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TESTED: 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E California Route 1 Beats EPA Range by 39 Miles

TESTED: 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E California Route 1 Beats EPA Range by 39 Miles

Ford's long-range variant trails the Tesla Model 3 Long Range by a single mile

  • A 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E California Route 1 traveled 344 miles in Edmunds' real-world range test, very nearly toppling the first-place Tesla Model 3 Long Range (345 miles)
  • The California Route 1 outperformed its EPA range estimate by 12.8%, which is consistent with the previous Mach-E that Edmunds tested in November 2020
  • Judging by EPA estimates, the Mach-E California Route 1 should trail the Model 3 Long Range by 48 miles, not one mile

The 2021 Mustang Mach-E is the hot new half-Mustang, half-SUV, all-electric offering from Ford. The Mach-E lineup offers a number of configurations that can travel varying distances on a full charge. Depending on which one you choose, the EPA estimates that you can travel between 211 and 305 miles per charge.

Currently, the California Route 1 is the sole Mach-E variant that gets the top 305-mile range rating from the EPA. We were eager to test the Mach-E California Route 1 on our standardized EV driving loop to see how it would fare in the real world.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E California Route 1.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E California Route 1.

Testing the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E California Route 1

For context, the California Route 1 isn't the first Mach-E that Edmunds has tested. Back in November 2020, we tested a Premium AWD extended-range model, which carries an EPA estimated range of 270 miles. On our real-world driving loop, the car covered 304 miles — an improvement of 12.6%. If the Mach-E California Route 1 could overdeliver to a similar extent, we knew it would be within striking distance of our current range leader at 345 miles, the 2021 Tesla Model 3 Long Range.

On test day, the Mach-E California Route 1 came through, traveling a total of 344 miles — 12.8% better than its 305-mile EPA estimate — to leave the Tesla in the lead by the slimmest of margins. Notably, the average ambient air temperature during the test was 58 degrees Fahrenheit, which is not far off the 53-degree environment that our Model 3 Long Range faced. Colder temperatures are not conducive to peak EV battery performance, and anything in the 50s is cold by Southern California standards, making these big range numbers all the more impressive.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E California Route 1.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E California Route 1.

Although EV range dominates the headlines, the flip side of that coin is energy consumption, which determines how much your miles will cost you. The unit of measurement for consumption, the kilowatt-hour, can be thought of as the EV equivalent of a gallon of gasoline. Just like gas, the price of electricity varies depending where you live. In Missouri, where it's the cheapest, you'll pay 9.4 cents per kilowatt-hour as of this writing, whereas in Hawaii it'll run you 32.4 cents.

So, how does the Mach-E California Route 1's consumption stack up? After charging the battery back to full, we calculated an Edmunds consumption rate of 28.9 kWh/100 miles, which is 12.4% more efficient than the EPA estimate of 33 kWh/100 mi. That's the good news; the bad news, however, is that the Model 3 Long Range returned an even more efficient 25.9 kWh/100 miles in our testing.

In other words, if we lived in Hawaii, our 345-mile jaunt in the Tesla would have cost us $28.95, while our 344-mile trip in the Mach-E would have cost $32.21. If we lived in Missouri, well, let's just say it pays to be an EV driver in the Show-Me State. Either way, a gasoline-powered rival would have cost significantly more. Running a 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 for 345 miles on premium would have set us back roughly $58 in Hawaii and $44 in Missouri at current prices, assuming we got the GLC 300's EPA-estimated 25 mpg combined.

For more information on how we test EV range and how each vehicle performed, we invite you to visit our Real World vs. EPA testing page, which includes both an EV range leaderboard and a table with detailed test results.

Edmunds says

The Ford Mustang Mach-E has now outperformed its EPA estimates on two separate occasions in our testing. It's also worth noting that Ford says you can safely charge the Mach-E's battery to 100% at home, unlike the recommendations from various other manufacturers, including Tesla and Volkswagen, advising a lower charge for daily use. That means you can utilize the Mach-E's full range capability without ever having to fiddle with battery charging settings. For our latest comprehensive ratings of all electric vehicles, head over to Edmunds' EV rankings, where you'll see that the Mach-E is the top-ranked vehicle in its segment.