus is the perfect car to get us around. And because an EV’s operating and refueling costs are a fraction of an ICE, the financial benefits continue long after the car has been paid for, whereas ICEs do not and will never have this advantage.
Torque News: Have you had any issues with either the Tesla or the Mach-E if so, what were they?
Ali: I wish the Tesla was quieter on the highway (I am deaf in my left ear so all sound goes into my right ear, making me more sensitive to noise) I know they are improving this with dual pain side windows and improving build quality so some of the latest Model Ys may be better.
I wish the Mach E didn’t taper charging when 80% is reached during DC charging. Maybe taper at 85-90%? Hopefully a software update in the future will change that. I also wish the FordPass app and in vehicle center touch screen was simpler to use and more intuitive. Again, these are things that software updates can fix.
Torque News: Why do you think there’s still so much apprehension toward EVs and what can you say to dissuade those concerns?
Ali: Like cell phone batteries, EV battery technology has come a long way since I purchased my Focus in late 2012. When was the last time you had to change a cell phone battery? Contrary to what people think, EV batteries do not need to be replaced as some might believe and can be driven for hundreds of thousands of miles.
Torque News: Last question, what do you think about the alleged rivalry between Ford (with the MME) and Tesla? Do you think they should all play well in the sandbox together and not fight?
Ali: This might be the most important question of all. The EV market is only about 2% currently, but is expected to grow exponentially this decade, especially as battery costs continue to decline and driving range continues to improve. Any brand that makes a compelling EV like what Ford has done will sell every single one they can build. There is plenty of room for all good EV products to do well, so the term “Tesla Killer” should be read as “ICE killer” because that’s where the sales are being stolen from.
Related story: Mustang Mach-E already stealing sales from Tesla.
What do you think of Ali’s interview? Certainly his perspective as someone who owns and drives both gives him credibility and first-hand knowledge? Leave me your thoughts 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.