The Motown rivalry between General Motors and Ford never falters… or does it? After all, The General and The Blue Oval did recently collaborate on developing two transmissions recently. And now, GM Authority spotted a prototype of Ford’s upcoming electric crossover, believed to be called Mach-E, leaving the GM Milford Proving Ground. Though we didn’t get enough time to pull out our camera and capture the circumstance, we’re fully certain that it was the Mach-E prototype (pictured here), making us scratch our heads about what might be happening.
According to our sister site, Ford Authority, the Mach-E will be an all-electric, “Mustang-inspired” crossover that represents Ford’s first EV CUV to take on the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Hyundai Kona electric. The Mach-E name is a play on the Mustang Mach One moniker.
The Mach-E will have a fastback profile and a few Mustang-inspired styling elements. Mechanically, however, the Ford Mach-E will be based on a front-drive platform. The vehicle is believed to go on sale in late 2020 as a 2021 model, and pricing is expected to start around the $40,000 mark, with a confirmed range of 300 miles in the U.S.
And all that brings us to the real question: what is a heavily-camouflaged, pre-production Ford doing at Milford? After all, like General Motors, Ford has several of its own testing facilities around the world, one of which is the Ford Proving Grounds located in nearby Romeo, Michigan.
One could suggest that GM is benchmarking a competitor’s product, as we have seen the automaker do various times prior at Milford. However, GM benchmarks production models, rather than prototypes, and it’s far too early in the development of the Ford Mach-E for GM to get its hands on one.
Another remote possibility is that GM and Ford are collaborating on electric vehicles. The two automakers haven’t officially announced an EV partnership, but the duo did recently co-develop two transmissions – the front-drive 9-speed (for GM applications) and 8-speed (for Ford applications), as well as the rear-drive 10-speed transmission. As more automakers pair up to co-develop vehicles, especially EVs that continue being an unprofitable affair for all automakers involved, could it be possible that GM and Ford have quietly joined efforts on the electric front? We reached out to Ford for comment, and got a very clear “no” from Ford Global EV Communications Manager, Emma Bergg.
For its part, Ford is behind the curve when it comes to electric vehicles, as the Dearborn-based automaker hasn’t offered an all-electric vehicle since the Focus EV – a battery-electric variant of the Focus hatchback. Priced around $30,000, the Focus EV had a 115-mile range. By comparison, the current Chevrolet Bolt EV offers double the range (a total of 238 miles that’s up to 259 miles in 2020) and starts at $36,000. Meanwhile, GM is working on a Bolt-based crossover, dubbed the Bolt EUV, that should launch during the 2020 calendar year.
Time will tell what the Ford Mach-E was doing at the GM Milford Proving Ground. In the meantime, be sure to subscribe to GM Authority for more Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV news and around-the-clock GM news coverage. And if Ford is more your speed, then check out our sister publication, Ford Authority.