My year with a 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E (and why I just sold it)

I like to occasionally take a break from new car reviews and focus on my own buying experiences. I feel like people (often) ask me what I drive as an automotive journalist because they assume I’m pretty informed about what’s good, and I purchase accordingly. And I suppose that’s true, though the recent craziness in the car market, plus my own indecisiveness has made for a convoluted buying process of late. My last purchase was a 2021 Mustang Mach-E Premium AWD that I picked up at MSRP last January after calling it the “best all-around car I’ve ever driven“. However, after a little under a year, I just sold it. Here’s why.

What was good

Well, let’s do a quick run through of what was good about the Mach-E. If you read my review, and subsequent review of the GT version, you’ll see that I had a lot of good things to say about Ford’s portly Mustang. Even as a six-time V8 Mustang owner, I went in with the impression that they could have called it the Pinto Mach-E and I still would have been interested. It’s a sleek design with great proportions that integrate great styling elements of the Mustang coupe without looking like a 1st gen Cayenne or Panamera that failed miserably at integrating the 911 image into a larger vehicle.

And it was great to drive, with plenty of power on tap most most situations, a comfy ride, and plenty of room inside for kids and stuff. Oh, and I owned it during the era of $5.00 a gallon petrol prices. During that time, it was our workhorse, doing school runs both directions, commutes to the office (when we actually had to go) and more. It truly did exactly what we needed it to do, and the GLS 450 that my wife had sat idle except for long trips. Which brings me to a key reason why I sold it, long trips. Well, that wasn’t the only reason, but it was a huge factor. More on that in a bit.

If you read my column (is this a column, what makes a column? Jeff, can I have a column?) you’ll know that I took a cross-country (ish) trek from DC to TX and back in a 2022 TRD Pro 4 Runner to think through some shit. When I got back, I decided to make a change and am now separated from my wife. But hey, Toyota hit me up with a manual Supra that week I moved out, so that was nice. But, press cars aside, the Mach-E was now my only car. So I’ll cover the reasons I just sold it in rough order of priority.

My Premium with a 2021 GT.

What was bad

1. Long Trips

The Mach-E Premium for 2021 had a range of up to around 211 miles according the EPA. That real world number in the winter drops to around 180 miles or so. The cold can affect each EV differently, but that was my typical range with 100% battery. Once the Mach-E became my only car, trips to visit my aging parents became a challenge. It was during the 2022-2023 model year changeover that I started to notice it, with no press loans to lean on, I had to use the Mach-E to go to go visit for the holidays. If I turned off the HVAC, and didn’t drive like a hoon, I could coast into their driveway on fumes (or watts, volts, whatever). Then, I had to nicely ask one of them to drive me over to the university nearby to plug it in, knowing that my super-low battery wouldn’t top up on their 110 outlet quickly enough to return home a day or so later. So, long trips (of which I am a big fan) became problematic. But there was more to the decision than just that.

2. Charging Logistics

While it’s true that my new apartment does not have a charging area, the reality of public charging challenges was already imprinted on my brain long before the move. My phone has a folder of charging company apps, and I felt like every time I stopped to charge, I added a new one. Standing in the cold, while my 89 year old father stood nearby waiting for me to sign up for yet another app was one of the last straws. Lots of people have written about the crappy charging infrastructure, but when I was living in a house with a driveway and a garage, I didn’t really care.

Driving a Mach-E around town for school runs and errands means that you never really dip below 80%, so I would come home and plug it into the 110 outlet and it usually was close to 100% by morning. Occasionally I did an 80-mile round trip and needed something with some more juice. I would say that more than half of my public charging experiences resulted in a problem, whether it was a broken charging station or returning to find that the charging never actually started, or stopped prematurely. Even the range of charging pricing for similar offerings was unideal, my post about my first public charge resulted in a lot of “wow, that’s really expensive for what you got”. Once I was forced to rely solely on it, I knew I had to make a change.

