The new Ford Mustang Mach-E has been one of the more polarizing announcements to come out of Detroit in some time. Purists are so adamantly against a four-door Mustang that there is a petition being circulated to ask Ford to change the name. Others are happy to have an iconic name like Mustang brought into the electric vehicle (EV) world, even if it is not a two-door pony car. Now, rumors have spread that applying the Shelby badge might be in the works.
Ed Krenz, Ford Performance chief program engineer, is rumored to have said he was looking forward to applying Shelby characteristics to the Mach-E. Ford is neither confirming or denying the rumor, but it brings about several interesting questions. First, would the late Carroll Shelby approve of his brand on an electric car? Second, would a Shelby version of the Mach-E help quell some of the critical comments regarding calling a non-pony car a Mustang? Third, is the technology out there to make for a complete day at the racetrack without running out of juice before lunch? Krenz apparently has some work cut out for himself and his team.
This car is basically about a week old — no one aside from Ford employees has even driven one yet. So, how can car enthusiasts be so divided over this Mustang in such a short time? Change in the car culture world has never been easy to sell, — these are people who know what they like and no one can convince them differently. Brand loyalty and, more deeply, model loyalty are going to bring about rancor for anything new.
While those who rode in the Mach-E at the recent SEMA Show in Las Vegas report it to be impressive, one thing is for sure: A Shelby Mach-E — if, indeed, there is one coming — is several years away. The technology to make a EV good at the track and in commuter traffic is going to take some serious science and engineering. If Mach-E sales fall flat, will Ford even be willing to throw vital research budget dollars into a car that is not selling? Only time will tell.