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Ford Mustang Mach-E: Meet the EV that's stealing market share from Tesla

The recently released Ford Mustang Mach-E is turning out to be something of a success. And rival Tesla (TSLA) is feeling the brunt of that increased competition — on the showroom floor.

Looking at recent February auto sales data, analysts at Morgan Stanley discovered an interesting nugget. While battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales outpaced the total vehicle market by nearly 40% in February, Tesla’s BEV market share declined to 69% of the market, vs. 81% a year ago. Morgan Stanley analysts found that the Ford Mustang Mach-E accounted for nearly 100% of Tesla’s market share loss.

Ford (F) also trumpeted its Mach-E sales success in its February sales report. “Mustang Mach-E sales totaled 3,739 vehicles in its first full month of sales,” the automaker said in a news release. “Nearly 70 percent of Mach-E orders are from competitive brands, while just over one-fifth were sold in California.”

At least from an initial sales perspective, the Mustang Mach-E is looking to be a BEV success for Ford. And it’s not hard to see why, as I had the chance to test the new Mustang Mach-E for a weekend earlier this year.

Initial impressions and design

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E (Pras Subramanian)

I won’t dive too deep into the debate about whether Ford should have called its first electric effort a “Mustang,” especially one that’s a crossover utility vehicle (CUV) too. It’s understood Ford wanted to create some buzz for it, give it a sporty shape, and tout its performance capability. So, "Mustang Mach-E" it is.

And in a design win, the Mach-E does show that it belongs in the Mustang family. There's that very familiar Mustang front end with aggressive, angular headlights and front fascia, though they surround a ‘grill’ that’s closed off. The tapered roofline sweeps back to wide rear haunches, that then pinch off nicely into a very Mustang looking rear end, an almost fastback look with those distinctive vertical Mustang tri-stripe red rear lights.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E (Credit: Ford)
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E (Credit: Ford) (Ford)

The interior of the Mach-E won’t remind you of a traditional Mustang, but that’s a good thing. Materials, fit and finish, and the layout overall of the Mach-E are standout. The seats are comfortable, and Ford is using a suite of materials that feel good and have a futuristic, environmentally friendly aesthetic. Also nice is the full panorama glass roof, which gives the sloping cabin more of an open feel.

Ford’s electric future does include a large tablet-like screen in the center (though in portrait orientation), but also includes a smaller info screen right under the dash hood. This setup is much more useful, informative, and helpful than the Model 3/Y setup of just one big touchscreen in the center.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E (Credit: Ford)
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E (Credit: Ford) (Ford)

The (electric) drive

Our Mustang Mach-E in Premium, dual-motor all-wheel drive (AWD) puts out a stout 346 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque, which is paired with the extended range 88 kWh extended-range battery (376 cells). Ford claims a 0-60 time of 4.8 seconds - which almost seems conservative given the oomph it has at its disposal. Most importantly, the EPA estimated range of the Mach-E AWD here is 270 miles (more on this in real world conditions later).

The car includes three drive modes: engage, whisper, and unbridled. As you can imagine, unbridled is your sport+ mode, and Ford is also including some whooshing, motor like sounds to simulate high performance driving. Kindly enough, Ford allows you to turn off the fake soundtrack.

On the road, the Mach E, with its dual motor, AWD system is mighty impressive. Like most EVs, the acceleration is brisk right off the bat, and the Mach-E is no exception. What makes it even more of a standout is the chassis and suspension tuning.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E (Pras Subramanian)

The car feels planted, and dialed in. During spirited driving, the car turned on a dime, and there wasn’t much body roll or push in the corners. This is even more impressive given the fact the car weighs around 5,000 lbs. One thing that helps here is that extended range battery is sitting low in the floor the car, which aids in handling tremendously. Not to mention the electric motors are split between the front and rear of the vehicle too.

Now that's all great, but here's the one bad part about the Mach-E. As noted earlier, the Mach-E AWD with extended range battery has an EPA range of 270 miles. Ford says your mileage will vary given how you drive, where you’re driving (elevation changes, for example), and most importantly ambient temperature.

I had the car for a cold weekend here in New York, and on a full charge the battery was only showing 190 to 200 miles of range. Electric cars typically lose around 20% to 30% of their range in very cold weather, and I lost nearly a full 30% of my range.

This was not ideal as I was heading on a road trip upstate, where charging stations are few and far between. I ended up having to siphon off little sips of electricity using the mobile charger (or plug) that comes with the Mach-E that plugs into a normal wall outlet. You get something around 20 miles or range charging the car overnight that way. Again, it's not ideal.

Now this brings me to Tesla, and the Model Y AWD Long Range model, which would be the direct comparison for our Mach-E tester. The Model Y, with similar pricing and features, has an EPA estimated range of 326 miles, nearly 60 more miles of range than the Mach-E. On a road trip, where chargers and miles to empty are at a premium, the Model Y’s added range is huge from a capability and peace-of-mind standpoint.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E (Pras Subramanian)

So the Mach-E’s decreased range in this situation is notable drawback, and we have to tip our hats to Tesla here for having what is best-in-class efficiency from a battery, powertrain, and software ‘stack’ perspective.

Now Ford has promised over-the-air software updates for the Mach-E, and maybe over the coming months and years Ford’s engineers will be able to eke out more range.

With that said, the Mach-E is still clearly a viable, if not in some ways, superior option to the top choice in the segment: the Model Y. And if early sales are any indication, consumers are giving this electric Mustang a shot.

Our test model Mustang Mach-E Premium AWD with extended range battery costs $56,200.00 before taxes or any federal or state incentives.

Pras Subramanian is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter and on Instagram.

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