After Bunkie Knudsen became president of Ford Motor Co. in 1968, Lee Iacocca felt distressed about changes to his baby, the Mustang. “As soon as Knudsen arrived at Ford, he began adding weight to the Mustang and making it bigger,” Iacocca griped.
Indeed, Knudsen was following his tried-and-true formula of installing a larger engine and beefing up the chassis and suspension to handle the extra horsepower. It had worked so well with the ’57 Bonneville and a bunch of Chevy SS models.
Introduced in April of 1964, the Mustang was light in weight (2,449 pounds for the coupe) and affordable at $2,368.
These things come to mind after Ford announced a price increase for the 2023 Mustang Mach-E. It’s the battery-electric SUV model that is said to be selling like hotcakes, although I may have seen five of them.
The Mach-E GT Extended Range nudges against the $70,000 mark.
In the humblest trim level of the Mach E, known as the Select, there’s a bellyful of 288 lithium-ion cells. The thing weighs 4,318 pounds. Between 1964 and today, the difference is 1,869 pounds. It’s been larding up faster than Uncle Ernie and Aunt Velma, who’ve now broken the supporting chassis of their trailer at both ends.
The Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition–belch!–is so heavy with 376 li-ion cells that placing a watermelon in the cargo area will take the SUV over 5,000 pounds. Range is all of 290 miles. You can drive around town real nice, but don’t take it to Vegas on a 110-degree August Friday and get caught in an I-15 traffic jam that leaves you idling.
Iacocca departed our oblate spheroid three years ago for a velour-upholstered paradise where even the transit buses have fake wire wheels. He was a sensible engineer from Lehigh and Princeton. He would note the increases in weight, complexity, and cost under the guise of efficiency, all making hay of a nameplate dear to his heart.
If our prayers are answered, he will transmit to Dearborn the plans for a reborn 1965 Mustang that costs $23,688.
CARB sets a deadline and means it!
Autoline Daily reports:
“Speaking to reporters at an event in Michigan last week, Gil Pratt, the chief scientist of Toyota says they’re doing a lot of R&D with e-fuels. He said the energy density is better than EV batteries and the infrastructure is already in place to move liquid fuels.”–Autoline Daily #3394
Porsche had recently announced it would develop synthetic fuel for its racing efforts. Next year, the NTT IndyCar will adopt renewable liquid fuel produced by Shell.
“This new product consists of a blend of second-generation ethanol derived from sugarcane waste and other biofuels to create a fuel that is 100% comprised of feedstocks categorized as ‘renewable’ under the applicable regulatory frameworks,” a Shell official said.
The new fuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by “at least” 60 percent.
The California Air Resources Board has just approved a rule requiring 100-percent of new car sales in California to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035.
Ah, we are on bended knee to the all-electric future! State government will throw another $10 billion at it.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statement: “We can solve this climate crisis if we focus on the big, bold steps necessary to cut pollution. California now has a groundbreaking, world-leading plan to achieve 100 percent zero-emission vehicle sales by 2035.”
Many wheedled Californians will plan to schlepp out of state because of one more noisome regulation.
What if the use of low-carbon biofuels–not to mention hydrogen fuel cells or liquid hydrogen in internal-combustion engines–leads to a par score or even outshoots heavy and expensive battery-powered vehicles by 2035? CARB’s mandate could be from Bilboland.
Danish rookie Lundgaard has two more chances
With my connections to Denmark, I’ve been pulling for Christian Lundgaard in the NTT IndyCar Series. He was 19th in the last race, but in the previous two he finished second at Mid-Ohio and sat second very late at Nashville, behind Scott Dixon, when a rookie mistake left the inside lane open, and Lundgaard ended up eighth.
The next Tuesday, Lundgaard appeared on a Zoom press conference hosted by Dave Furst of IndyCar. I don’t remember anyone asking about Nashville, and as a first-time participant in the forum, I was keeping my mouth shut.
Lundgaard is a cerebral guy who turned 21 in July, barely old enough to taste of any Champagne being sprayed around on the victory podium. He comes from a country town between Horsens and Vejle. I know someone who goes to farmer school in Horsens. If he had to, Lundgaard could figure out how to outpull anybody’s tractor in Mid-Jutland. But he’s driving a Dallara DW12-Honda instead.
He spoke of the step-by-step approach through the season and said he hadn’t thought too much about rookie-of-the-year honors. Instead, he wants to beat Graham Rahal, his veteran teammate at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, in points. With the final two races coming up soon at Portland and Laguna Seca, the rookie trails by two and a half smidgens.
The sage reporter in the upper-right Zoom window asked Lundgaard about enjoying his first summer in the United States. The size of the place, he said, is something new: you get on a plane, fly two hours, and it’s still the same country.
Sunday’s Portland race will show whether the Dane beavers his way to a win or ducks around in the pack.