Toyota has unveiled the first of 15 new electric vehicles it plans to sell by 2025

Toyota_bZ4X_Concept_004
  • Toyota unveiled its new electric SUV at the 2021 Shanghai Auto Show.
  • The car is similar to a RAV4 in design, but rides lower and has a yoke steering wheel.
  • The new EV is one of 15 the company plans to make by 2025.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Toyota debuted its new all-electric SUV concept car on Monday at the 2021 Shanghai Auto Show.

The Toyota bZ4X is the first electric car under the company’s new Beyond Zero (bZ) lineup of cars with zero carbon emissions. It is the first of 15 fully electric cars the company plans to make by 2025 and one of seven under the bZ badge, according to a statement from CTO Masahiko Maeda.

The car is a compact SUV that looks similar to Toyota’s RAV4, but rides lower to the ground and features a longer wheelbase.

It’s the first car to be built on Toyota’s new electric e-TNGA BEV platform that the company created jointly with Subaru. Subaru is expected to unveil its own electric car on the platform shortly.

Toyota_bZ4X_Concept_006

The new car has several distinctive features, including a system that can use solar power to alleviate the impact of cold weather on the vehicle’s range, as well as yoke instead of a typical steering wheel. The car’s interior also has a large touchscreen.

The car company plans to manufacture the car in Japan and China. It should be available globally by the middle of 2022, according to the company.

Interior concept design of bZ4X

Toyota has not announced how far the car will be able to travel on a full charge, but it will likely be competitive with other EVs on the market, including the Ford Mustang Mach-E which has a range of over 300 miles.

Toyota also did not attach a price estimate to the car, but CarandDriver.com reported the vehicle may sell for about $40,000 – a similar price to Toyota’s RAV4 hybrid.

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Ford’s new Mustang Mach-E reportedly faces software glitch that’s left some owners unable to drive

2021 Mustang Mach-E Premium AWD
2021 Mustang Mach-E Premium AWD

  • Some owners of Ford’s brand new electric vehicle, the Mustang Mach-E, have reported battery issues.
  • Its smaller battery can reportedly stop charging when the car is plugged in, leaving it unusable.
  • Ford recently filed a service bulletin with a US safety agency disclosing the issue
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Some owners of Ford’s new Mach-E electric vehicle are reporting issues with charging their SUVs that leave them unable to drive.

As the Verge first reported, there appears to be a problem with some early Mustang Mach-E vehicles that cause the car to “brick” – that is, it’s unable to start.

Owners report that the issue occured when they tried to start their cars after leaving their cars plugged in to charge. According to the Verge, the car’s rechargeable lithium battery will sometimes stop feeding power to its smaller 12-volt battery when the car is plugged in. The result, the Verge reports, is the 12-volt battery has no power and dies, leaving the car unable to start.

Read more: Ford’s global business chief explains how it’s spending $6 billion to create US jobs in an EV-focused future

This issue is reflected in a service bulletin Ford filed with the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on March 25. In the bulletin, Ford disclosed that some early Mach-E vehicles “may exhibit the 12-volt battery becoming discharged while the vehicle is plugged in during the high voltage charging process.”

Ford did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

The “low voltage” issue affects some cars built on or before February 3, 2021, according to Ford. The car maker did not provide a number of affected cars, but told the Verge that a “small number” of Mach-E cars have the issue.

Currently, owners can only get the issue fixed by bringing their Mach-E into a local Ford dealer equipped to deal with electric vehicles, according to the report. Ford told the Verge that Mach-E owners will be able to fix the battery issue with a wireless software update “later this year.”

Ford only put the Mustang Mach-E on the market in late 2020. Ford reported it sold more than 6,500 Mach-Es in its first three months of production.

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How the Mustang evolved over 56 years, from sports car to electric car

  • The Ford Mustang continues to be America’s most recognizable sports car, and one of its most long-running.
  • But it’s about to undergo its biggest transformation yet with the upcoming all-electric Mustang Mach-E.
  • We break down all the changes and innovations the Ford Mustang has undergone in its 56 years that have made it so iconic.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Aj Caldwell: This here is Ford’s latest Shelby Mustang. At 760 horsepower, it’s the fastest, most powerful Mustang the company has ever produced. However, that monster of a machine evolved from a sports car that took 17 seconds to go 60 miles an hour. So, how did the first Mustang go from this to that?

