2021 Tesla Model Y vs. 2021 Ford Mustang Mach E

If you’re not convinced the automotive industry is changing, pause for a moment and consider the fact that Ford makes an electric crossover that it markets as part of the Mustang family, and positions as an alternative to a model made by Tesla. This comparison was unthinkable a decade ago, when the Mustang was all horsepower, all the time, and Tesla barely existed.

Ford pelted the Mustang Mach E into a segment of the new car market that’s expected to grow exponentially during the early 2020s. One of its main rivals is the Tesla Model Y, which was announced earlier in 2019. Here is how these two electric people-movers compare in terms of design, technology, performance, and pricing. Keep in mind that neither model is currently in production,  so we haven’t been able to drive either. The comparison is largely hypothetical.

Design and tech

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so there’s little sense in evaluating which crossover looks better. We’ll just say the Model Y looks like a bigger Model 3, while the Mach E looks a little bit Mustang-esque. One significant difference is that Tesla fitted some of the Model 3’s parts to the Model Y (including the headlights) to save money, while Ford designed the Mustang Mach E as a new car from the ground up. It shares nothing other than an emblem with the emblematic two-door sports car.

Step inside the Y, and you’ll immediately notice that nearly every component comes from the Model 3 parts bin. That means it features a minimalist dashboard dominated by a television-like, 15-inch touchscreen that replaces a vast majority of the buttons, switches, and knobs normally found in cars. Tesla noted the Model Y offers space for up to seven passengers, though the three-row configuration is a $3,000 option, and up to 66 cubic feet of trunk space.

The Mustang Mach E isn’t as bare-bones as the Model Y. The driver faces a 10.2-inch screen that replaces the analog instrument cluster, and Ford kept a few switches for the sake of convenience. There’s a second, 15.5-inch screen on the center console. It’s portrait-oriented, unlike the Tesla’s, and it’s touch-sensitive to give the front passengers access to the infotainment system, among other features. The Mach E has spacious seating for five and 59.6 cubic feet of cargo space.

Performance

The Model Y is closely related to the Model 3, so there are no surprises on its specifications sheet. The rear-wheel-drive Standard-Range model has a 230-mile range, and it reaches 60 mph from a stop in 5.9 seconds.  Next up is the Long-Range variant, which offers up to 300 miles of range with rear-wheel drive, or 280 miles with all-wheel drive. Finally, the flagship, all-wheel drive-only Performance drives for up to 280 miles on a single charge, and performs the benchmark zero-to-60-mph sprint in 3.5 seconds. Keep in mind those figures can — and very likely will — change in the weeks leading up to the Y’s introduction, because Tesla has a proven track record of rearranging its lineup on a surprisingly regular basis.

Are you wondering about torque and horsepower? So are we. Tesla doesn’t release either figure, so we’ll need to wait until a Model Y owner puts the crossover on a dynamometer to get a better idea of the powertrain’s output.

Mach E buyers have more powertrain configurations to choose from than Model Y shoppers. It comes standard with a 75-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack that delivers 230 miles of driving range when buyers select rear-wheel drive, or 210 miles when they pay extra for all-wheel drive. Rear-wheel-drive models offer 255 hp and 306 lb-ft. of torque, while the all-wheel-drive variant’s torque output rises to 429. Horsepower stays flat, which is a little surprising.

There’s a 98-kWh battery pack available for buyers who want to drive further. Here again, range and output vary from model to model. Stick to rear-wheel drive, and you’ll get 282 hp, 306 lb-ft. of torque, and about 300 miles of range. Order all-wheel drive, and those figures check in at 332, 417, and 270, respectively. Last but not least, the hot-rodded Mach E GT offers buyers 459 hp and 612 lb-ft. of torque, standard all-wheel drive, and 250 miles of range. Phew; that’s it, we promise.

Ford pegs the Mach E’s zero-to-60-mph time at 6.5 seconds in its slowest configuration, and about 3.5 seconds in its quickest configuration. We can’t talk about how it handles without driving it, however.

Pricing and availability

Tesla expects to begin delivering the Model Y in late 2020, though breaking deadlines has become the company’s stamp of authenticity. Pricing starts at $39,000 for the entry-level model, and tops out at $60,000 for the Performance variant. Keep in mind that — as is normally the case with Tesla launches — the more expensive versions will likely ship before the cheaper ones. And, another point to note is that buyers will not be eligible to claim a tax credit for the federal government.

The Ford Mach E will also reach showrooms in late 2020, though some trim levels (including the GT) won’t arrive until the spring of 2021. Pricing starts at $43,895 for the Select model, and $60,500 for the top-spec GT. Buyers are eligible to receive up to $7,500 from the federal government, so the Mach E could cost as little as $36,395.

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