Ford v Tesla: The Model Y Meets the Mustang Mach-E
As the automobile market continues to undergo a gradual, but inevitable, shift towards battery electric vehicles, new rivalries are beginning to emerge every day. Not just between traditional automakers but also between long-time car companies and electric-only newcomers.
And while Tesla is considered the Goliath of the electric car industry at the moment, in the coming years the brand will be facing increasing competition from established automakers and their newly developed EVs.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the rivalry of the Tesla Model Y and the Ford Mustang Mach-E. Both vehicles are similar in size, shape, power and price—and both are extremely important to their respective makers. At this moment the Model Y is just beginning to reach customers, while the Mach-E is scheduled to go on sale later this year. Let’s take a look at how they compare in terms of both specs and emotional appeal.
At the moment, the cheapest Tesla Model Y available is the Long Range Dual Motor AWD variant which is priced at $52,990. Stepping up to the “Performance” model raises the price to $60,990. These prices are before any local or state incentives that can bring the price down.
Cheaper, standard range Model Ys and those with RWD layouts are set to join the lineup as well with a promised starting price of $39,000—roughly the same as the highly popular Tesla Model 3, with which the Model Y shares its basic design.
The Mustang Mach-E meanwhile will have a base price of $43,895 for its least expensive “Select” trim when it goes on sale in early 2021. From there, the prices for various models rise roughly in line with the Model Y, topping out the with the high performance GT model and its $60,500 MSRP. Again these prices are before local rebates.
Even more important is that Ford still qualifies for the $7,500 EV tax credit in the US while Tesla has sold enough vehicles to no longer qualify. This alone gives the Mach E a pretty sizable advantage in price for the foreseeable future.
Perhaps the most important question anyone asks when considering an EV is “how far will it go?”. When it comes to the Model Y and the Mach-E, the two vehicles line up pretty well here as well.
The cheapest RWD Mach-E will have a claimed range of 230 miles on a charge while the extended range RWD variant will go up to 300 miles on a charge. The high performance, AWD GT model will have a range of 250 miles.
The Model Y meanwhile comes in pretty close to that with 230 miles of range on the cheapest standard range model, and up to 316 miles on the most expensive long range AWD version.
If there’s an X factor here, it would be in charging infrastructure. The Model Y, like all Tesla vehicles, can use the brand’s extensive Supercharger network for convenient charging at places all over the country.
This gives the Model Y a significant advantage over the Ford, which will have to use a much more sporadic third party charging network if you attempt a long trip. This is likely to change in the coming years are charging infrastructure continues to grow.
While some might still consider electric cars purely for those who want to hug trees and save the earth, performance is a big part of their appeal—and there’s an interesting battle brewing between the Ford and the Tesla here.
The Model Y Performance will do 0-60 in 3.5 seconds and has a top speed of 155 miles per hour. While the Mach-E GT promises a similarly quick 0-60 time of “under four seconds.”
Both the Model Y Performance and the Mach-E GT bring additional high performance hardware to the table which help differentiate them from the lesser models. The inevitable race track showdowns between the two are certainly going to be fun to watch.
The “Cool” Factor
Finally, we get to the emotional appeal of the two vehicles. Both the Ford and the Tesla shape up pretty closely in terms of specs, but you are really buying into something different with each.
Despite being a relative newcomer to the auto industry, Tesla has already built up a legion of loyal fans and owners, arguably the most passionate and outspoken of any automotive brand out there. Some of them are converted enthusiasts from other brands while others are techies won over by Tesla’s forward thinking ways.
On the other hand, the Mach-E is car that will have to balance its futuristic nature and historic nameplate. It was a bold choice for Ford to apply the beloved Mustang nameplate to an electric Crossover SUV, but they are hoping the branding will lend a feeling of coolness to the Mach-E.
Despite Ford's vastly longer history as an automaker, there's a strong argument that Tesla is actually the established player in this particular segment and the burden is on Ford to win over some of the Elon Musk Fan Society with its ambitious Mach-E.
Along with the aforementioned competition of value, range and performance, there will no doubt be differences between the two in terms of owner experience, build quality and, reliability and manufacturer support.
Whatever happens, Tesla v Ford is shaping up be a very interesting battle in the months ahead.
And as another sign of how seriously Ford is taking this whole EV thing, check out the all-electric Cobra Jet 1400 drag car they just debuted.