Ed Vorano has worked with internal combustion engines all of his life. Now retired at 77, his lifelong love of motorized vehicles began in the early 60s in Timmins, Ontario, where he began working on cars, motorcycles and snowmobiles at the family home. After attending college to become a mechanic, he’s turned wrenches on passenger vehicles, race cars, hot rods and then large trucks and heavy machinery. He’s really done it all.
He’s also my dear ol’ Uncle Ed, and on a visit to his home just north of Toronto recently, we caught up about life, which of course involved talking about cars. Our conversation weaved around to The Charge website, and it’s here where he told me something that surprised me, considering his experience with gas- and diesel-powered engines. “I’d love to drive an electric car,” he revealed with enthusiasm.
I realized that even he can see the writing on the wall, that EVs are the future. Being the good nephew that I am, I couldn’t just let that request go unanswered. And what better electric car for him to drive than the Ford Mustang Mach-E GT? Considering its namesake’s history of V8-powered, piston-firing performance, it’s a good meld of old vs. new for an EV introduction.
The Mach-E GT AWD is Ford’s performance edition of its electrified crossover, sporting 480 horsepower and a whopping 634 lb.-ft. of torque; for reference, the Mach-E Premium AWD is a distant second in the four-model lineup with ‘just’ 346 hp and 428 lb. ft. Compare that again with the Ford Mustang Mach 1 Premium with a flat-plane-crank 5.2L V8 that puts down 460 hp and 420 lb.-ft., and you get the idea that the Mach-E GT is quick. More on that later.
This GT with which I’m pulling into Uncle Ed’s driveway is in a Cyber Orange tri-coat paintjob, making it stand out sharply in these grey days of winter. He comes out and marvels at the shape, asking me about the power and acceleration – as you’d expect from a former mechanic. I also tell him this one, with option packages, is more than $90,000 ($82,995 base, plus the $800 for said paint job, plus $1,895 for a panoramic roof, $350 for an interior protection package and $2,545 for the Ford Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 package, with destination and delivery), which raises his eyebrows. “I didn’t pay more than $150 for my first three cars combined,” he laughs. I believe him.
But his brow furrows as I direct him to the driver’s door; the Mach-E doesn’t have regular door handles, but rather a little button release on the door pillar with a small pull; if you don’t know, like Uncle Ed, it can be confusing. The rear doors only have the button, but when pushed it pops open the door for entry. They help with aerodynamics, but it’s also a cool futuristic touch.
We’re inside and buckling in, and he has more questions. “Does it have a transmission?” (No, it’s direct drive from both the front and rear motors.) “Where’s the key?” (A push button activates the car with an audible chime, but of course, there’s no engine running.) “What’s the range?” (This GT gets 418 km on a single charge in ideal conditions, which is not quite as much as the 491 km of the Mach-E California Route 1, or the 480 km of the Mach-E Premium, but still more than the 370 km of the Mach-E Select base model.)
He also remarks how nice it is inside, and I have to concur. From the front seats, the dash is handsome and dominated by a giant vertical 15.5-inch touchscreen, which uses Ford’s Sync 4A infotainment system, while a 10.2-inch digital display sits in front of the steering wheel for an instrument cluster. The seats are a black synthetic leather, with more bolstering on the GT for spirited driving. The rest of the cabin is swathed in soft-touch, high-end plastics and a charcoal fabric with bright stitching for a cleaner yet sporty look. Rear passengers, meanwhile, have a plethora of legroom, and all passengers can bathe in the sun under the optional panoramic sunroof.
Ford also makes charging the 88.0 kWh battery found in the Mach-E GT easy. Normally, an owner would have a Level 2 charger at home, so they’d have a full charge every morning. But Ford also has its FordPass network, the largest in North America, which includes many different charging networks to simply connect via the company’s phone app or vehicle navigation. Or, you can just plug in to any other chargers, like I did with the PetroCan Level 3 fast charger just off Highway 400 near Alliston, ON; from 30 per cent charge, I went to more than 80 per cent in about a half hour (for less than ten bucks), good to stretch my legs and find some water at the associated rest stop before seeing Uncle Ed.
And then I have to tell this lifelong gearhead how to drive it. The Mach-E GT has the option of true one-pedal driving: to go, put it in gear and press the throttle, of course, but it won’t coast at all when you take your foot off. Instead, it instantly slows down with heavy regenerative braking, so much so that it will come to a complete stop if you want it to – the brakes kick in to hold it at the stop. For the uninitiated, it takes a few days to get used to, but once you do it’s startlingly intuitive; you can drive around all day without touching the brake pedal. Of course, the Brembo performance brakes are always there if you need them.
Ed backs the GT gently out of the driveway, and stumbles somewhat to the first stop sign, getting used to the throttle – and kind of chuckling along the way. “It’s like driving in first gear,” he says, and he’s absolutely right. But as we take a wide route around a few blocks, he’s getting it, even coming to a perfect stop at another intersection without touching the brake pedal.
What he won’t get on this drive is the difference between a ‘regular’ Ford Mach-E and the GT version; this one, with optional ‘Magneride’ active adaptive dampers, would be more suited to a track, giving the car more stability and performance to tackle hard cornering. It allows for a coddling drive but also gives the ability to tighten up the suspension and scream around corners on a closed course for enthusiasts, but we’re nowhere near being able to push its limits in this suburban area.
A brief drive around the neighbourhood, and Ed is done, not wanting to push his own limits with the Mach-E. So I suggest we swap seats, and I get in to the driver’s chair to show him something he didn’t really know about electric cars, especially not this one.
I drive to a secluded, quiet country road, and then I stomp on the throttle; the car rockets ahead, pushing us back in our seats. Ford says the GT gets to 100 km/h in just 3.7 seconds, even despite a curb weight of more than 5,000 lbs; that’s Lamborghini territory. Uncle Ed is laughing while clinging to the dashboard; “I’ve never been in a car this fast,” he cries out, chuckling. I can see he’s enjoying himself. It will continue its riotous acceleration until around 130 km/h, when it slows down to a more ‘normal’ EV performance.
I slow it down to legal speeds and take it back to Ed’s driveway; we get out and talk a bit more about the car, its one-pedal driving and its prodigious acceleration. He’s very impressed with the Ford Mustang Mach-E GT, and so am I; it’s a luxurious and well put together vehicle, offering plenty of tech and performance in a stylish package.
It’s my time to leave, but Uncle Ed gives me something to think about. “Thanks very much, Neil, I’ll remember this for the rest of my life,” he says as we bid our goodbyes.
He’s smiling. And so am I; it’s not every day you get to reveal the future to your uncle.