(Image source: Ford Motor Co.)

Recognizing the convergence of traditional cars and crossover SUVs, Ford took the controversial step of introducing the Mustang Mach-E, a battery electric crossover wearing the Mustang badget and a name derived from the Mach 1 high-performance edition of the Mustang.

Purists expressed outrage, but as consumers increasingly view crossovers as indistinguishable from other automotive body styles, the move could be considered a preemptive bid to keep the Mustang name relevant for decades to come. Ford has contemplated leveraging the Mustang’s popularity with a family of more practical variants since the car’s very beginning, but this will mark the first time such a proposal will actually reach production.

(Image source: Ford Motor Co.)

In keeping with Mustang tradition, the Mach-E will be available with a variety of powertrains and trim levels, providing affordability for the price-conscious and maximum performance for customers willing to spend more.

In the case of the Mach-E, that means a car that will be available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. There is also a standard 75.7 kWh lithium-ion battery pack with 288 battery cells and a long-range 98.8 kWh battery pack with 376 cells.

(Image source: Ford Motor Co.)

Ford predicts that the extended-range battery will yield 300 miles of driving range on the EPA test when configured with rear-wheel drive. The extended-range all-wheel-drive configurations, Mach-E is targeting 332 horsepower and 417 lb-ft of torque.

Ford hopes to placate gearheads with promises of impressive performance for this new kind of Mustang. “The Mustang Mach-E wholeheartedly rejects the notion that electric vehicles are only good at reducing gas consumption,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s chief product development and purchasing officer.  

Thai-Tang has credibility with Mustang enthusiasts because he was chief engineer for the fifth-generation car. “People want a car that’s thrilling to drive, that looks gorgeous and that can easily adapt to their lifestyle, and the Mustang Mach-E delivers all of this in unmatched style,” he promised.

Image source: Ford Motor Co.

There will be two high-performance versions, the GT and the GT Performance Edition. The GT is targeting 0-60 mph in less than 4 seconds, while the GT Performance Edition, is forecast to achieve 0-60 mph in the mid-3-second range. Both cars are estimated to produce 459 horsepower (342 kW) and 612 lb.-ft. (830 Nm) of torque.

Brembo’s all-new performance Flexira aluminum brake calipers, which maintain the functionality of a fixed caliper with the dimensions of a floating caliper, are available on the Mach-E. The GT Performance Edition is equipped with a MagneRide magnetically adjustable damping system that continuously varies shock absorber settings in response to driving conditions.

An all-wheel drive system will be available that can apply torque independently to the front and rear axles for improved acceleration and handling compared the rear-wheel drive model.  Interestingly, this was tuned by the Ford Performance team using Ford’s racing simulator in North Carolina.

Ford says that the Mach-E’s battery pack was designed for ease of manufacturing. It sits on the floor between the vehicle’s two axles and is tested to survive temperatures of -40 degrees F.

Image source: Ford Motor Co.

The cells are contained inside a waterproof battery case surrounded by crash protection. Liquid-cooling preserves optimal performance in hot weather and reduces charging times by keeping the cells from overheating while the charge pour in the electrons.

When DC fast charging is available, the Mach-E has a peak charging rate of 150 kW, which with an extended battery and rear-wheel drive can add an estimated average of 47 miles of range in approximately 10 minutes. With the regular battery, expect the Mach-E to charge from 10 percent to 80 percent in about 38 minutes.

The base car is scheduled for delivery to customers in late 2020, while the GT versions won’t come until spring of 2021.

Dan Carney is a Design News senior editor, covering automotive technology, engineering and design, especially emerging electric vehicle and autonomous technologies.