Trading In A V8 Mustang For The 2021 Mustang Mach-E
My friend Jim Halderman is a mentor in my life. We’ve worked on many projects together. We travel to auto shows in Detroit in and Chicago together and have for nearly 10 years now. I learn from his wealth of experience and his “miscellaneous useless information.”
Together, Jim and I collaborated on a book called Mustang by Design. It tells the story of the original Mustang from inside the design studio. Jim is the first cousin of Gale Halderman who was the main designer of the Mustang and worked 40 years at Ford.
Unfortunately Gale passed away this spring. But his friendship will not be forgotten. I remember Gale told me two years ago about this Mustang SUV he saw in the design studio. I asked him what he thought about that. He liked the look of it but thought it was different.
Of course Gale was talking about the Mustang Mach-E. Now, fast forward to the present day and his cousin Jim has ordered a 2021 Mustang Mach-E GT. And he even sold his 2012 V8 convertible Mustang GT to make room for it.
I wanted to pick Jim’s brain over this decision. There’s no one in the industry I respect more than him since he has decades of automotive experience both as an ASE certified mechanic and mostly as a retired automotive educator. He’s written 14 textbooks on automotive technology, so when I say he’s an expert, he’s an expert.
It was important to establish Jim as the knowledgeable, smart and automotive savvy guy he is before going into the Q&A with him about why he chose to buy a Mustang Mach-E which was just named a finalist for North American Utility Vehicle of the Year.
Q: Tell me why you got rid of your V8 Mustang in favor of the Mustang Mach-E?
Jim Halderman: I had three vehicles and I thought it was time to downsize to two because there are just the two of us at home. I had the Mustang convertible for many years because I loved having something sporty especially having a six-speed manual transmission. I had replaced the very quiet stock mufflers with Mustang GT 500 mufflers which made it sound perfect. A little rumble and some nice sounds when accelerating but quiet on the road. The new Mustang Mach E was a natural change for me because my winter vehicle was already an SUV but a boring SUV. The Mach E GT has what I like about an SUV such as the higher seating position and cargo room, plus the added benefit of the instant and rapid acceleration of the electric drivetrain.
Q: Tell me what Mach-E you ordered?
Jim: I reserved a red Mustang Mach E GT. I wanted the fastest one available. The GT has a more powerful front motor compared to the other all-wheel- drive trim levels. I gave the local dealer the $500 deposit to reserve the GT. With the GT trim level, the only option I had at the time was color so I selected red for several reasons:
• I liked the color when I rode in a Mustang Mach E at the Chicago auto show in February. It was a nice red in my opinion as I am not a fan of the orange/red seen on many vehicles.
• I have had many black vehicles and I wanted a change.
• The red will be more visible than the black vehicle I have had previously which I think will be a safety factor as far as I am concerned
All of the options are included in the GT and all will have (at least during the introductory period) all black interiors. I like a fully loaded vehicle so this was a perfect match for me.
Q: Did you make any adaptations to your house in preparation for fast-charging?
Jim: In preparation for the electric vehicle (EV), I had an electrical contractor install a 220-volt NEMA 14-50 outlet to my garage. It has a 60-amp circuit breaker so I can charge the vehicle up to 48 amps. I purchased a Charge Point charger that is mounted on the garage wall and plugs into the outlet. It has a cord over 20 feet long so it can reach either vehicle in my two-car garage.
I calculated that it will cost me about $10 worth of electricity to completely “fill the tank”. That is a lot less than using gasoline to travel 200+ miles.
Q: What do you think about those who say the Mach-E is not a Mustang?
Jim: Personally, I think that Ford should have selected another name for their electric vehicle but I can also see why they decided to call it a Mustang. It does have the styling and the performance of a Mustang and by adding black to the roof makes it appear to be a fastback. Gale Halderman, my first cousin who sketched the first Mustang, told me about two years ago that he saw a four door Mustang in clay at Ford and told me it “looked pretty good.”
I was 20-something years old when I purchased my first Mustang and now 50 years later, I am ordering another Mustang that meets my needs at this time. It is very practical, has great performance and will have over the air updates making it a truly connected vehicle.
Q: Your ordered the GT over the standard what was your reason for that?
Jim: I always try to purchase the highest trim level because let’s face it I like the “toys”. All of the options are included as part of the GT trim level. The GT also has a larger front motor giving it faster acceleration as well as the largest capacity battery.
Q: Will you add the recently announced Performance Edition to your GT?
Jim: No and the main reason is that the Performance package (PE) includes summer tires. Summer tires do provide increased handling but because of the rubber compounding (my son was a tire development engineer) means that they should not be used when the temperature is lower than 45 degrees. Because I plan on using the Mustang Mach E GT all year, I want high-performance all-season tires. I don’t think I could tell the difference in a couple of tenths of a second zero to 60 MPH so the standard GT is for me.
Q: As someone with a vast knowledge of automotive technology, what is it about EVs that interests you?
Jim: Why is an old guy (70 something) not the right age for a high-performance practical and economical vehicle? It is the perfect vehicle for all ages in my opinion. Flashback. When I delivered papers, I had a customer who had a Pontiac GTO. I asked him “Mr. Brown, what is a guy like you (white haired and retired) doing with a high-performance car?” He told me “I like beating high school kids at traffic lights”. I am turning into Mr. Brown.
Q: Did you consider any other vehicle, specifically the Tesla Model Y over the Mach-E?
Jim: Yes, I did consider most options including the Tesla Model X, 3 and Y. The Tesla Model Y is almost the exact same size and performance as the Mustang Mach E plus I get a $7,500 tax benefit by purchasing the Ford compare to a Tesla. Both offer access to high-speed chargers when traveling. Ford is offering free access for a few years to the Electrify America network of chargers which make travel easier. These level 3 charging stations are capable of charging the battery from 10% to 80% is about 40 minutes. Because they are usually located near shopping and restaurants, the charging is a perfect time to take a break and eat a meal while traveling.
Q: How was your ordering process and did you work with a dealer?
Jim: Very easy. Most do it online but I had questions so I visited my local Ford dealer and talked to the same salesperson who handled the purchase of my Mustang GT convertible eight years ago. That by itself tells you that the dealer is an excellent place to work if the sales staff is still there for many years. I used a credit card for the $500 to reserve my place for a Mustang Mach E GT in red.
Q: Last question, have you heard anything about when your Mach-E will be built/delivered?
Jim: It has been consistently stated that the GT trim levels will be “available late summer, 2021”.
This just goes to show there is not set demographic for the Mustang Mach-E and it’s certainly not a generational thing. Young and old will both be attracted to it and also be repelled by it. There will be those who want the visceral sound of a V8 and won't consider the quiet confident torque of an electric motor.
What do you think about Jim’s decision? Did he make the right choice? Leave me a 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.