To understand that evolution, we have to go back to the beginning. In the ’60s, Ford was looking to create a car for baby boomers that was different from the large sedans and family cars their parents were driving.

Commercial: The Mustang’s combination of hot styling, hot performance, and cool price will make it a big thing with the youth market.

Aj: So, in 1964, the company released its first Mustang. It was small but sleek and stylish. And although it wasn’t the most powerful car on the market, it had a lot of power for its size. Just how much muscle are we talking? Well, Ford’s top-of-the-line model packed a 4.7 V-8 capable of 271 horsepower. It went from 0 to 60 in 7 1/2 seconds. And while it wasn’t the fastest car on the market, Ford quickly discovered that those weren’t its limits.

Ford immediately saw the Mustang’s potential as a bona fide race car. So they brought in racing engineer Carroll Shelby. Carroll Shelby: Only Mustang makes it happen. These aren’t just words. It’s a fact. Aj: Shelby gave them not one, but two street-legal race cars with the GT350 and the GT500. The GT500 was given the same high-powered V-8 engine found in the Le Mans-winning GT40. This Mustang on steroids got adjustable shocks, upgraded wheels, a larger anti-roll bar, and, best of all, a starring role next to Nicolas Cage in “Gone in 60 Seconds.”

By the end of the 1960s, the Shelby Mustang, now being built in Ford’s factory, was given the company’s famous Cobra Jet engine. The Cobra Jet was based on the GT500’s previous engine, but upgraded with enormous valve heads, a bigger carburetor, and a special performance air cleaner. Allegedly, the Cobra Jet could produce over 400 horsepower, but Ford reported it at 335 so it could qualify for easier-to-win classes at drag races.

Ford’s Mustang was a colossal hit. They sold 22,000 cars on the first day and a million cars in two years. But its success sparked competition from Chevy with its Camaro and Pontiac with the Firebird. Ford needed bigger and bigger engines to compete. So the Mustang itself grew. But when tougher fuel-emission laws forced automakers to make lower power output, the company was left with a Mustang that was now bloated and boring. Sales tanked, and Ford had to rethink their prized pony car.

By the 1970s, big cars were out. Americans fell in love with European sports cars and Japanese compacts. Ford realized the problem and responded with the Mustang II. It was 500 pounds lighter and 20 inches shorter, but it also tossed that reputation for speed right out the window. Its tiny standard engine offered as little as 88 horsepower, and its one optional engine was a V-6 that barely made 100! The top-level Mustang took 12 seconds to hit 60 mph.

But Americans weren’t looking for horsepower, and oil prices had hit in ’73, and gas prices skyrocketed. The economy was tanking, and consumers needed to save money. Coincidentally, the new Mustang showed up just in time. It was the perfect solution because it was affordable and fuel efficient. Ford sold almost 400,000 units in just the first year.

But as the gas crisis ended, Americans were back to wanting big, fast cars. Ford answered with a 5-liter V-8 for the Mustang, but it was a far cry from the performance Mustangs were producing a few years earlier. At 134 horses, it barely got a top speed of 100 mph. It was time for the Mustang to go back to its roots.

Ford answered it up with one of its most iconic cars to date: the Fox Body Mustang. Ford had been using the Fox platform for everything from compact cars to station wagons. It had a unibody structure, flexible chassis, and wide engine bay. When they added the Mustang to that list of vehicles, it was an instant hit. Even today, its versatility has made the Fox Body Mustang extremely popular with car tuners.

Ford’s new pony car was both longer and wider, but it cut weight in its suspension. It weighed 200 pounds less than the Mustang II, improving gas mileage and reducing drag. But the muscle-car era had ended. The country was in an economic depression, and heavy fuel-emission laws were in place. Another oil crisis in ’79 forced Ford to shrink its top-level V-8 engine to a smaller one that powered the Mustang 0 to 60 in a less-than-exciting 10.8 seconds.

Ford tried to keep speed junkies and the EPA happy by introducing the Mustang’s first-ever turbocharged engine. It was a tiny little four-cylinder engine that Ford called the Lima and hoped could be a performance-level engine, but it constantly overheated, and Ford engineers just couldn’t figure out the kinks with turbocharging.

