Still think electric cars are boring and a bit slow? Ford would care to differ, and ahead of the launch of its new Mustang Mach-E electric SUV, is showing off just what can be achieved with electric motors.
Seven electric motors
What can be achieved is hinted at in the name - the Mustang Mach-E 1400. Based, loosely, on the production model, the 1400 uses seven (yes, SEVEN) electric motors for a peak output of 1,419hp. Thanks to a massive set of wings, it can also push itself into the tarmac with 1,000kg of downforce at 257km/h.
"Now is the perfect time to leverage electric technology, learn from it, and apply it to our portfolio," said Ron Heiser, chief programme engineer, Mustang Mach-E. "Mustang Mach-E is going to be fun to drive, just like every other Mustang before it, but Mustang Mach-E 1400 is completely insane, thanks to the efforts of Ford Performance and RTR."
Designed to push the envelope
The Mach-E 1400 has been created in collaboration with tuning firm RTR, and took 10,000 hours to build. The whole point is to push the envelope of electric vehicle performance, as well as to create a wild show car that, as Ford puts it, is "ready for the track, drag strip or gymkhana course - anywhere it can show how electric propulsion promises extreme Mustang performance."
"Getting behind the wheel of this car has completely changed my perspective on what power and torque can be," said Vaughn Gittin Jr., RTR Vehicles founder. "This experience is like nothing you've ever imagined, except for maybe a magnetic roller coaster."
While the 1400 has been designed using many of the same systems Ford uses for production models, it has also been freed from the shackles of rules, or apparently sanity. There are three electric motors directly attached to the front diff, while another four power the rear wheels through the back diff. Both differential can be independently set up for track driving, drag-strip runs, or 'Ghymkana' full-on sliding and drifting.
"The challenge was controlling the extreme levels of power provided by the seven motors," said Mark Rushbrook, motorsports director, Ford Performance. "Mustang Mach-E 1400 is a showcase of the art of the possible with an electric vehicle."
Performance and battery drain tests
While the Mustang Mach-E 1400 is, clearly, a bonkers device, it's not entirely divorced from reality. Ford says that the chassis and powertrain are set up to allow the team to investigate different layouts and their effects on energy consumption and performance, including rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive. The 1400 can even have its steering and suspension control arms changed for different driving styles, to help investigate the extremes of electric car performance.
The 56.8kWh battery is made up of nickel manganese cobalt pouch cells for ultra-high performance and high discharge rate. The battery system is designed to be cooled during charging using a di-electric coolant, decreasing the time needed between runs.
The brakes, by Brembo, are borrowed from the Mustang GT4 racing car, while there's also a 'whammy bar' handbrake which, when pulled, also interrupts the power going to the rear wheels so as to set the 1400 up in some wicked drifts.
Most of the chassis and body are made of carbon-fibre, but the bonnet is made of organic composite fibres, which Ford says is a lightweight alternative to normal carbon-fibre.