Remember a couple of weeks ago when we showed you that spy video of a very modified Ford Mach-E drifting around like a loon at a North Carolina test track? We speculated that it might have been some sort of joint project with Ford and Ford tuning company RTR, and that’s exactly what it is. This is the Ford Mustang Mach-E 1400, a seven-motor’d prototype that makes a total of 1,400 horsepower, which I suppose is adequate for most uses.
If that big-ass number of electric horses is familiar, that’s because 1,400 HP from an all-electric drivetrain is the same as what Ford’s Mustang-based all-electric drag car, the Mustang Cobra Jet 1400, made.
The Mach-e 1400 is a much more flexible sort of vehicle, as it is designed for more than drag strip use—Ford’s press release says
“...this one-off Mustang Mach-E with its seven electric motors and high downforce is ready for the track, drag strip or gymkhana course – anywhere it can show how electric propulsion promises extreme Mustang performance.”
Ford also made a fun little video showing the Mach-e 1400 and a bunch of their other special racing projects in action:
The video shows a large iPad-style display that controls the features of the car, including “Unbridled” mode.
The drivetrain layout of the Mach-e 1400 is, as you can imagine with any seven-motor setup, pretty complicated. Ford describes it like this:
“Mustang Mach-E 1400 has 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.”
When they say “pancake style” that means pretty much what you’re picturing in your head, because the Yasa P400 electric motors used, each of which produces up to 214 HP and 273 pound-feet of torque, look like this:
That’s about as pancakey as an electric motor is likely to get.
So, a stack of three of these upfront connected to a differential, and then a stack of four of these connected to a differential at the rear. The stacks are with the motors vertical (not how you eat pancakes, normally, more like books on a shelf) and seem to be in the central tunnel area, inboard of the axles.
The motors are powered by a 56.8 kWh nickel manganese cobalt pouch cells battery pack, with a non-conductive di-electric coolant system to allow for cooling during charging and keeping charging times as short as possible.
The drivetrain options are pretty significant, as the press release describes:
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).
Off the top of my head, the only other AWD car I can think of that allowed all combinations (AWD, RWD, and FWD) is a Citroën 2CV Sahara, which had two engines, front and rear, and you could use them in whatever combination you wanted. I mean, it’s just three combinations, but still.
The Mach-e 1400 is certainly exciting and a wildly impressive test bed of what kinds of fun trouble you can get into with electric propulsion, just in case someone woke up from a coma they went into in 1989 and still thinks EVs are golf cart-slow.
Ford will show this thing off publicly at an unspecified NASCAR race soon, and while that should drum up some interest in the production Mach-e, all these cars really share is a basic unibody and that they’re both electric cars with more than one motor.
Still, it’s all pretty exciting.