The Mighty Ford vs. Tesla


The Mighty Ford vs. Tesla

Ford has emerged as a competitor of Tesla with the release of its 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E. The Mach-E certainly has the potential to catch up to Tesla’s current lineup, but Tesla’s models still rank as superior for multiple reasons. 

The Ford Mustang Mach-E compares best to the crossover SUVs of the Tesla lineup, which include, in order from smallest to biggest: Model 3, Model Y, and Model X. The vehicles in the Tesla lineup have a host of innovative features, like autopilot capability, that make it the electric car of choice.

In this article, we’ll discuss the differences between Ford (primarily the Mustang Mach-E) and Tesla models in further detail. With the two brands being new competitors in the electric vehicle market, now is an excellent time to dive into each available vehicle’s attributes.

Ford Electric Vehicles

Ford Motor Company has a long history of trying its hand at electric cars. Past plans have included concepts like plug-in cars and the ever-popular electric hybrids like the Ford Fusion. There have been a few production models of fully-electric vehicles, but availability has been limited until now.

In 2019, the company announced the Mustang Mach-E, scheduled for release in late 2020. The company also promised an extensive lineup of electric vehicles carrying the Ford name in the next several years. The goal of the Mustang Mach-E is to compete in the same market as the Tesla Model X and Model Y.

Tesla Electric Vehicles

Drivers in the market for a fully-electric car instinctively look to the Tesla brand, although competitors like Ford are beginning to emerge; this is because Tesla already produces an extensive lineup of fully-electric vehicles. 

There are four different models available in Tesla’s core lineup:

  • Model 3
  • Model S
  • Model Y
  • Model X

Tesla Electric Cars vs. Ford Electric Cars

So, what features do current year Tesla vehicles have to offer compared to the newest Ford Mach-E? 

Affordability

Up-front cost is perhaps the biggest hindrance for drivers who are interested in fully-electric vehicles. The big challenge for manufacturers is producing an electric car that will be enjoyed by the average consumer. 

Electric vehicles come at an up-front premium cost, although the selling point of these cars could potentially lead to savings in fuel and maintenance over time.

The Tesla lineup varies quite drastically in cost. The Model 3 and Model Y are the most affordable options by a long shot. The 2020 Tesla Model 3 RWD (rear-wheel drive) Standard Range starts at just $33,690. The Long Range Model 3 could be yours for as little as $42,690.  

Newly-introduced for the 2020 model year, the compact SUV of the Tesla lineup is the Model Y. This vehicle also is available for an initial purchase price lower than $50,000.

By comparison, the 2021 Mustang Mach-E opens up at an MSRP of $43,895 at the barebone select trim level. It should be noted that this is NOT an all-wheel-drive vehicle; instead, it is a rear-wheel drive. This is an engine and transmission layout that tends to cost less anyways, regardless of the specific make or model of said car. 

Given that the Mach-E is an SUV, it is most comparable to the Tesla Model Y. Tesla does not currently offer RWD layouts in the Model Y and Model X.

Thus, the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Tesla Model Y costs are too similar to declare one car the victor over the other in terms of affordability. 

To get a better sense of how these vehicles stack up against each other, the features and performance of each respective model will be further addressed below. (The Tesla Model X will not be forgotten either, as it should be left up to you whether its plethora of premium features are worth the higher cost.)

Engine

Both Ford and Tesla alike have installed dual-motor engines in their electric vehicles. This setup involves placing one motor at the front of the car and another at the rear. 

Both motors act on their own axles independent of each other. This type of engine only exists in vehicles that are labeled as AWD (all-wheel drive). Any car that has RWD (rear-wheel drive) will only have a single motor. The AWD layout’s advantage is the combined torque of the two independent motors, which leads to an improved response to road grip conditions and weight transfer in the vehicle.

If you are accustomed to driving through adverse conditions, then an AWD vehicle will undoubtedly be the better choice. Both Ford and Tesla offer AWD options at similar price ranges, so there is no clear winner here. 

However, it should be noted that those looking for a good SUV for urban driving may be pleased with what the Ford Mustang Mach-E has to offer. If you are someone who puts a fairly decent amount of mileage on your vehicle, then you are encouraged to spring for the dual-motor layout.

