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One-off all-electric Ford Mustang: a test bed for new materials

21 July 2020

Taking shape without rules and the result of 10,000 hours of collaboration by Ford Performance and RTR Vehicles have built the Mustang Mach-E 1400, a one-off prototype that shows just how much performance can be harnessed without using a drop of fuel.

Following on the heels of the all-electric Mustang Cobra Jet 1400, the Mustang Mach-E 1400 is projecting 1,400 peak horsepower (1,419 PS) and more than 1,000 kg of downforce at 257 km/h (160 mph) from its seven motors – five more than even Mustang Mach-E GT. Three are attached to the front differential and four are attached to the rear in pancake style, with a single driveshaft connecting them to the differentials, which have a huge range of adjustability to set the car up for everything from drifting to high-speed track racing. The car also features an ultra-high-performance The 56.8-kilowatt-hour battery (installed) that is made up of nickel manganese cobalt pouch cells for ultra-high performance and high discharge rate. The battery system is designed to be cooled during charging using a di-electric coolant, decreasing the time needed between runs.

The chassis and powertrain are set up to allow the team to investigate different layouts and their effects on energy consumption and performance, including rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive. Drift and track setups have completely different front-end configurations like control arms and steering changes to allow for extreme steering angles in drifting. Power delivery can be split evenly between front and rear, or completely to one or the other. Downforce is targeted at more than 1,000 kg at 257 km/h (160 mph).

The Mustang Mach-E 1400 features Brembo brakes, like the Mustang GT4 race car, and a hydraulic handbrake system designed for drifting that integrates with the powertrain controls to enable the ability to shut off power to the rear motors. An electronic brake booster is integrated to allow series regenerative braking combined with ABS and stability control to optimise the braking system.

The Ford design team and RTR used many of the same tools Ford uses for its racecars and production programmes. Aerodynamics are optimised for shape and location, with a focus on cooling ducts, front splitter, dive planes and rear wing.

The car, which is set to debut at a NASCAR race soon, is serving as a test bed for new materials. The bonnet is made of organic composite fibres, a lightweight alternative to the carbon fibre that comprises the rest of the vehicle.

The chassis and powertrain work together for a multitude of setups offering capability unlike any other vehicle. The car is aimed at bridging the gap between what an electric vehicle can do and what customers tend to believe it can do.

“The challenge was controlling the extreme levels of power provided by the seven motors,” says Mark Rushbrook, motorsports director, Ford Performance. “Mustang Mach-E 1400 is a showcase of the art of the possible with an electric vehicle.”

“Now is the perfect time to leverage electric technology, learn from it, and apply it to our portfolio,” says Ron Heiser, chief programme engineer, Mustang Mach-E. “Mustang Mach-E is going to be fun to drive, just like every other Mustang before it, but Mustang Mach-E 1400 is completely insane, thanks to the efforts of Ford Performance and RTR.”

“Getting behind the wheel of this car has completely changed my perspective on what power and torque can be,” says Vaughn Gittin Jr, RTR Vehicles founder, motorsport champion and professional fun-haver. “This experience is like nothing you’ve ever imagined, except for maybe a magnetic roller coaster.”

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