About a year ago, before the Mustang Mach-E broke cover, Ford’s motorsports division quietly started work on something outrageous: a one-off version of the electric vehicle that makes 1,400 horsepower. Now, the company is showing it off for the first time. Dubbed the Mustang Mach-E 1400, it’s a wicked-looking three-seater demonstration car that screams like a banshee and smokes tires like they’re kindling.
Equipped with a massive rear wing, aerodynamic bodywork, and seven — yes, seven — electric motors, the Mustang Mach-E 1400 has a top speed of around 160 miles per hour. It can presumably reach that speed in very quick fashion, though Ford says it hasn’t yet benchmarked a 0-60 mph or quarter-mile time.
Powered by seven — yes, seven — electric motors
The motors pull their power from a relatively small 56.8kWh battery pack (that’s about 75 percent the capacity of the “standard range” production Mach-E) made up with nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) pouch cells. Ford says these cells allow for “ultra-high performance and high discharge rate,” and that the pack is designed to be liquid-cooled while charging to quickly fill back up.
Still, A a battery pack of that size feeding seven motors will run out rather quickly. Since this is just a demonstration car, Mark Rushbrook, the global director of Ford Performance, tells The Verge the goal was to create something that could make multiple runs across the span of, say, an hour before needing to be recharged, all while showing the “extreme potential” of Ford’s EV technology.
As for those electric motors: four drive the rear wheels, and three drive the front, so the demonstration car can put down power in lots of different ways. It can run in all-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or front-wheel drive modes, and be easily tweaked for drag racing, traditional track driving, or drifting.
That this electric one-off can do massive smoky burnouts shouldn’t be a surprise, as Ford Performance built the Mustang Mach-E 1400 with help from professional drifter Vaughn Gittin Jr. Rushbrook says the company’s collaboration with Gittin Jr. was the result of some lucky timing.
“We as a company are making this big investment, $11.5 billion before the end of 2022 into full electric cars,” he says, “[so] we at motorsports started thinking, ‘Okay, well, how do we how do we become part of this?’” At the same time, Rushbrook says Gittin Jr. — who has a long history of working with Ford and building terrifyingly fast specialty cars — “started thinking about all-electric cars and what he might do with a high-performance version of one.”
Ford has reportedly considered entering Formula E, the young but exciting all-electric alternative to Formula One, and even had discussions with the Penske-owned team. Competing in motorsports is the typical way to showcase a company’s technology (and push it to its limits). Rushbrook says Ford Performance is keeping the door open to joining an all-electric racing series (a number of others have sprung up in Formula E’s wake), but also says there’s a benefit to having made the Mustang Mach-E 1400 as a one-off: “There are no rules.”
“There are no rules.”
That is why the car the company wound up developing is so absurd. While there are a good number of electric and hybrid supercars that make 1,000 or more horsepower, few do it with the overkill of seven motors. Rushbrook says this let his team practice “learning at the extreme,” especially when it comes to the thermal management of the battery, as well as the braking system. This helped inform the consumer version of the Mustang Mach-E, he says, which is due out later this year.
To show off the Mustang Mach-E 1400’s capabilities, Ford released a video of it drifting and doing burnout after burnout alongside some of the most recognizable performance variants, like the company’s NASCAR car, Ken Block’s Hoonicorn, and one of Gittin Jr.’s own custom Mustangs.
Believe it or not, this isn’t the first 1,400-horsepower electric Mustang to come out of Ford Performance this year. In April, the company debuted a drag racing Mustang powered by electricity. Ford Performance also helped create an electric Mustang with a manual transmission that was unveiled at last year’s Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show in Las Vegas.
But the Mustang Mach-E 1400 serves a far more specific purpose. With those other projects, the company was stuffing electric technology into Mustangs that were built to run on gasoline. This outrageous new one-off, though, is a modification of the first Mustang that was made to be electric from the get-go. It’s another way to sell people on the idea that an electric Mustang can go stupidly fast — even if it’s an SUV meant to fit a family of four.