3. The EV Community (Well, parts of it…)

Owning an EV was a generally positive experience despite the hurdles. I met a bunch of people online who were supportive and exchanged tips and tricks to make EV ownership easier. And then I met the Stans. Short for Teslastans, there is a rabid community of Tesla fans, not all of which actually own one, who will dump on any other EV other than the ones their fearless leader produces. My first posts about getting my new Mach-E brought them out of the woodwork, and I’m not even sure how. I didn’t tag #EV #ElectricVehicle or anything remotely related to Tesla, but they found me. Boy did they find me.

I only posted something on my Twitter about how I was excited to take delivery of my new Mustang Mach-E and they showed up in droves to dump on it, and on me, for making such a poor decision. I lived through the 1990s car forum era where people debated Ford vs. Chevy as well as enthusiastic fans would debate why their car import make or model was best. That was nothing like this, though I suppose we’re living in a new era of social media. It wasn’t the reason I got rid of it, but I won’t miss it.

Summary

So, yesterday I sold my Mach-E to CarMax. I did OK, with a final offer of $45,500. It was much better than the bait-and-switch experience at “We Buy Any Car” earlier the same day. It wasn’t quite Turo-bad, but I won’t be returning after their generous online offer of $46,240 dropped significantly (4-digits) in-person. In November, I could have sold my Mach-E to CarMax for $51,000, which is basically what I paid for it. Some poor decision-making on my part, where I agreed with my ex to wait until 2023 to sell it, cost me $5,500. She was concerned about us not getting the $7,500 tax break, despite my assurances that that wasn’t a thing. Oh well, you live and learn.

A new car is already in the garage here at the apartment, and with all the great press loans I’ve been getting, it’s…sitting idle. But it’s fantastic, and was yet another car I reviewed on here and loved. If you follow me on Twitter, you already know what it is, but stay tuned to an intro article at some point in the future. My EV experience is over, and I’m not anti-EV whatsoever, I understand that it’s the future. However, for the short term, I look forward to the flexibility of having a gas engine back in my life. Plus it sounds better.

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8 responses to “My year with a 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E (and why I just sold it)”

  1. Neight428 Avatar
    Neight428

    TLDR: Neight still hates the way this EV thing is playing out and confirms his biases in the author’s plight.

    The eventuality of death of the ICE that has become The Official Stance of Published Media seems contrived at this point, reeks of following The Narrative, and my tinfoil hat has a pretty high batting average lately.

    The forced shift irks me, especially with the dubious eco-green smokescreen and demonization of the vehicles I love in the era where they have become so damned good. EV’s may eventually come to dominate the market organically, but there is a limit to how long and far you can bribe people to endure inconveniences for no actual benefit to anyone, and bribery is all that has kept the idea afloat for a decade now with no end in sight. I don’t see much difference between a Mach-E and an Infiniti QX55 except that no one is trying really hard to like an Infiniti, nor does it have a cheering section in the IRS regs.

    Seriously, putting aside the $5k he lost, the author stopped and listened to his ex-wife in the middle of a divorce, that’s the kind of irrationality EV policies are injecting into the market. People are taking all manner of risks and enduring what they otherwise wouldn’t for no benefit, there is so much value destruction in these things, it just offends my inner bean counter.

    (If that comes across poorly, my apologies to Mr. Byrd, I do not mean to make light of your situation and wish you the absolute best)

    There are so many people for whom they are completely unworkable, and the tech is not improving much; to say nothing of the infrastructure that will be required to make it workable. It’s all perverse incentives and moral hazard leading to a reality that doesn’t mesh with the promises. Bribe apartment developers to install chargers, and you have to set up an entire regulatory and enforcement ecosystem to make sure they work until they are actually in demand. In a world where airlines have forgotten how to manage schedules and the electric grid is trying to run on moonbeams, I want a car that I can as far as my bladder will permit and end up where I want to go.

    Recurring EV rant over.

    1. wunno sev Avatar
      wunno sev

      i know people don’t like to hear it, but EVs are way better from a climate change perspective. i sort of hear you on the whole forcing the change thing but i do think it’s inevitable.

      governments have to force the market towards EVs because it’s how they get carbon emissions down dramatically over the lifecycle of the car, including manufacture and disposal. the need is urgent. so they’re going to do it. you are right that the change doesn’t come without it being forced. but it will be forced, and for what in my opinion is a pretty good reason.

      whether or not you agree that the reason is good, governments are moving that way, and will continue to do so. the media narrative isn’t independent of that. they see what’s happening.

      for what it’s worth, the people i know with EVs love them. granted i live in an area very where the infrastructure is very good, and most of them gave Teslas for which the infrastructure is even better. but my point is that a future exists in which life with an EV isn’t that inconvenient.

