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Ford: Mach-E platform could underpin electric Mustang coupe

A pure battery-powered Mustang is not expected to arrive in the near term, however.

Ford has confirmed that the Mustang Mach-E's platform architecture has been designed for flexibility, adaptable for a wide range of body styles including a Mustang coupe.

The company revealed the Mustang Lithium one-off concept at SEMA this year, tying an electric powertrain to the nameplate in its traditional coupe form less than two weeks before the Mach-E crossover made its official debut.

Speaking to Australia's Motoring, Mach-E lead engineer Ron Heiser noted that the crossover's architecture can be scaled to taste for longer, shorter, taller and lower models as the Blue Oval eventually expands its EV lineup. He did not directly address the timing of a Mustang Lithium production car, though he argued that "the market is eventually going to roll over to EVs." An all-electric Mustang coupe is consequently considered an inevitability.

The next-generation Mustang is expected to arrive within the next two years, retaining a commitment to internal combustion while adding a hybrid powertrain to reap some benefits from electrification. An all-electric edition is unlikely to be a high priority for development funds in the near term, however, as the sports-car segment continues to shrink. The Explorer, Escape and Edge all outsell the Mustang by a wide margin and Ford is apparently betting the average crossover buyer will be more receptive to EVs than the Mustang's traditional customer base.

Aside from its branding controversy, the Mustang Mach-E demonstrates a change in thinking among Ford's decision makers as the EV market continues to evolve. Traditional automakers until recently appeared to believe electrified cars needed to follow the Nissan Leaf and Toyota Prius format, despite years of waning interest in hatchbacks. The Tesla Model 3 may have served as a wake-up call in Detroit, receiving hundreds of thousands of pre-orders before Ford scrapped its planned "compliance car" in favor of the Mach-E and began developing an electric F-Series pickup to further hedge its bets.

The Mach-E platform's flexibility could make it easy for Ford to fast-track an electric Mustang coupe to production if muscle-car buyers warm to battery power faster than expected.

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