The pony-car world is all atwitter about Ford teasing its new high-performance Mustang — an electric one, supposedly — at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, but Ford itself is non-comital about the potential.
For those following the story, it started at last year’s show, when Ford introduced the coming Mustang and its plans for electrification by 2020, plans that included the iconic pony car to deliver the expected V-8 power, with the added benefit of fuel economy from a hybrid powertrain, AND the boosted launch that comes from the instant torque of electric motors.
Fast forward to this year’s press conference and Ford flashed up a video of a Mustang and a Ford SUV driving into the company’s Corktown facility (the place spearheading Ford’s electrification plans) before an electric bolt zig-zags down city streets and electrifies a MACH 1 logo.
Well … the visuals were enough to induce a storm of social media speculation that the Tesla-fighting high-performance electric Mustang Mach 1 is coming at the turn of the decade. Fueling the fire is that the Mach 1 designation has a history with the Mustang, having been introduced as the top-of-the-line performance Mustang in 1969, and then in successive generations — 1971-73 and 1974-78, before taking a 25-year sabbatical and returning to the Mustang lineup in 2003-04.
Ford, however, wasn’t so quick to confirm the connection, which is not to say there isn’t one. The connection is apparently the performance of Mustang, the platform of an SUV and the electrification-expertise of Corktown, and voila a high-performance model (no commitment of the vehicle from Ford, yet).
More than likely, though, is that Ford will go with a high-performance crossover to take on the Tesla Model X and Jaguar i-Pace (coming at the end of this year), though we’re not entirely sure Ford is committing to that either.
Company spokesman Mark Levine initially tweeted out the Mach 1 logo with the post that there was a “High performance battery electric SUV coming soon,” and followed that up with an explanation to Jalopnik, saying it was gauging if the Mach 1 name still has some cache with customers.
Could that mean if customers will only accept the Mach 1 name on a Mustang, we’re back to a high-performance coupe with a galloping pony? Executive Vice President Raj Nair told Jalopnik that Corktown would certainly look at a Mustang-inspired crossover, though he was quick to explain that a dedicated electric vehicle would have a dedicated electric platform.
So, we’re not going to see a high-performance electric Mustang? It’s anybody’s guess at this point.