We were presented with the opportunity in late March for a quick trip out to Denver for a chance to spend three days in the new Ford Mustang Mach-E. How could we pass up a short vacation that would include figuring out some long-distance travel in an all-new electric SUV?
After such a crazy year, it was good to get on a plane, even if for such a short trip as the hop over to Denver. We arrived late on a Wednesday afternoon and shuttled to a local airport parking facility where we picked up the fully charged Mach-E.
The standard-range battery that was included in our test ride indicated that it had 180 miles to empty. The EPA estimate for the all-wheel drive standard range is 211. Ford is offering an extended-range battery setup that can get up to 270 miles in the AWD version and 300 in a rear-wheel drive only.
These are some pretty great mileage numbers and would definitely make longer vacations more practical. Being our first experience with an electric vehicle that would be our only transportation for three days had us learning and researching charging stations and how to accomplish getting more mileage added to the Mach-E, even before we arrived.
After leaving the parking facility, it quickly became apparent that everything included in an electric vehicle is run by the batteries. It took power to run the heat, heated seats and heated steering wheel, and the new Ford would adjust the mileage accordingly.
Now, we had plenty of range to get to Boulder where we would be staying for the next three days, but we still took pause to decide if we really needed the seats heated or the heat set as high as we normally would have.
We did find over the next three days that the all-glass top in the Mach-E was there for a reason, as it helped to keep the vehicle warm in the daytime, thus allowing us to not use the heat as much as we normally would. This same design would keep the SUV cooler in the summer, keeping the air conditioner off more.
After the short 42-mile trip to Boulder and another 20 miles to go out and get dinner, keeping warm and charging our phones, we were down to 98 miles remaining to empty. We felt that before starting out the next day we should get the battery back to 80% as recommended, as it can take up to two hours to get the next 20% charged.
Planning would become an important part of the next couple of days with the Mustang, as charge time would need to be included into our days — especially if we wanted to accomplish some of the longer distances we had in mind.
We decided that while Deanne finished getting ready for the day, Craig would go and charge the SUV. We had found the previous evening a level 3 charger less than a mile from the hotel. The first day, it only took 25 minutes to get to 80%. Seemed pretty easy, and with a little planning not a huge difference, and we had the Mustang right at 140 miles until empty.
About the only thing this new electric Mustang has in common with its iconic brother is the rear tail lights definitely scream Mustang. In the speed and acceleration department, the designers have left nothing in doubt that this is truly a Mustang.
Coming equipped with an electric motor that essentially has 346 horsepower and 428 foot-pounds of torque, it would really get up and go. There were three different driving modes: whisper, engaged and unbridled. It was a monster in the unbridled mode, shooting off the line, passing, whatever we needed, all in the quiet confines of an all-electric environment.
For us, it took some getting used to not having that huge engine noise come into play during heavy acceleration. On the bright side, with the smaller, yet very powerful electric motor, there is a small extra trunk space up front, that could even hold ice and drinks if needed.
Inside, the new Mach-E is all about technology and innovation, with a huge 15.5-inch portrait-oriented touch screen powered by SYNC 4A, which quickly became our guide and friend, helping us find charging locations and even learning quickly how we like to drive.
It ran wireless Apple CarPlay and included a wireless charger that became a necessity, as we were constantly using our phones along with the Ford SYNC technology. The driver control center was simply an elongated LED screen that would display speed, range and safety information for the driver and, when charging, how long to get to that wanted 80% charge.
The seats were very comfortable with a uniquely designed interior that went nicely with the new exterior. The center console between the seats would lift and was partially open, allowing for larger objects like a purse to be put in. There was also center storage space under the phone charger.
After our first full day, which included a nice lunch with our friends at Automotive Media Solutions that had provided the Mustang for us, a trip up to Red Rocks Amphitheater for some hiking and just general driving around the Denver metro area, we were down to 44 miles of range or 28% battery life.
So we figured the next morning it may take a little more time to charge but were not completely prepared for the almost one-hour charging time. Luckily, we decided on the same plan as the day before and Craig could sit and do emails and attend a Zoom meeting while waiting for the charge to complete.
We have always loved taking a trip to Colorado Springs and hiking in their city park, Garden of the Gods. It is like a small southern Utah-type area that is just on the west side of the city. The city was almost a 90-mile drive from Boulder, and a quick check of our new friend Charge Hub showed that there might be a Level 2 charger close to the park.
There was; however, it was in a private gated community, so of little use to us, as we had planned to plug in while we were there to get some charge back. Instead, we decided to spend the afternoon hiking around the park and go somewhere for a bite to eat later where we could charge close by on a level 3 charger.
After a great afternoon at Garden of the Gods, we found the charging station we wanted by using the SYNC system in the Mustang, with it even showing that the station was unoccupied. Best news, it was close to a Freddy’s hamburgers that we were excited to try out.
This is where we ran into our first charging problem. On a very busy Saturday afternoon, the Walmart parking lot where the EvGo station was located had both parking spots occupied by cars with handicap stickers on them. Apparently, the green painted spots right next to the blue painted handicap spots were assumed to be the same.
Luckily, there was a Sam’s Club located across the street with seven Electrify America charging stations where we could plug in so we could make it home, as we were down to 35 miles to empty and 26% charge.
This charge took almost an entire hour, giving us enough time to eat a leisurely dinner, yet still we had to wait 10 additional minutes to get back to that 80% mark. Cost to charge is right around 43 cents per Kilowatt hour. To put that in perspective, most Utah homes average 9 to 11 cents per Kilowatt hour. However, installing a level 3 charge station costs in the neighborhood of $25,000, so there is justification for the additional cost.
The math is kind of hard to do because not all the power is used to propel the vehicle, but it came down to about 14 cents per mile. To put that in perspective, the cost to drive a vehicle that gets 25 mpg at $3 per gallon is about 12 cents per mile.
Obviously, charging at home would make a huge difference in everyday driving, costing in the neighborhood of 2 to 3 cents per mile. But on a long-distance drive, it is going to take time and money to get the energy needed to get from A to B.
Good news is that running around in city traffic would give the Mach-E even more range, as it would regenerate power from braking.
After our three days of driving around the Denver area in the all-electric Mustang Mach-E, it was for all intents and purposes just like driving a normal SUV except for the way it got refueled. Electric cars are no doubt going to be part of our future, and we are excited for that to happen. In fact, we added an extra 220-volt plug in our garage for that time when we need to add a charger to it.
It took planning and a little extra thought, something that we were getting used to when we turned the Mustang in, but we know that technology changes will allow all of us to get used to driving electrified vehicles.
Base price: $50,100
Price as driven: $50,100