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SEMA show: Ford unveils ballistic electric Mustang

671kW Mustang Lithium concept shows Ford is serious about electric performance

6 Nov 2019

IT MIGHT be heresy to some, but Ford has unveiled an all-electric Mustang concept with a V8-shaming 671kW of power, 1356Nm of torque and – in an old-school twist – a six-speed manual gearbox.


The ultra-high-performance Mustang Lithium made its debut at this year’s SEMA show in Las Vegas where Ford dropped the green flag on its $11.5 billion electric future that includes a Mustang-inspired electric SUV – likely called the Mach E – that is set to be revealed on November 18.


Developed in collaboration with parts supplier Webasto, the one-off Mustang Lithium prototype is not slated for production, although Ford says the vehicle is a testbed for battery and thermal technologies.


Ford’s chief product development and purchasing officer, Hau Thai-Tang, said Ford had made no secret of the fact it was electrifying its most popular nameplates.


“This one-off Mustang prototype is a great opportunity for us, together with Webasto, to showcase to our customers what a new electrified powertrain can do for performance in a car they already know and love,” he said.


Ford claims the Mustang Lithium has “stunning quarter-mile acceleration”, but no performance figures were supplied.


Before traditionalists scoff at the idea of an electric Mustang, bear in mind that the electrified version has almost 150kW more power and more than 500Nm of extra torque over the flagship supercharged Mustang R-Spec due in Australia next year.


The show car is clearly an attempt to claw back some ground from the likes of Tesla which has pulled out a long lead over the old Detroit brands in the EV market.


While Tesla has its Ludicrous mode, Ford has introduced its own version: Beast. This sits at the top of four driving modes – Valet, Sport, Track and Beast.


Unlike many high-performance electric cars, the Mustang Lithium has just one electric motor driving the rear wheels.


Ford says the single PhiPower dual-core electric motor saves weight and generates less heat than other systems.


Power is supplied by an 800-volt Webasto battery that can discharge a mega-watt of electrical energy. That’s about twice as much grunt as most other EVs.


While most electric cars do away with a multi-speed transmission, the Ford version sports a six-speed manual which appears to be a nod to the Mustang heritage rather than serving a practical performance purpose.


To handle the power and torque, the gearbox is a drag-strip-proven Getrag six-speed unit with billet-steel innards.


A Torsen differential and Ford Performance half shafts drive the rear wheels.


The Mustang Lithium is dropped 25mm lower than the standard Mustang GT and rides on 20-inch lightweight alloy wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres.


Apart from extra bracing for greater rigidity, the Mustang Lithium gets Ford Performance’s track handling pack, Brembo six-piston front brakes and carbon-fibre composite bits – including a bonnet with a see-through panel.


Ford’s new-generation production EVs include the unnamed SUV that will deliver at least 480km driving range when it appears in North American and European showrooms next year.


The vehicle that was teased recently ahead of its November debut is not destined for Australia.


The company says the electric F-150 will arrive “in a few years”. Before that, an F-150 hybrid will hit the streets next year.

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