      1. Neight428 Avatar
        Neight428

        I disagree with a number of your premises, EV’s are an extremely low value impact to anyone’s climate model. You could remove every single ICE engined passenger vehicle from the US fleet and it would not clear the margin of error. Private vehicles account for ~5% of global emissions, you might cut that in half if every one of them was an EV. Further, if the world’s entire fleet of cars was electric by 2040, we would still need to burn the equivalent of 2013’s volume of liquid fuel to power the rest of the world. The best that could be said for EV’s environmentally would be smog reduction in places like LA or Mexico City with unfavorable geography, unless they still need substantial numbers of power plants, trucks, busses, trains, and operational ports too.

        The full life-cycle costs of EV’s involves an unfathomable amount of mining and related raw material refining and logistics for which there is no current market. Factories would need retooling, electric generation, transmission and charging infrastructure investment would take decades and crowd out meaningful value-added things that are needed. Prices for this entire value chain are arbitrary and politically set. Even if this process produced a valuable product at the end, the waste alone could have provided clean water for billions, built storm proof housing for people that have suffered at the hands of nature for centuries, and irrigate land to feed yet more. Instead, rich westerners are being made trillionaires out of this and it’s not changing anything in the climate. Follow the money.

        EV’s now are more expensive and less convenient, if the market makes them comparatively better, so be it, I’ll gladly buy one, but they are only inevitable to the extent they are forced on us.

        1. wunno sev Avatar
          wunno sev

          i agree EVs are not a single-shot solution to solve climate change, but that 5-10% (depending on your source) is part of a larger program. nobody is suggesting that EVs alone will solve our problems. it’s just very visible because it’s consumer-facing.

          i think most people also could not fathom just how much money, effort, and environmental hazard goes into mining oil. it’s an enormous quantity. the effort that goes into mining oil and gas is insane.

          anyway, we are not going to agree so i’ll just leave it there.

  2. michael powers Avatar
    michael powers

    Hello William

    Great article. I own a 2019 Model 3. 71000 miles. Love the car. Glad Ford has started to go electric too. Wife drives a 4 runner. They last forever. Sorry about your family news. But thank you for sharing. Best wishes. Michael Powers

  3. Sjalastan Avatar
    Sjalastan

    Hey, I return mostly for this column. Column all the way!

    But, yeah, it’s a reasonable move to de-EV with your current situation. Our house runs on 255V (always concerning electricians because we’re just outside the safe range of what should be 230V). I can’t imagine charging an EV at half that rate. When we were to purchase a new EV to compliment our 2012 Leaf and ditch our compact ICE Hyundai, the decision fell on not being able to put up a proper high-throughput charger. Our insanely steep and winter-void driveway means we’d have to put up a charger somewhere else and no neighbour would sell us the space. Without home charging, no EV.

    The other arguments…a crappy infrastructure is bound to improve, but I’m surprised to see the same issue persist (!) on r/Leaf and similar. More discipline among users, putting away equipment nicely etc., would go a long way, too.

    When it comes to Stans though – sad, sad people. I’m sorry they had an impact on your perception at all. I mean, I’ve been a car guy since birth, but relating that hard to a brand or corporate idea is nothing short of unhealthy. I have experienced the EV community to be exceptionally helpful, ressourceful and very open-minded. Then, again, no Musk disciples in my field of vision.

  4. gündem haberleri Avatar

    I’ve read several just right stuff here. Certainly price bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how a lot effort you place to create this kind of great informative website.

  5. Zentropy Avatar
    Zentropy

    Cool vehicle, but it’s a Mustang in name only. I wish they’d come up with an interesting new name and design language, rather than dragging the iconic badge into it. I’d rather the Mustang ride off into the sunset than become this, and I don’t even dislike it.

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