Ford's bonkers 1,400-horsepower electric prototype was built with road course performance in-mind.
While we were all eagerly awaiting the debut of the 2021 Ford Bronco, the Blue Oval secretly had something else far more ambitious in the works: an insanely powerful, one-off version of its new pure-electric Mustang Mach-E. If you haven't yet seen the rundown, here are the most crucial bullet points: 1,400 horsepower, 7 electric drive motors, 2,300 pounds of downforce at 160 mph, and an 800-volt, 56.8-kWh battery pack capable of recuperating up to 80% of its charge capacity in just an hour.
So, that answers the "what," but what about the "why?" For that, our colleagues at InsideEVs spoke to Ford's Global Director of Motorsports, Mark Rushbrook.
The Mustang Mach-E 1400, born out of a collaboration between Ford Performance and Formula D driver Vaughn Gittin Jr.'s RTR Vehicles, was built to showcase the capabilities of the Mach-E platform and electric propulsion in general, Rushbrook says. Proving the vehicle's performance acumen might well prove critical to getting fans to support Ford's controversial decision to slap its iconic "Mustang" badge on a tree-hugging crossover.
But additionally, Rushbrook says, the Mach-E 1400 and bonkers moonshot vehicles like it are crucial to Ford's strategy of innovation and technology transfer. Ford's exclusive, limited-run GT supercar was a perfect example of this mentality, forcing the company's engineers to develop novel solutions that could, in the future, inform the way other, more mainstream products are built.
On the Mach-E 1400, nowhere is the spirit of innovation more apparent than the AWD powertrain, which employs three motors for the front axle, and four for the rear, stacked atop one another vertically. That's an unusual configuration, to be sure; Rushbrook says that the development team landed on seven motors after experimentation revealed it to be the right number given their targets with regard to performance, balance, and weight.
"When you push things to the extreme like this, you learn so much, and we can bring that back inside our company and help make our road cars even better," Rushbrook says.
The chances that you'll ever be able to buy this one-of-a-kind 1,400-horsepower Mustang Mach-E are essentially nil, but if it helps improve Ford's future pure-electric production vehicles, hey, we'll take it.