Automotive

Ford goes beast mode in 900-hp electric Mustang ... and it's a manual

Ford goes beast mode in 900-hp...
No wheel motors here — the Mustang Lithium carries its electric motor under the specially designed hood
No wheel motors here — the Mustang Lithium carries its electric motor under the specially designed hood
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The Mustang Lithium build includes a composite rear diffuser
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The Mustang Lithium build includes a composite rear diffuser
"With more than 1,000 lb-ft of torque and more than 900 horsepower instantaneously available, this Mustang amps muscle car performance to a new level and helps gauge the level of interest the next wave of performance customers have in lightning-quick performance that only fully electric powertrains can deliver," Ford says in introducing the new prototype
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"With more than 1,000 lb-ft of torque and more than 900 horsepower instantaneously available, this Mustang amps muscle car performance to a new level and helps gauge the level of interest the next wave of performance customers have in lightning-quick performance that only fully electric powertrains can deliver," Ford says in introducing the new prototype
No wheel motors here — the Mustang Lithium carries its electric motor under the specially designed hood
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No wheel motors here — the Mustang Lithium carries its electric motor under the specially designed hood
Ford and Webasto equip the Mustang Lithium with a 900-hp motor and 800V electrical architecture
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Ford and Webasto equip the Mustang Lithium with a 900-hp motor and 800V electrical architecture
Icy blue highlights inside
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Icy blue highlights inside
The tablet-like 10.4-in touchscreen lets drivers quickly change between drive modes
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The tablet-like 10.4-in touchscreen lets drivers quickly change between drive modes
The Mustang Lithium includes a TurboDX charging solution and TurboCord portable charger
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The Mustang Lithium includes a TurboDX charging solution and TurboCord portable charger

Prior to today's start of SEMA 2019, we would have expected a collaboration between Ford and Webasto to relate to a commercial vehicle or perhaps a camper van like the Ford Transit Nugget. Instead, the two partner together on one of the show's most aggressive sports cars, an electrified Mustang capable of developing 900 hp and 1,000 lb-ft. Ford distributes all that torque with a fortified six-speed manual transmission, exploring the potential for a thrilling, engaging breed of electric sports car as it gets ready for a production EV offensive. Will the future of pony cars look like the Mustang Lithium?

Ford's already detailed its plans to expand its electrified vehicle lineup, starting with a Mustang-inspired electric SUV later this month, with hybrid and all-electric F-150 pickups to follow down the line. It's already opened the checkbook and plans to spend $11.5 million on electrified vehicle development by 2022.

So with this year's SEMA build, Ford worked with Webasto to explore what an all-electric Mustang would look like. Webasto supplies an 800V battery system capable of discharging a full megawatt. That battery fires up the Phi-Power dual-core electric motor that peeks out from under the see-through polycarbonate panels of the Webasto hood. In an unexpected twist for an electric vehicle, Ford routes output from the 900-hp e-motor through a six-speed manual, specifically a drag-grade Calimer Getrag MT82 transmission with billet internals built up to handle the 1,000 lb-ft of torque. Ford Performance half shafts and a Super 8.8 Torsen differential further distribute power to the lightweight 20-in Forgeline wheels wrapped up in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires.

Ford and Webasto equip the Mustang Lithium with a 900-hp motor and 800V electrical architecture
Ford and Webasto equip the Mustang Lithium with a 900-hp motor and 800V electrical architecture

Ford helps drivers manage all that electrified muscle via four individual modes with controlled amounts of torque. Valet, sport, track and beast modes are selected on the custom 10.4-in touchscreen.

Beyond the powertrain overhaul, Ford drops the Lithium by an inch (2.5 cm), cuts weight with custom carbon components, adds in a Ford Performance Track Handling Pack, bolts on Sankuer Composite Technologies side splitters and rear diffuser, and borrows Brembo six-piston front brakes from the Shelby GT350R.

