Ford Draws on Past Power to Electrify Future

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Ford Draws on Past Power to Electrify Future

Bullitts past and present: ’19 Mustang Bullitt and ’68 movie car (right).

DETROIT – Exhaust fumes from a very special ’68 Mustang GT – one of two cars driven by Steve McQueen in the classic movie “Bullitt” – still hung in the air above Ford’s North American International Auto Show stand as Ford President-Global Markets Jim Farley shared the broad strokes of a future electrified performance vehicle coming from the Dearborn automaker in 2020.

It wasn’t evident whether many attendees at the media event caught the irony of breathing fresh hydrocarbons while learning about a future electric hot rod – it’s likely most still were enthralled by the juxtaposition of the now-historic Mustang GT 390 fastback and Ford’s latest Bullitt, a ’19 model introduced by McQueen’s granddaughter, Molly McQueen.

The newest Mustang Bullitt, sharing the same shade of green with its famous predecessor, carries on a tradition Ford started in 2001 with a special-edition Bullitt Mustang GT and continued with the ’08-’09 Bullitt.

The latest model, which goes on sale this summer, is a 50th-anniversary special-edition GT loaded with premium- and performance-package content. Powered by a 5.0L V-8 expected to produce 475 hp and 420 lb.-ft. (310 Nm) of torque, the engine gets open-air induction and the 87-mm throttle bodies and powertrain control calibration from the Shelby GT350.

A 6-speed manual transmission, shifted by a Bullitt-appropriate white cue-ball knob, is standard and sends power to the wheels via a 3.73-ratio rear axle.

Ford upped its own Mustang performance ante with the later announcement of plans to follow up the Bullitt and already potent Shelby GT350 with a 700-hp Shelby GT500 in 2019.

At the same Bullitt Mustang event, where the performance-oriented Edge ST and the adventure-seeking Ranger also were shown, Ford executives shifted gears to a completely different and electrified future.

That starts with the Mach 1, a battery-electric performance SUV with a 300-mile (483-km) range coming in 2020. The new utility will be developed by the electrified-vehicle team taking up residence alongside Ford’s autonomous-vehicle group in a renovated, 110-year-old former factory building near downtown Detroit.

Farley says the Mach 1 represents “the beginning of whole new world for our customers and electrifying the best of Ford.

“But can a battery-electric vehicle stir the soul?” Farley asks. “That’s what we’re all about at Ford and now we plan to do even more of it.”

The Mach 1 is one of the 40 electrified vehicles – including an F-150 Hybrid pickup due in 2020 and 16 full battery-electrics – Ford plans to introduce globally by 2022 as it completes an investment of $11 billion in electrification begun in 2015.

“We want to create a better tomorrow for all of us, and to get there we’re taking a fresh look at what’s to come,” says Bill Ford Jr., executive chairman.

President and CEO Jim Hackett adds: “This evolution is not about creating tech for tech’s sake.

This is about driving big global change on the human scale of cars and trucks.” @bobgritzinger

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