Ford is in the midst of investing a whopping $50 billion in EVs – including $3.7 billion to fortify its Midwestern U.S. plants – with a goal of producing two million all-electric vehicles annually by 2026. The very first step in achieving these bold goals was the launch of the Ford Mustang Mach-E, the automaker’s first mass-produced EV. To date, however, we haven’t heard much about the development process of that particular model, save for the fact that Bill Ford liked his own Mach-E prototype so much that he didn’t want to give it back. However, it seems as if the original Ford Mustang Mach-E prototype didn’t exactly look like the pony car it’s named after – rather, it resembled something a bit more mundane, according to a new report from Wall Street Journal – the Toyota Prius.
At least, that’s what now-Ford CEO Jim Farley thought the very first time he laid eyes on the EV crossover. Back in 2017, Farley was the head of Ford’s European business, and he apparently didn’t think that the automaker was moving fast enough to get into the all-electric game with that particular region pushing for more EVs. Later that year, Farley returned to the U.S. to run Ford’s global markets business, but was apparently quite disgusted when he saw the Mach-E prototype for the first time.
“It looks like a Prius. That’s a joke,” Farley reportedly said. “What are we doing?” His reaction to the prototype prompted Ford designers to return to the proverbial drawing board and come up with what we now know as the Ford Mustang Mach-E, though the redesign pushed that project back by several months. Needless to say, Farley is a big fan of the end result, at least.
The rest, as they say, is history, but this is a pretty interesting footnote that proves Farley has been pushing Ford to develop all-electric vehicles – particularly appealing ones – for some time now. Soon, the automaker will spawn its own EV division – Model e – and focus on electrifying its “icons” and vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of under 8,500 pounds. But while Farley believes that mass EV adoption will begin next year, he also recently noted that he knows that electric vehicles aren’t for everyone.