Ex-Ford engineers builds electric Mustang–so why can’t Ford?

100_0979

Kurt Neutgens is hoping to sell you an electric Mustang for just over
$75,000. A few years ago he quit his mechanical engineering job at the
Ford Motor Company and founded Plug-In Motors.

Working
out of his garage on a shoestring budget, like the very first
automotive pioneers, it did not take him very long to take a stock
Mustang, pull the engine out, add 2450 batteries, and add an electric
engine to convert the car to run of volts instead of gallons.

It
actually seems very simple to do when you think about it, but there was
a great deal of engineering involved to convert everything that once
ran on the gasoline engine, like the air conditioning, to now run on
the batteries, Neutgens said.

The good news is that at the
current cost of household electricity in Colorado, it only cost about
$2.30 to run the car for 100 miles.

The bad news is that the car
has a range of only about 80 miles, and that it takes 11 hours to
recharge it when plugged into a standard household 110 volt outlet.

Neutgens
recommends that potential buyers recharge the car from their 220 volt
dryer outlet which considerably decreases the recharge time.

So how does the car drive?

Like a standard Mustang with a bad case of the hiccups.

For those of you familiar with any of the Toyota or Honda hybrids you'll feel right at home behind the wheel of the E-Stang.

You
sit down behind the wheel, adjust the mirrors,  put the key in the
ignition, and turn it. Nothing happens except that the car starts to
softly hiccup as it builds brake pressure.

Next, simple flip the
switch on the new computer like center display to drive, and step on
the gas. The E-Stang whirls away quietly. In my short drive around the
neighborhood I was able to test the 0-50 time which was a somewhat leisurely 9.11 seconds.

Neutgens claims a faster acceleration time but you will very quickly drain the battery if you get on the volts too much.

And
that's really the one big downside to this or any other current
electric car. As you drive it you become hyper-sensitive to the state
of the cars batteries. "Will I make it back home," always seems to hang
like an unspoken question in the air.

"We see it as an around town car," Neutgens said when I asked him about this fear of running out of juice.

One
interesting feature of the E-Stang is the ability by the driver to
adjust the amount of regenerative breaking. The car has a sliding
switch which allows the driver to dial in little (or a lot) of
regenerative braking.

With the switch set to the highest
position you hardly need to touch the brakes to stop the car. It's a
bit strange at first, but you get the hang of it quickly.

Neutgens
is in Denver and Boulder this week taking orders and giving potential
buyers E-Stang rides. He has targeted Colorado customers because this
state has "by far" the best tax incentives to buy plug-in cars.

In
fact Neutgens says that if you make enough money, given the generous
local tax incentives, the car will not just pay for itself, but
actually make you money.

You can test drive the E-Stang yourself at Lakewood Ford in Lakewood on Friday, February 27 and Saturday, February 28, as Neutgens will be giving rides and taking orders.

Previous articleThe new Volvo XC60: it actually stops itself from crashing
Next articleSo why exactly do British drivers name their cars love machine?
Roman Mica is a publisher, columnist, journalist, and author, who spent his early years driving fast on the German autobahn. When he’s not reviewing cars or producing videos, you can find him training for triathlons and writing about endurance sports for EverymanTri.com as our sister blog’s publisher. Mica is a former broadcast reporter with his Master’s Degree in journalism from Northwestern University. He is also a presenter for TFLcar’s very popular video review channels on YouTube.