But Ford’s introduction of fuel injection changed everything. Up until then, engines relied on carburetors to mix fuel and air for combustion. But on a four-cylinder engine, some of the cylinders were further away than others, and you couldn’t guarantee the proper fuel-to-air mixture. With fuel injection, heavy air pressure is used to deliver fuel from the gas tank directly into the engine cylinders at precise bursts. There’s no longer a need for a carburetor. With the mix happening right inside the engine’s cylinders, the engine becomes more reliable, powerful, fuel efficient, and even has less poisonous emissions. This breakthrough allowed Ford to bring back the Lima, now even more powerful. The full-size V-8 was back too, and it was the Fox Body’s most sought-after engine.

Ford added a more aerodynamic design in ’87, and the Mustang’s popularity exploded again. The Ford Mustang’s base price cracked $10,000 for the first time in history. Sales plummeted, and people were over the Fox Body design. Surveys showed that consumers wanted something more reminiscent of the original Mustang.

For the Mustang’s 30th anniversary, Ford introduced the fourth generation. It had a new jelly-bean-type shape but featured nods to the original Mustang, especially in the cabin. In ’93, Ford assembled some of its best engineers and gave them one mission: Win over the world’s biggest speed freaks. They were called the special vehicle team, and they blessed the world with the Cobra SVT. With the Cobra model, we get the Mustang’s first-ever independent rear suspension. This means each wheel on the rear axle was able to move independent of one another, allowing them to stay planted even in the tightest turns. While the Fox Body still had the advantage in a drag race, the new Mustang was much better on the track.

For 2003, Ford added to the Cobra SVT’s upgraded engine the same supercharger found on the Ford F-150 Lightning pickup truck. It went from 0 to 60 in 4.5 seconds. Ford’s precious pony car was once again a street-legal race car. The Mustang’s No. 1 rival, the Chevy Camaro, couldn’t keep up. Sales plummeted, and Chevy axed the sports car. Mustang was now in a class all its own.

The fifth generation finally saw the Mustang get a platform of its own. For the first time in 30 years, the Mustang finally resembled the iconic design of its original. By 2011, Ford would add to it a brand-new V-8 known as the Coyote. This engine was rated at around 412 horsepower and priced at $30,000. With the Coyote under the hood, the Mustang had a faster Nürburgring time than BMW’s $60,000 M3. In 2007, Ford and Carroll Shelby would revive their partnership and produce the first GT500 in almost 40 years. By 2013, they were cranking out the most powerful American V-8 you can find on the road.

But that independent rear axle that was so well received was ditched to cut costs. But consumers didn’t care; sales skyrocketed. But two things were coming that were gonna ruin the party. The 2008 recession and the return of the Camaro. Chevy took note of the public’s reaction to the new Mustang, and it decided to revive its pony car. With one two-hour-and-23-minute commercial called “Transformers,” Chevy took back the market. The last five years of the fifth-generation Mustang were the worst five years of the Mustang’s sale history. The Camaro was America’s favorite pony car.

So, in 2015, Ford gave us what we know as the present-day Mustang. It’s an accumulation of all of the Mustang’s successes in the past. It has that beloved squared-off design from its very first model, and it finally balances fuel efficiency with performance. The short-lived, but popular independent rear suspension has finally made its way to standard equipment. Combined with the wider body for a low center of gravity, it makes for the best-handling Mustang in years. And an even faster version of the Coyote V-8, dubbed the Predator, has been put in the GT500, making 760 horsepower with a 0 to 60 of 3.5 seconds, making it the fastest street-legal car Ford has ever made.

Ford’s next Mustang isn’t quite the car you’d expect. The Mustang Mach-E is an electric crossover, but it is a return to Mustang’s original ethos. In a world where young people are more environmentally conscious, the Mach-E could be the company’s latest attempt at capturing the next generation of drivers.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in October 2020.

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A Ford executive took aim at Tesla, calling its self-driving software ‘vaporware,’ as competition between Tesla and the Mustang Mach-E heats up

Mustang Mach E GT Performance Edition 03
Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition.

  • A Ford executive took to Twitter to compare Tesla’s Model Y with Ford’s electric car.
  • The Mustang Mach-E will soon have similar self-driving features as Tesla offers for $10,000.
  • The new electric SUV is already starting to cut into Tesla’s sales.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A Ford executive took to Twitter on Sunday to call Tesla out on its “full self-driving” software, which is currently in beta.

