Ford Gave This Electric Mustang A Manual But Not The Shelby GT500

All image credits: Ford

For this year’s SEMA show, Ford rolled out something both very neat and very puzzling. The car in the photo you see above is called the Ford Mustang Lithium. It’s an all-electric prototype, makes big power and also has a manual transmission. But why?

The Lithium Mustang makes over 900 horsepower and 1,000 lb-ft of torque from an 800-volt battery system. All that’s mated to a manual Getrag MT82 six-speed transmission that’s been fortified to withstand all the torque, according to a press release.

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It also has track handling pack, strut tower brace, Brembo front brakes from the Shelby GT350R, side splitters, rear diffuser and clear polycarbonate windows. The interior looks rad! I love all the blue detailing everywhere.

Though the car is still a prototype for now, Ford says that it is a “testbed for battery and thermal management technologies” that will undoubtedly be used in future EV products.

Here’s the thing with EVs, though. Nobody expects them to come with manual transmissions. By design, electric cars usually only have one forward gear. We’ve all accepted this. So why does the electric Mustang have a six-speed manual? It was already cool on its own with all the go-fast bits.

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If anything, the manual just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Another car Ford launched recently that you might have heard of, the Shelby GT500, seems like a car that’d definitely be offered with a manual. Especially so, given its history and performance orientation.

But the GT500 instead only comes with a seven-speed, Tremec dual-clutch transmission. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very nice transmission, and brutally quick when it needs to be, but it’s still not a manual.

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I now feel surlier than ever that this electric prototype got the manual, while the supercharged V8 Mustang, which is real and in production and you can buy, did not.

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About the author

Kristen Lee

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.