NEW YORK CITY -- Ford is unveiling a major transformation for an iconic American muscle car.
Meet the fully electric Mustang Mach E.
The automaker says its five-passenger compact SUV comes close to matching the performance specifications of the original Ford Mustang.
"Something that is going to be fast and efficient, fast and sustainable, fast and good for the environment, that's what we wanted," said Jason Castriota, global brand director of battery electric vehicles. "We wanted this idea of guilt free exhilaration."
The base model will have a range of about 230 miles per charge, with a long-range option of more than 300 miles.
"Typically it will tell you to stop for 20 minutes somewhere, and you might ask, is there any food there?" Global Product Development Director Darren Palmer said. "Touch. It will tell you. But are there mini charges there? Are they full? Press, and it will tell you."
It will go from zero to 60 in a little over six seconds, while the performance GT version will do it in about 3.5 seconds.
"Younger families wanted that vehicle," Castriota said. "They wanted something that was big enough to fit them, their family, their gear so they can do and have these road trips and experiences."
The base version is rear-wheel-drive, with all-wheel-drive options. It has the Mustang pony badge on the front and rear, a long hood and a fastback look at the rear. Yet designers preserved rear-seat headroom with a blacked-out glass roof.
"As soon as you come up to the car, it detects you, it loads your profile into the car," Palmer said. "After you have been using it for about an hour, it will adjust to the things you're doing...every car setting is there in one place in a row, so if you are searching for something, you can find it. You just browse."
The Mustang team set up the Mach E's chassis tuning, which determines its handling. Designers also copied the Mustang's triple tail lights.
U.S. orders are being taken now, and the SUV will reach showrooms next fall.
The base model will start just under $44,000, with the GT starting around $65,000. Ford buyers are still eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit, which is being phased out at Tesla and General Motors.
Ford has a deal with Electrify America and others for a national network that includes over 12,000 charging stations and 35,000 plugs, so EV owners can go on longer trips.
The company also will have 2,100 of its U.S. dealerships certified to service electric vehicles.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.