Ford’s Mustang Mach-E Endures Rigorous Ordeals, The E-Pony’s Worthiness

Auto News
Afiq Saha | 07-09-2021 11:45 AM

Bringing a new type of electrified toughness, the Blue Oval has put its first electric vehicle (EV), the Ford Mustang Mach-E, through a series of torture testing.

Aiming to change cynics’ sentiments on the durability of EVs, Ford engineers endured the Mach-E under similar challenging trials as the brand’s Built Ford Tough F-Series pickups.

Designed to go beyond typical consumer use, it has undergone tests ranging from extreme car washes and power sprayers to robotic butts and sharp gravel roads.

Ford’s chief program engineer for Mustang Mach-E Donna Dickson remarked, “We have gone to great lengths to subject the Mustang Mach-E to extreme tests. Stressing it much more than a typical consumer would, to help ensure it is ready to face the rigor of the open road.” 

To begin with, nearly 27 percent of patrons in America are uncertain if electric vehicles can get wet, be it driven in the rain or through a full car wash.

Hence, the team at Ford Michigan Proving Grounds used its onsite automatic car wash to show that the Mach-E’s exterior can get thoroughly wet and withstand the abuse of consumer washes.

Said test subjected it to 60 passes through a brutal, suds-free automatic conveyor wash complete with sprayers, brushes, and dryers.

Speaking of which, this process is the equivalent of a wash every two weeks over the span of more than two years.

Moreover, the Mach-E gets power blasted to check for leaks and other exterior damages from the water, the door frames, trim, cowling, badges, headlamps, taillamps and adhesives.

Done so using a high-pressure water sprayer, capable of pressures up to 1,700 PSI with a temperature of 140 degrees and sprayed at a short distance of about 12-inches away.

Next, the Mach-E gets ‘Butt-tested’. Ford tried just about anything patrons might subject their seats to, especially their derrieres.

As such, Ford engineers tested varying weight loads on the seats using a range of human body types by programming a robotic “butt” form.

This test is done to precisely simulate a person getting in and out of their Mustang Mach-E at least 25,000 times.

Apart from that, Ford also extensively tested the vehicle’s ActiveX seating material to withstand daily use and abuse through two different subtests.

First the chemical testing. It is to ensure the material doesn’t deteriorate against hand sanitisers and other similar items.

Second, the abrasion testing, which is to ensure the finish stays intact. It is done by simulating a 10-year use cycle and flexing of the seating material 100,000 times to assess its cracking resistance.

Then comes the infotainment’s screen sturdiness. A cracked touch screen is intolerable, especially one with as much functionality as the screen in the Mustang Mach-E.

Therefore, to curb this and ensure its durability, the 15.5-inch touch screen in the 2021 Mustang Mach-E uses a unique application of Dragontrail glass.

In addition to that, it sits on top of a high-strength magnesium mounting that can bear being pulled or bumped.

Dickson added, “The screen in the Mustang Mach-E is so crucial to the driving experience as it is the centrepiece of the interior. We knew we had to go above and beyond to ensure it is durable enough to withstand daily customer interactions. Think purses and bags hitting it, pets bumping into it, children playing with it and so on. You need that deep customer understanding to identify the potential issues and work to prevent them.”

Being a Mustang, its love for the open road is inevitable. Thus, for the last test, all Mach-E patrons are assured that their e-pony can be driven on the pavement and the gravel roads as well.

Consequently, to ensure a speckled-free paint job, the Mach-E was subjected to 300 miles (483 km) of stone-chip testing on gravel roads to assess the damage caused by small rocks and cinder.

Notably, Ford used two distinct grades of gravel stones to test as professional drivers whip the Mach-E over a stretch of scattered gravel on pavement at 60 mph (96 km/h) for 200 times.

Upon completing the first test, the team then switched out the gravel with an even sharper grade of stone and repeated the test all over again.

“Electric vehicles shouldn’t be limited to nicely paved city streets and suburbia. We tested Mustang Mach-E so that customers can confidently live on or adventure down gravel roads and not worry about their paint easily chipping,” concluded Dickson.

Overall, the 2021 Car and Driver EV of the Year, the Mustang Mach-E, is the upshot of years of vehicle engineering savvy and will ensure future patrons the confidence to take the leap to electric.

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