Vehicles | November 7, 2019 1:59 pm

Why Did Ford Build an Electric Mustang With a Stick Shift? Because It Can.

The Mustang Lithium packs 900 horsepower, 1,000 ft.-lbs. torque and a big battery

Ford Webasto Mustang Lithium Electric Vehicle With a Manual Transmission
The only problem with Ford and Webasto's Mustang Lithium EV? This is the only one.

Ford needs to achieve two difficult goals simultaneously. First, the company needs to convince drivers that its electric vehicle technology — which has so far been nonexistent, but is coming soon — is reliable, safe and worth spending thousands of dollars on. Second, it needs to convince blue-blooded Ford fans that said EVs can match the classic models in speed, power and performance, whether we’re talking sports cars or work trucks.

Enter: The Mustang Lithium, a battery electric take on the classic muscle car that was unveiled this week at the SEMA trade show in Las Vegas. It packs an 800-volt battery system, puts out 1000 ft.-lbs. of instant torque and 900 horsepower, and sports an objectively cheesy abstract circuit-like design on the hood because it’s electric, get it?! But the most interesting feature is, without a doubt, the manual transmission.

Yes, this Mustang EV offers six-speed manual shifting. Wait a second, is that even possible in an electric vehicle? Yes, there are other companies who have played with the unnecessary pairing. The better question is: is it worth it? Even if you’re one of the few people who still lives and dies by the stick shift, it really isn’t. Part of the appeal of electric vehicles is the simplicity of their construction (and inevitable repairs) in comparison to gas-powered models, and this would most likely become a pointless hassle for anyone who bought one.

Ford won’t have to deal with that problem though, because the Mustang Lithium won’t see any commercial production.

“The Mustang Lithium build is not only a one-off prototype to showcase electrification on the world’s best-selling sports car but also a testbed for battery and thermal management technologies Webasto and Ford are creating for the growing e-mobility automotive segment,” writes the company in a press release.

How impressive is this test, then? As TechCrunch notes, “The Porsche Taycan is considered the first production vehicle equipped with a system voltage of 800 volts as opposed to the usual 400 volts found in most electric cars.” So Ford’s ability to match that here is a promising sign.

The real test though is coming on November 17 when Ford reveals its first mass-market EV, which, not coincidentally, is also a take on the Mustang.

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