Ford will start building an electric crossover saturated with Mustang elements in 2020.
Mustang-inspired is not similar to Mustang-based, so the Blue Oval that was showed at the 2019 SEMA show to tell what it’s capable of in the field of electrified performance. The Lithium concept promises to send an eco-conscious audience to EV nirvana.
Showing up as a lightly tuned 2020 Mustang, the Lithium was developed together by Ford and Webasto — a company more generally associated with sunroofs than batteries — to find out how to electrify one of America’s favorite cars. The current generation of the vehicle wasn’t styled with electrification in mind, but the power electronics fit nicely in an engine bay large enough to swallow a 5.0-liter V8. Carbon fiber body panels assist enough to offset the weight brought by the battery pack.
Technical specifications remain untold to some extent but Ford floated two surprising numbers: 900, and 1,000. The first is the Lithium’s horsepower, whereas the second corresponds to its torque output. To be more specific, this concept packs more power compared to a Mercedes-AMG E63 and a Volkswagen Golf R put together, and as much torque as Ram’s Heavy Duty trucks. An 800-volt electrical system, not like the one fitted to the Porsche Taycan cuts down on the time it would take to charge the battery pack.
Making a swift electric car is easy; getting one to manage like a true sports car is much harder. To that end, Ford and Webasto made suspension tweaks to make sure the Lithium provides the same type of driver engagement as a Mustang GT.
Look at the interior, and you’ll observe something unusual for an electric car: a stick-shift. Every electric car sold new in this year has two pedals, but the Lithium concept argues that demand exists for a battery-powered sports car that blends zero-emissions driving with the engagement of a manual transmission. It’s a six-speed unit along with a short-throw shifter.
The rest of the cabin is almost stock, though the Mustang gained a huge 14-inch touchscreen that shows an electric car-specific infotainment system during the transformation. Here again, carbon fiber parts (including the dashboard) assist to keep weight in check, while further setting the Lithium apart from a usual, showroom-spec Mustang.
Though Ford stressed the Lithium is a one-off model, it also stated it’s not afraid to include its most popular nameplates in its emerging electrification offensive. The F-150 will be benefitted with a hybrid option in 2020, and the Blue Oval is developing an electric variant of its popular truck that it will sell alongside its gasoline- and diesel-powered models. It is not going to be surprising for us to see a Mustang plugged into a charging station by the middle of next year.