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Ford’s Darren Palmer Talks About The Challenges Of EV Adoption

As automakers continue to work on developing electric vehicles, they’ve discovered that the EV world is much different than the ICE one. Ford has attempted to use every trick it has learned about the all-electric vehicle world in developing the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E, and now that deliveries of the automaker’s first such vehicle have begun, Ford’s Global Product Development Director for battery electric vehicles, Darren Palmer, recently discussed the automaker’s efforts to understand and perpetuate EV adoption with Autoblog.

Palmer likened EV adoption to the process the original iPhone had to go through to gain acceptance among traditional cellular phone users. Back then, Apple had to convince buyers that despite its shortcomings – shorter battery life and lack of a keyboard – the benefits made it a proper revelation. He believes that electric cars will have the same sort of impact – the key is to get buyers to give them a chance.

When Ford was developing the Mach-E, it also realized that today’s EV buyers are looking for vehicles that are desirable, not necessarily only practical. “When people see the true benefits of electric vehicles, it drives that want and desire,” Palmer said. “We want to pick up on early majority adoption. This is not looking for a niche, it’s looking for more.”

This is one reason why the Mach-E is a small crossover, instead of a sports car. “We sell hundreds of thousands of them. They are very useful in people’s lives,” Palmer said. However, he also admits that space was a consideration, and it was much easier to package batteries inside of a crossover. Palmer noted that once battery technology improves, Ford can then look at producing “a more traditional sports coupe.”

Regardless, Ford took great care to ensure the Mach-E presented a sporty driving experience worthy of its Mustang nameplate. “It is tuned to feel like a rear-wheel drive,” Palmer said. “When you step on the accelerator, you feel the car yawing around the center, being pushed by the rear wheels. This car is distinctly tuned to feel like a Mustang. In the BEV space, the vehicles usually feel flat or as if they are front-wheel drive.”

Finally, in somewhat of a slight directed toward Tesla and its sometimes-maligned build quality, Palmer notes that Ford is working hard to ensure the Mach-E is essentially flawless. “The doors fit properly, the plastics and other materials color-match, the bumpers don’t fall off, the roof doesn’t come off when you wash it, the door handles don’t get stuck in cold weather,” he said.

We’ll have more on the Mach-E and Ford’s electric future very soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for more Mustang Mach-E news and ongoing Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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Comments

  1. Ford Owner

    Ford’s dedication to quality and design will make the Mustang Mach-E a better sports EV than the Tesla Model Y. And having a Ford service center near by (mine is just a walk away) will remove any worries about getting stuck with an EV that needs an appointment and later wait up to a month for servicing. Ford has over a hundred years of manufacturing and servicing experience to know what buyers should get for their money. The Model Y may be faster but that is its only advantage over the Mach-E.

    Reply
  2. Dan Ross

    Why are they available in Texas but not Pennsylvania

    Reply
  3. Jordie

    It looks like a Focus Mach e. Mustang is a particular model but you made it a brand. Foretells Mustang as a 2 door sports coupe may be not long for this world. Electric vehicles are following a similar trajectory as the personal computer did decades ago but with a huge expense and little reward for being an early adopter. The reward being rapid obsolescence and no upgrade path. Think upgraded battery packs.

    Reply
  4. fpvfan

    Ever since it’s reveal, I’ve hated the Mach E and ever since Vaughn Gittin Jr brought out the RTR1400E Mach E, I’ve seen it’s potential and I love what RTR has done with it but my worry is what ford wont do with this vehicle. RTR has shown the potential of what electric performance can be just as Ford Performance has shown what electric performance can be with the Cobra Jet 1400E race car. Those are two very amazing vehicles and as far as electric goes, Tesla, Porsche, Audi, Hyundai and even GM are showing the world what can be done with electric vehicles. While I’ve gotten the positives down and out of the way, the problem still lies with the fact that this is a Ford vehicle and Ford has a defining history of doing not so smart things. This Mach E thing looks alot more like a Focus (as mentioned above) than it does a Mustang. Now that statement by itself isn’t necessarily terrible when you think about vehicles such as the Focus ST and the Focus RS as they were honest to goodness decent vehicles both inside and out. Granted I’m overweight and the seats in the RS hug a bit too tight, they weren’t bad. If I were going to give the Mach E some styling cues (say upgrade packages such a a GT PP1 and GT PP2) I would probably look at the Focus ST and Focus RS and check out what was out there for them through the aftermarket and say, hey, lets do some of this Ford the Mach E. Vented hoods, RS style rear spoiler, RS style aero upgrades, wider fenders, rear diffusers, better wheel options, bigger brembo brakes, handling upgrades, interior upgrades, A MUCH BETTER DASH LAYOUT, Recaro seats that are comfortable for American sized people, Sportier steering wheel design, A MUCH BETTER DASH LAYOUT, add in some alcantara and leather, oh and if i didn’t mention it before, i think A MUCH BETTER DASH LAYOUT would help this car a lot. I’ve got to be honest that dash is the absolute worse layout in any car in the history of the automobile. It is actually sho-nuff ugly! That screen throws the entire thing off and that after though of an instrument cluster, I actually want to know who though that was a good idea. it wasn’t. Ever look inside a Tesla model S? Their screen flows with the dash, not over takes the entire thing. Their instrument cluster is in the dash, Okay dont do and exact copy but for heaven sakes something a bit more like this, not tacky bolt on things that look like you took Velcro and stuck an I pad and an I-phone to a dash board. The Mach E should have more power than what the GT is pushing out. the minimum number should be around 550hp, Also, with this vehicle, sound is a big thing and since Ford is Partnering with VW, it may want to see if VW will let them in on the sound tech being used for the Audi E-tron GT.
    The Mach E also needs a coupe and 4-door coupe roughly the size of the BMW 8-series coupe and gran coupe. Both Tesla and Porsche have figured out how to put batteries in cars so that line in the article about “once battery technology improves, Ford can then look at producing “a more traditional sports coupe.” is completely bogus and shows the absolutely laziness in Ford’s design and engineering teams. Make some 5-speed DCT electric power units, Give the car a combined HP rating of 550hp or better, drive modes, etc and let it loose!

    Reply

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