Get Ready for the Last Gas-Engine Ford Mustang—and an EV

Get Ready for the Last Gas-Engine Ford Mustang—and an EV

Gen VII Mustang to debut in Detroit next month will be replaced by an EV model in 2028, sources say.

When CEO Jim Farley told Wall Street analysts in Ford Motor Company’s second-quarter earnings report that an all-new Mustang would be unveiled at the Detroit auto show next month, he left unanswered whether it would include a much-rumored hybrid version.

The answer, according to industry sources is “no,” but a battery-electric Mustang based on the Mach-E’s platform will make its debut about mid-2028 to replace what will be the last internal-combustion model.

AutoForecast Solutions report that last ICE Mustang begins production in March 2023 as a 2024 model—a similar timeline for the departing Dodge Challenger and Charger. The Mustang Mach-E, which is sold out for the 2022 model year, easily offsets the ICE Mustang’s carbon emissions, so there’s no need for a hybrid. 

Five model years is just half the lifecycle of the current Ford Mustang (which premiered for 2015) and the 2005-14 model prior to that. But accelerated replacement of gas- and diesel-powered models seems to be the way of the automotive world since electric-vehicle development began to accelerate in response to aggressive net-zero emissions goals by various governments and corporations. EVs make up about 6% of US auto sales, up from less than 2% prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

The ’24 Mustang has been in development for much of the last decade and will be based on the rear-wheel-drive architecture of the Explorer and Lincoln Aviator. Those SUVs went from a front-wheel-drive, transverse-engine platform to longitudinal engine-RWD/AWD to give the new Mustang architecture sufficient volume for the budget.

This news may upset some baby boomers for whom Lee Iacocca developed the original Mustang, which launched in April 1964. Fans of the car took up a letter-writing campaign in the mid-1980s to stop Ford’s plans to replace the Fox-body Mustang with a new, front-wheel-drive V-6 model that instead became the 1989 Probe. But a Mustang EV has more of a future with Gen-Z customers.

The full-EV Mustang, probably a 2029 model, will be based on the Mach-E’s platform. CEO Farley told investment analysts in late July’s Q2 conference call that Ford is not developing dedicated EV platforms like General Motors’ Ultium battery architecture.

Ford announced in 2017 it would add a hybrid powertrain to the Mustang, based on the current model, for 2020—obviously, that did not happen. Ford has since developed EVs from conventional internal-combustion Transit vans and F-150s.

While the Mustang Mach-e is assembled in Mexico with a Chinese-built battery pack, the current Mustang’s Flat Rock, Michigan, assembly plant is the expected factory for the last ICE model and first BEV model, according to one source, who says the plant would not have enough capacity to build both versions at the same time. However, we’d expect low-volume, high-performance ICE Shelby Mustangs to be built toward the end of 2028 production and hit showrooms late in the year.

The Mach-E architecture very likely offers battery chemistry and technology that would better maximize performance and range in an EV Mustang, compared with an ICE-based model. Expect a lower, sleeker two-door body versus the Mach-E, which already comes standard as a RWD model (no Probe issues here).

Surely, Ford marketing professionals already are poring over nomenclature for a high-performance BEV Mustang, since Mach-E already is taken. So … Boss-E? Shelb-E? You’re welcome, Ford.

(Article by Todd Lassa republished from autoweek.com)

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