Looking to explore how far it can push the limits of electric vehicle performance, Ford has created a version of its Mustang Mach-E SUV with seven electric motors that can produce a total of up to 1,400 horsepower.
The Mach-E 1400 is a one-of-a-kind demonstration car that was created to show the potential of all-electric vehicles and to help engineers research ways to increase their power, said Mark Rushbrook, head of Ford Performance Motorsports. The Mach-E 1400 is based on Mustang’s Mach-E SUV, which Ford will begin selling next year. The street legal Mach-E GT SUV will produce 459 horsepower from two electric motors.
Ford Performance created the Mach-E 1400 in collaboration with RTR Vehicles, a company founded by drift racing driver Vaughn Gittin, Jr. Drift racing involves sliding cars sideways through curves of a racetrack and the control of the driver and the style of driving is more heavily rewarded than the lap time. RTR specializes in parts and customization for Ford cars and trucks.
“We came together on this project, contributing a lot of ideas from different sources and developed it into what it is,” said Rushbrook. “Building upon Vaughn’s original idea of what he’d like to do for an all electric drift car and turning it into this extreme all-around athlete to do road courses and drag racing and everything else together.”
Ford also worked with other outside partners, as well as Ford’s in-house electric vehicle development group, Team Edison, to engineer the Mach-E 1400, Rushbrook said.
The Mach-E 1400 has three electric motors that power the front wheels and four more powering the back wheels. Power can be sent to all four wheels, just the front wheels, just the back or it can be split between front and back wheels in any proportion.
In addition to the regular regenerative brakes that most electric cars have – these are brakes that can generate power to recharge the batteries while slowing the car – the Mach-E 1400 also has a hydraulic handbrake that can stop just the back wheels for spins and tricks.
Despite the outward resemblance, few parts of the production version of the Mach-E appear in this car. This Mach-E 1400 has a specially designed chassis, and nearly all of the mechanical components are unique to this car. Most of the body is made from carbon fiber and the hood is made from organic composite fibers, a lower-cost alternative to carbon fiber.
The SUV has a 57 kilowatt-hour battery pack, which is smaller than the standard 76 kWh pack in the Mustang Mach-E production model. The batteries are engineered specifically for rapid power output. Driving range isn’t an issue for a track vehicle like the Mach-E 1400. It just has to run for about an hour at a time to show off its tire-smoking capabilities and maybe give a few vertigo-inducing rides. (It seats four people). Then the batteries can be recharged to 80% of their capacity in 30 minutes.
Last April, Ford unveiled the Mustang Cobra Jet 1400, a 1,400-horsepower electric Mustang coupe. Despite having the same power output, the rear-wheel-drive Cobra Jet and the Mach-E don’t share much of the same engineering, said Rushbrook. The two high-voltage vehicles were developed separately so that engineers could learn new things from each program, he said.
So far, engineers have already discovered ways to improve braking, electrical controls and battery chemistry, Rushbrook said.
“The Mustang Mach-E GT, as a street car, is going to be an incredible performer,” he said. “But we’re learning even more, beyond that, that is going back into the core part of the company.”