Mike Levine, the automaker’s North America product communications manager, called Tesla’s software vaporware.

“Return those $10K full-self driving deposits,” he wrote on Twitter. “Mach-E customers drive away with a car. Tesla customers drive off with vaporware.”

Levine referenced a recent report from the Associated Press, comparing the Mach-E to Tesla’s Model Y.

The executive was responding to a tweet about dealers tacking on additional fees to the Mustang Mach-E.

“Any Mach-E customer who sees a dealer adding a markup can reach out to me,” Levin wrote. “I’ll help them find another dealer. Good luck reaching out to Tesla to get your FSD.”

Recent data shows that just months after its full release, Ford’s Mustang Mach-E has already begun to cut into Tesla’s sales. In February, Tesla’s share of the US electric-car market fell to 69% from 81% the previous year due to interest in the Mach-E, according to a report from Morgan Stanley.

Ford is also looking to get into autonomous cars. In March, the automaker announced that its new Active Driver Assist program would be available for the Mustang Mach-E later this year for a $600 activation fee.

The software enables hands-free driving and would have level 2 autonomy, similar to Tesla’s current self-driving capabilities.

This is not the first time Tesla’s self-driving software has been criticized

After Tesla’s beta software was released, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said: “No vehicle available for purchase today is capable of driving itself.”

Soon after the software became available, there were several videos on Youtube showing the car missing medians and traffic lights.

Tesla launched the software beta in October and has since offered it as a $10,000 add-on. Tesla plans to release a more advanced version as a subscription offering this summer.

As a luxury car brand, Tesla’s self-driving software is designed to allow cars to park themselves, change lanes, and identify stop signs as well as potential obstructions. The program still requires a licensed operator. Similarly, Tesla’s autopilot system assists drivers by braking and steering for them when enabled.

At least three drivers have died while using Tesla’s Autopilot. The software has also been associated with several accidents. Just last week, a Tesla car that authorities said was using the autopilot feature crashed into a police car in Michigan. It was the second accident believed to be related to the software in Michigan this month.

Tesla’s self-driving plans are a large focus because it could help it compete with Ford’s Mach-E, as the two are set to go head-to-head.

Ford’s electric SUV release has been largely successful. The car was awarded SUV of the year by the North American Car, Truck, and Utility Vehicle of the Year Award in January, and early testers – including other Wall Street analysts – also gave it positive marks. JPMorgan said the vehicle could challenge Tesla inasmuch as Ford has more history and brand recognition.

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Wall Street analysts loved test driving the new Mustang Mach-E – and say it could be bad news for Tesla investors

Mustang Mach E
Ford reveals its first mass-market electric car the Mustang Mach-E, which is an all-electric vehicle that bears the name of the company’s iconic muscle car at a ceremony in Hawthorne, California on November 17, 2019. This is Ford’s first serious attempt at making a long-range EV and will be the flagship of a new lineup that will include an electric F-150 pickup truck.

  • Ford’s electric Mustang Mach-E is beginning to hit dealerships. 
  • So far, the crossover has impressed both media reviewers and Wall Street analysts. 
  • JPMorgan says the car likely won’t eat into Tesla sales, but it could boost Ford’s market value if previously hesitant investors are coaxed back to the name. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Ford’s Mustang Mach-E impressed media reviewers as it hit showrooms, and now Wall Street analysts are similarly enamored with the new electric vehicle.

A team at JPMorgan recently took the vehicle for a spin, less than a month after Insider’s own Matt Debord said the car was one of the most exciting he’s ever driven, “and walked away thoroughly impressed.”

“Its design is unique and we believe will appeal to many buyers, particularly as relates to its Mustang-esque styling cues, including sinewy sheet metal, trademark tail lights with sequential signaling, and a rakish side profile more emblematic of a sports coupe than a utility vehicle,” the team, lead by Ryan Brinkman, said in a note to clients.

“On the road,” they continued, “it was fun and exciting to drive.”

But the analysts stopped short of making a direct comparison to Tesla’s Model Y, seemingly the most direct competitor on the market today.