"Ford has made no secret of the fact that we are electrifying our most popular nameplates,” says Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s Chief Product Development and Purchasing Officer. "This one-off Mustang prototype is a great opportunity for us, together with Webasto, to showcase what new electrified powertrains can do for performance in a car they already know and love."

Unfortunately, Ford doesn't yet provide an indication of what the Mustang Lithium's 800V electric powertrain can do for performance, offering no acceleration or top speed estimates more specific than "stunning quarter-mile acceleration." We have to imagine it'll leave the standard Mustang feeling a slight bit sluggish on the 0-60 sprint.

The Mustang Lithium includes a TurboDX charging solution and TurboCord portable charger
The Mustang Lithium includes a TurboDX charging solution and TurboCord portable charger

There should be more to come. The Mustang Lithium isn't presented merely as a SEMA show car never to be heard from again but as an active test bed for battery and thermal management technologies Ford and Webasto hope to bring to market. It's also designed to gauge market interest in an all-out performance electric car, and it's going to be hard to do that without giving the world a better feel for what "beast mode" is all about.

For now, we'll have to settle for seeing it standing still under the lights of SEMA, which runs through Friday.

Source: Ford

8 comments
T N Args
This thing could have been built in 1955 (electric cars are not new) and looks like a hot-rodded Cortina compared to where the likes of Benz EQS are heading. It would sell of course, being a Mustang. Ford have always appealed to those who prefer to reverse into the future. That's the Mustang's thing after all, right alongside the F100 (1950s) and Bronco (1960s).
Knut
It is not amazing to read how far "technology providers" can go to resist change. According to the laws of physics, there is no "optimal torque" for an electric engine. It will use some energy to start, but once rotating, you use energy to move faster and produce energy to slow down. There is no need for any transmission, and the wheels can hold the motor that pushes the car - 4 wheels and 4 motors Then the software can distribute the energy held in the batteries to the wheel that needs it and individually adjust the push from each wheel. The US escaped telecom technology in 1992 when they voted to not pursue international competition. It seems like the empire has not received a good enough dent yet. Elon Musk runs the only US company that can make cars at the moment. This Mustang could better use rubber bands, they do not emit anything but will only unwind pretty quickly. Here the gear can be used to make the rubber bands last longer.
buzzclick
Ooh, an EV Mustang with a 6-speed shifter and a clutch. That's certainly an improvement to an electric go pedal. The only thing missing is the rumble of an ICE motor, which I prefer.
Colt12
Ford is introducing the best of both worlds with this car. Drivers as of now prefer shifting and high horsepower. Selling the electric side of it will be much easier with this setup.
Gyula Bognar
This electric Mustang with unnecessary manual shifting seems like a car on the road to nowhere. Waste of good research money.
guzmanchinky
Very cool concept. Not sure I would need or want a manual, seems like an electric car can go faster without it, but maybe I'm wrong? I would love to drive it though.
Daishi
"plans to spend $11.5 million on electrified vehicle development by 2022" - Is that Ford's electrification budget or Webasto's budget for converting Ford's for auto shows? I know Ford is not an electric car company but Is this figure missing two 0s? Ford has an $8.2 billion annual R&D budget. If true that means out of about $32.8 billion in R&D in that time-frame just 0.035% of that is electrification.
warren52nz
I think Ford has missed the point by putting in a manual transmission. Fuel powered engines have a torque curve that peaks in the middle of the rev range and is low at low rpm and high rpm. Transmissions are there to keep the engine in its "sweet spot", that's why we keep seeing more and more gears in modern cars (the ultimate being CVT transmissions (infinite gear ratios). An electric motor's torque curve is a straight line starting with its maximum at zero rpm and no torque at its maximum rpm. Throwing a transmission into that sort of engine is a waste of time, hardware and cost. As if Fords don't have enough things going wrong already let's throw in a transmission that keeps breaking too. :-)