Battery Range

Tesla has spent several years working on improving the battery range of its core vehicles. Battery range is defined as the number of miles that an electric car will travel on a single charge. 

These numbers are estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Consequently, there is no difference in the way that Ford and Tesla assign such values to their vehicles and no cause for skepticism related to concerns about manufacturer gamesmanship.

The estimated battery ranges for the Ford Mustang Mach-E are as follows:

  • Select – 230 miles
  • Premium – 300 miles
  • California Route 1 – 300 miles
  • GT- 250 miles
  • First Edition – 270 miles

The estimated battery ranges for vehicles in the Tesla lineup are:

You’ll notice right off the bat that the Tesla vehicles have a slightly better battery range than the Ford Mustang Mach-E. 

The Model X is in a league of its own with a cost starting around $80,000.  You can see how years of research have benefited Tesla in this regard. However, the difference is perhaps not significant enough to choose one make over the other because of battery range alone.

Note: You are strongly encouraged to avoid letting the battery drop below 20% or charge to above 90%. Ensuring that the charge level falls within this range is recommended by the electric vehicle manufacturers to get the most out of battery life. 

Autopilot/Self-Driving Capabilities

If there is any one feature that sets the Tesla apart from the rest, it’s the autopilot/self-driving option. Ford is currently developing similar technology, but it is estimated that this technology will not be available until the third quarter of 2021.

The autopilot package in the Tesla includes a feature that will match your vehicle’s speed to the speed of the others on the highway when you are in cruise control mode. Your car will steer, accelerate, and brake automatically when this feature is activated. The autopilot feature can be activated with the purchase of its software from Tesla.

The fully self-driving capability is available for a higher cost and can also be installed with Tesla’s software. There are many benefits associated with this option:

  • Assistance for taking the right exit on freeways
  • Help with traffic stops
  • Changes lanes automatically when autosteer is engaged
  • Automatic parking feature
  • A summon feature that allows you to bring your car towards you from up to 200 feet away, as long as it is not on a public road

Ford has been developing a “hands-free” driver assist feature that will be available on 100,000 miles of highways in the United States and Canada. Elements within the Co-Pilot360 system includes automatic park assist, road edge detection, and assistance for blind spots. This system will first be introduced to the Mach-E, but Ford plans on adding it to additional models in the coming years.

As Ford continues to replicate many of the autopilot features seen in existing Tesla models, the system will become more and more advanced. However, for the time being, Tesla is the leading innovator in this regard.

Size & Cargo Space Available

As you will see below, the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E and the Tesla Model Y are nearly identical in size. The Tesla Model 3 is essentially a smaller version of the Model Y, and as such, is classified as a midsize sedan and not necessarily an SUV crossover. 

CategoryFord Mustang Mach-ETesla Model 3Tesla Model YTesla Model X
Seating Capacity555-75-7
Length(in.)186184.3187198.3
Curb weight (lbs.)4,349-4,9203,552-4,1004,4165,421-5,531
Front Leg Room (in.)41.642.741.841.2
Front Shoulder Room(in.)57.656.356.460.7
Rear Leg Room (in.)38.135.240.538.4
Rear Shoulder Room (in.)55.8545456.8
Cargo Space (cubic ft)59.6156888

(Source: Car and Driver)

A range is given for curb weight because of the influence that the engine’s weight has on the value. You will also notice that the Ford Mustang Mach-E battery and engine systems and the Tesla Model Y’s are nearly the same.

The most significant difference between the Mustang Mach-E and the Tesla vehicles is the amount of cargo space. The Mach-E has nearly ten less cubic feet of cargo space than the Model Y, while the Model X has it beat by a walloping 28.4 extra cubic feet of storage space. (These values take into account the rear seats being folded down.)

Despite their similar sizes, the Tesla vehicles certainly have the Ford beat in terms of cargo space. Although the difference is only slight, there is a little more shoulder room in the Ford Mustang Mach-E. This can affect overall comfort, but the difference is relatively small. 

It could be said that Tesla has indeed emphasized offering a reasonable amount of cargo space; this can make the Tesla vehicles more suitable for travel than the Mach-E. 