“We do not aim to argue that one vehicle is necessarily superior to the other (many consumers will continue to prefer the Model Y’s greater availability of semi-autonomous driving features and Tesla brand, while others will be attracted to the Mach-E’s styling and availability of a $7,500 federal tax credit),” they said.

Read more: New hires at Tesla’s German factory reveal what it’s like to interview with Elon Musk’s company – and why they’re leaving competitors for less pay

Rather, the issue for Tesla investors may be simply that Ford’s stock has more room to run. Not only has the name been range-bound for some time, falling about 4% last year, compared to Tesla’s meteoric – and often puzzling – rise in 2020.

“We see three negative implications for Tesla valuation,”

“(1) a growing number of compelling offerings will increasingly compete with Tesla for battery electric sales and share (of course while also growing the overall pie);

“(2) the sales of these offerings will place downward pressure on the demand from other automakers for Tesla’s valuable Zero Emission Vehicle credits; and – most importantly –

“(3) as single-digit P/E automakers increasingly roll out similarly attractive battery electric models, we believe it will call into question the perceived paradigm shifting nature of Tesla’s vehicles and business model and, in turn, its industry unique valuation.”

JPMorgan remains Wall Street’s most skeptical shop when it comes to Tesla, pegging the company’s value at $105 – or about an eighth of where it was trading Friday.

Another bear, RBC Capital Market’s Joseph Spak, threw in the towel on his previous valuation this week, upgrading Tesla to a neutral rating.

“There is no graceful way to put this other than to say we got TSLA’s stock completely wrong,” RBC said.

And as far as the future of Ford goes, both JPMorgan and RBC think there’s plenty of room for the stock – and the Mustang Mach-E – to run.

“While we do not expect Ford to rival Tesla for number of battery electric vehicles sold (although Volkswagen, with a $99 billion cap, may),” JPMorgan said, “we do expect investors to increasingly take seriously its competitiveness in this area.”

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Ford’s head of electric vehicles throws shade at Tesla, saying the new Mustang Mach E’s ‘roof doesn’t come off’

Mustang Mach E
Ford reveals its first mass-market electric car the Mustang Mach-E, which is an all-electric vehicle that bears the name of the company’s iconic muscle car at a ceremony in Hawthorne, California on November 17, 2019. This is Ford’s first serious attempt at making a long-range EV and will be the flagship of a new lineup that will include an electric F-150 pickup truck.

  • Ford’s first mass-market electric vehicle, the Mustang Mach-E, is hitting dealerships.
  • In an interview with Autoblog, the executive in charge of the vehicle took a thinly veiled swipe at Tesla’s well-documented quality lapses. 
  • “The doors fit properly, the plastics and other materials color-match, the bumpers don’t fall off, the roof doesn’t come off when you wash it, the door handles don’t get stuck in cold weather,” he said of the Mustang Mach-E. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Ford’s electric-vehicles czar took at thinly veiled swipe at Tesla in an interview published Friday, alluding to a string of issues reported by owners in recent years.

Darren Palmer, who’s helmed the automaker’s electric catch-up efforts since 2017, spoke to Autoblog about the new Mustang Mach-E. It’s the automaker’s first battery-powered car, and is entering an increasingly crowded field that’s overwhelmingly dominated by one name: Tesla.

“We want to pick up on early majority adoption,” Palmer told the website. While there are a bevy of competitors flooding the market, EV adoption is still relatively low and gas-powered cars still dominate roads, especially in the US. Electric cars accounted for less than 3% of all sales globally in 2019, according to IEA estimates, even as their adoption rate surges.

Vaguely addressing the elephant in the room, Palmer touted Ford’s century of manufacturing experience.

“The doors fit properly, the plastics and other materials color-match, the bumpers don’t fall off, the roof doesn’t come off when you wash it, the door handles don’t get stuck in cold weather,” he said, assumably referring to Tesla’s welldocumented quality issues of years past. In two instances, owners of Model Y vehicles said their cars roofs’ blew clear off the cars.

And in November, Tesla recalled nearly 10,000 Model X vehicles over a roof trim issue. The company did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

“When people see the true benefits of electric vehicles, it drives that want and desire,” Palmer said.

Read more: REVIEW: The Mustang Mach-E is Ford’s most important vehicle in decades – and one of the most exciting electric cars I’ve ever driven

 

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