Concept for Ford’s Mustang-inspired electric SUV reportedly coming this year

Ford will launch an electric crossover SUV boasting a 300-mile range in 2020. The model will be a performance-oriented offering with a design inspired by the Mustang and previewed in the teaser above that Ford released last fall.

The Mustang inspiration could even stretch to the vehicle’s name, as there are rumors it will be labeled a “Mach E” or even a “Mustang Mach E,” which were recently trademarked by Ford. However, we’d think Mustang Mach E is more appropriate for a plug-in hybrid Mustang currently in the works and also due in 2020. Originally, Ford was going to call its electric crossover a Mach 1, but backlash from Mustang fans persuaded the automaker to drop those plans.

We’ll have a better indication as to what Ford is planning later this year as a concept is set to be unveiled, Autocar reported on Tuesday. The British publication also claimed Ford will offer multiple battery options, suggesting the 300-mile version will be a range-topping option.

Bill Ford and the 2015 Ford Mustang

Bill Ford and the 2015 Ford Mustang

As for performance, Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr. in February said the crossover is “going to go like hell,” a reference to Henry Ford II’s order to drivers competing at Le Mans in the 1960s.

Underpinning the electric crossover will be a dedicated EV platform. The new platform will be one of five modular platforms the Ford and Lincoln brands will use for future vehicles. Ford’s new C2 platform found in the latest Escape and Lincoln Corsair will also support battery-electric powertrains.

Ford is working on many more EVs. A more mainstream electric crossover based on the C2 platform and similar in size to the Escape is also thought to be in the works, and the automaker has confirmed it is developing an electric F-150 pickup truck. Ford also in April announced a $500 million investment in Rivian, and said it would use the American EV startup’s modular platform for a future model.

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Tesla Model 3 with Track Mode takes on the Nurburgring with BMW M2 Competition

A Tesla Model 3 Performance with Track Mode recently took on what could very well be the world’s most iconic track: the Nurburgring. During the duration of the run, which was filmed from an accompanying BMW M2 Competition, the Model 3 Performance showed off its acceleration chops, overtaking several vehicles as it ripped through the track.

Footage of the Silicon Valley-made electric sedan and the German-made high-performance car was shared on YouTube by Marcel D., who owns the Model 3. The Model 3 was just delivered recently, and it was completely stock when its owner took it to the track. Despite this, the vehicle took on the twists and turns of the Nurburgring fairly well, at times even accelerating away from its M2 companion.

The Model 3 owner noted that his vehicle consumed about 100-120 km (about 60-74 miles) of range per lap. Despite the high power consumption of the vehicle, the Model 3 did not exhibit any performance throttling during its track session. The Model 3 was carrying three passengers during the run too, but it still handled very well, moving like it was on rails when it took on the tricky sections of the track.

The nature of the video, as well as the presence of the BMW M2 behind the Model 3 Performance, has resulted in some misconceptions about the two vehicles’ track session. A look at social media posts about the video shows electric car skeptics criticizing the Model 3 for being unable to shake off the BMW M2. Some internal combustion engine fans also hailed the Bavarian performance car for allegedly toying with the electric sedan. These assumptions are inaccurate.

It should be noted that the two vehicles were in no way competing against each other, considering that the people in the two cars were friends who simply wanted to test out the Model 3’s track capabilities. In this light, the Tesla definitely did not disappoint, and it all but showed that the track times of professional racecar driver Randy Pobst (who tuned Track Mode with Tesla) around the “Streets” of Willow Springs International Raceway in CA were no fluke. Pobst’s track times with the Model 3 Performance made headlines after it beat the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio and the 2011 Ferrari 458 Italia during a closed circuit test late last November.  

The Tesla Model 3 is among the vehicles currently breaking the mold and conventional assumptions that people have over the alleged limitations of electric cars. While even the best premium EVs on the market such as the Model S P100D tend to throttle their power when driven around a track, the Model 3 Performance is actually capable of maintaining its optimum performance during extended hard driving sessions. So impressive was the Model 3 that noted auto publication Top Gear recently declared the electric vehicle superior to one of the best high-performance sedans in the industry, the BMW M3.

Watch the Tesla Model 3 take on the Nurburgring in the video below.

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Tesla Model 3 with Track Mode takes on the Nurburgring with BMW M2 Competition

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Tesla’s Advanced Summon update is almost ready for release, says Elon Musk

Tesla’s remote control feature for car retrieval, known as Advanced Summon, is almost ready for release. In a recent update on Twitter, CEO Elon Musk noted both the impending timeline and that he was personally testing the self-driving feature over the weekend himself. Advanced Summon is a set of new features and capabilities that allow Tesla drivers to command their vehicles to drive to their location through the Tesla mobile app.

Tesla owners who are part of the all-electric car maker’s Early Access Program recently shared aspects of Advanced Summon that are expected to be included in the final release. These include the ability to recognize people and objects in the way of the car’s path. Also, smoother steering and a quicker commute to the summoning driver than what was demonstrated in the beta testing version are anticipated.

The current iteration of Summon utilizes a vehicle’s ultrasonic sensors to move forward and backward in a straight line for a maximum of 39 feet, whereas the new version will utilize data from Autopilot cameras to make longer trips that are self-guided. This update to data sourcing would, in theory, allow the car to also read signs in a parking lot to determine whether it was valid to park in an empty spot before pulling in, adding self-parking to the Advanced Summon set of features. That particular enhancement, however, isn’t expected to be released until next year with a further update.

Tesla’s advances in autonomous driving continue to raise the bar for other car maker’s to meet. The electric car maker’s Full Self-Driving computer is already being installed in vehicles currently being produced, and new Autopilot and Autopilot-enabled features are regularly being made available via over-the-air software updates. Earlier this month, Tesla released two Lane Departure Avoidance features that steer drivers back into their lane after drifting without a turn signal. The features are derived from Autopilot but don’t require it to be on in order to work.

The safety data Tesla has compiled statistically demonstrates that less accidents happen when Autopilot is used vs. when cars are driven manually. Based on this data, the company now includes the self-driving feature in all newly purchased Tesla Model S, Model 3, and Model X vehicles. The Lane Departure Avoidance features were added without further cost to Tesla’s customers, both actions being taken as part of Tesla’s “safety first” mission.

While most Autopilot features are dedicated to safety enhancements, Advanced Summon applies the same technology to further improve the Tesla ownership experience, adding both convenience and more fun to the mix.

Tesla’s Advanced Summon update is almost ready for release, says Elon Musk

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