Can a first generation Ford electric vehicle be driven from coast to coast across the United States? That’s the challenge Ford took on to pilot a 2021 Mustang Mach-E’s from NYC to Seattle. The drive is a reimagined version of the 1909 Ocean to Ocean race, the first US transcontinental competition for motor vehicles. It was the idea to have the finish line at the ’09 Seattle world’s fair to boost interest in the event and show the durability of cars produced by a very young collection of automakers. The race departed New York City for largely unpaved roads. One of the two cars that Ford entered crossed the finish line first covering 4,106 miles and taking 23 days.
Ford exhibited a recreation of the winning Model T No. 2 at the launch event held at Classic Car Club Manhattan. Compared with the modern Mach-E, the Model T lacks a roof, windshield, heat/air conditioning, radio, and crucially GPS. It’s a bare-bones yet extremely elegant machine with some quite ornate details.
Sporting a paint scheme and graphics that nod to the Model T, the ’21 Mustang Mach-E won’t face any competitors or surface conditions compared to the 1909 event. It will also take a much less direct route to Seattle, 6,500 miles across 20 states in a span of 50 days. The route syncs up with an itinerary of event stops at a number of cities. The Mach-E will rely solely on the public charging network accessed through the FordPass app for the journey. The aim is to show current range capabilities along with the accessibility of the current charging network.
This being the first time I’ve had a lengthly look around the Mach-E, I’m still not in love with the proportions and styling. I still default back to the adage that design relates to function. There are more practical functional attributes that relate to a SUV or crossover and trying to overpower them with a sporty design is confusing. I get the need to make a new technology approachable and relatable, but this can also be a design limiter and a trap. So is the Mustang Mach-E a good start? Yes. Is it beautiful? I think the 1909 Model T wins that prize.
Photos and Text: Dave Pinter