The Mustang Mach-E Rally is EV technology applied to an entirely untapped white space, vehicle engineering manager Rich Kreder says. (2024)

The Mustang Mach-E Rally is EV technology applied to an entirely untapped white space, vehicle engineering manager Rich Kreder says. (1)

Mustang Mach-E Rally boasts 480 hp, 700 lb.-ft. of torque.

SNOQUALMIE, WA – Ford is offering what it believes is the first-ever rally-inspired electric vehicle, complete with a new in-house electric motor.

The automaker is so confident of the 2024 Mustang Mach-E Rally’s abilities that it hired two professional drivers to tear up the DirtFish rally driving school’s course along with media during the recent first drive of the vehicle.

On hand were Adrien Fourmaux, a current World Rally Championship driver for M-Sport Ford, and Vaughn Gittin Jr., world champion drifter and off-road racing champion who drives the 2024 Monster Energy Ford Mustang RTR Spec 5-FD used in the Formula Drift Pro series.

The new e-motor, built at Ford’s Van Dyke Electric Powertrain Center in Sterling Heights, MI, was developed in-house by Ford engineers and will be used onalltrim levels of the Mustang Mach-E. Paired with a 91-kWh extended-range battery, the range of the Mach-E Rally is 265 miles (427 km).

The Mustang Mach-E Rally is EV technology applied to an entirely untapped white space, vehicle engineering manager Rich Kreder says. (2)

While the power (480 hp) is the same as the outgoing e-motor, the new version weighs about 10 lbs. (4.5 kg) less and its dimensions are more compact. It has a 9.7:1 final drive ratio (up from 9.0), enabling quicker acceleration. The Mustang Mach-E GT with the performance upgrade offers a 100-lb.-ft. (136-Nm) torque increase for a total of 700 lb.-ft. (952 Nm).

The team had to balance four key attribute objectives in developing the new e-motor: high output (torque/power), low loss (reduce copper loss and core loss), low NVH and small size (low weight, low volume and low material cost).

The previous motor was a BorgWarner unit, says Rich Kreder, Mustang Mach-E vehicle engineering manager. The new e-motor will be shared with the F-150 Lightning pickup.

“Obviously, it’s more cost-effective for us to do it in-house,” Kreder tells WardsAuto during the media drive. “I would say motors are a strategic part of a business in electric vehicles that we wanted to bring in-house and to have that capability. So, it’s more powerful, it’s lighter, it’s cheaper, all things good.”

The Mustang Mach-E Rally, starting at $59,995, is BEV technology applied to an entirely untapped white space, Kreder says, adding development of the e-motor preceded plans to offer a rally version, but the rally model does benefit from the increased torque.

The Mustang Mach-E Rally is EV technology applied to an entirely untapped white space, vehicle engineering manager Rich Kreder says. (3)

“Actually, the biggest improvements are on the base car, the rear-wheel drive, because if you think of the all-wheel drive and the GT and the Rally, they have two motors,” he says. “So, if you increase the rear motor, you’re only increasing half your power pack. In the rear-wheel drive, you get a 20% increase in torque, which is huge. So, to me, the rear-wheel drive has really transformed. It’s become much more performance-oriented than it was. The GT gets a nice improvement, but it was already fast.”

The rally version offers a 1-in. (25-mm) raised independent suspension and is equipped with specialty tuned springs and MagneRide shocks which help absorb the bumps and ruts, whether it’s on a rally course or real-world potholes. The front and rear motors also get protective aluminum underbody shielding.

Durable, gloss white 19-in. rally-style alloy wheels wear Michelin all-season CrossClimate2 tires that provide more sidewall and loose surface grip compared to the GT.

The vehicle was a blast to drive at DirtFish, a 315-acre (127-ha) facility that features dirt, gravel and mud courses. It performed well on a course rendered soggy by several days of typical Pacific Northwest rain.

We drove the first lap of each course in Normal drive mode before switching to the new RallySport mode so we could feel how the latter is more aggressive on throttle response. It is designed for off-road driving and allows for added yaw for bigger slides and better handling in loose corners.

On straightaways, the vehicle’s weight and low center of gravity make it feel firmly planted on even the loosest gravel. Going into the corners, the RallySport mode allows drivers to make the back kick out nicely while the front wheels stay planted.

During a demo hot lap on the course with Gittin Jr., I urged him to do a 360-degree turn. He obliged with two in a row.

Performance aside, the Rally version looks the part with a dramatic rear spoiler that takes inspiration from the Focus RS, two racing stripes, a black painted steel roof and a front fascia which houses built-in rally-inspired fog lights.

Ford created a rallycross course at its Michigan Proving Grounds in Romeo, MI, to test the new vehicle during its development, Kreder says.

“We had experienced rallycross drivers driving it, giving us feedback as we tuned and developed that and what you see today is kind of the culmination of that,” he says. “We told them, drive it like you race it.”

The Mustang Mach-E Rally is EV technology applied to an entirely untapped white space, vehicle engineering manager Rich Kreder says. (4)

The Mustang Mach-E Rally is EV technology applied to an entirely untapped white space, vehicle engineering manager Rich Kreder says. (2024)
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