Dashboard Features

Both vehicles have dashboard setups that are much the same, as you will notice in further detail here. These dashboards hook infotainment controls up to a mounted tablet.

Although simplistic in design, the dashboard of Tesla vehicles does offer a host of features that optimize the user experience. In the center of the dashboard, you will find a tablet that exists as the control center for all the vehicle’s infotainment. The Tesla Model 3 has a 15-inch tablet mounted at the center of the dashboard.

With simple touchscreen controls, you can:

  • Activate the heating and cooling and set personalized interior temperature preferences
  • Pull up a navigation aid
  • Stream radio stations
  • Monitor your vehicle’s performance

Ford has taken a page out of Tesla’s book on the dashboard design. The 2021 Mustang Mach-E is outfitted with a 15.5-inch touchscreen. The infotainment features offered through this tablet are much the same as what is seen in Tesla’s lineup. You will be able to control your mobile phone from this tablet, using applications that are commonplace in center dash screens these days.

In this regard, there is no clear favorite between Tesla and Ford, as both manufacturers have emphasized that the control center for their cars be contained within the confines of a tablet. With that said, the days of manual control knobs in vehicles are quickly passing.

Interior Materials

The Ford Mustang Mach-E comes with either a Black Onyx ActiveX or Light Space Grey ActiveX interior. The ActiveX seating material is synthetic and designed to be resistant to stains; these materials are intended to be durable.

Tesla introduced a fully vegan leather interior for the first time in 2019. This even includes synthetic wrapping for the steering wheel, the one portion of the vehicle that manufacturers have had trouble making vegan. 

This puts Tesla one step further than Ford in this regard, as Ford states that the ActiveX seating is at least partially made out of leather. 

In Tesla’s 2020 models, the vegan leather materials are available in the Model Y and Model 3. However, durability is the primary concern with these materials, as they have been reported to possibly not last as long as other materials. Only time will tell how well these materials actually hold up, although they are promising for those looking to maximize their vehicle’s sustainability.

Glass Sunroof 

Both the Tesla Model 3 and the Tesla Model Y have expansive glass roofs that extend from the windshield to the rear of the vehicle; this offers a panoramic view of the sky to the car’s occupants. The glass is tinted for UV and infrared protection.

The Ford Mustang Mach-E has a panoramic fixed glass sunroof, but it is not as expansive as the Tesla vehicles’ glass roof. The Tesla Model X also offers panoramic views, but it is interrupted by the metal bars for the falcon wing doors at the vehicle’s second row.

Tesla’s Supercharger Network

Tesla’s status as the older sister in the family of electric vehicles means that its owners will enjoy several amenities that are still in the works at Ford. Take, for example, Tesla’s signature network of superchargers found in cities throughout the United States.

Superchargers come with the promise of charging a Tesla vehicle up to full capacity in as little as 30 minutes. Drivers can monitor their current charge levels from their mobile phones while running errands before hopping back onto the road. 

Note: Owners are not encouraged to use these services too frequently and should note that it does cost money to use these superchargers.

Still, it is good to know that the option exists should you ever find yourself in a bind where your car battery is low on juice. It appears that Ford is currently developing its own network of superchargers, following the company’s trademark of the name Fastor Charge.

Final Thoughts: Is Ford or Tesla Better?

Tesla has been seen as the leading innovator in the world of electric cars for several years now. However, as competitors begin to emerge, consumers need to address the differences between manufacturers. This way, the driver can make an informed decision when they commit to what will be a pretty significant purchase. 

It also helps consumers determine what to expect from electric car brands in the future as the market continues to evolve and grow and whether it’s worth holding off on their next vehicle purchase until further innovations have been made. 

So which electric vehicle brand is better? At this moment in time, Tesla gets the nod as the superior brand in electric cars compared to Ford; the company has spent several years researching electric vehicle design and still continues to be an innovator in this industry. However, only time will tell whether brands like Ford will eventually catch up to Tesla’s advancements in electric cars. 

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Greg

Hi, I'm Greg. My daily driver is a Tesla Model 3 Performance. I've learned a ton about Teslas from hands-on experience and this is the site where I share everything I've learned.

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