Ford has been nothing if not accurate in its predictions for the Mustang Cobra Jet 1400. Back in April it said the electric drag car would be capable of a "low eight-second quarter mile"; lo and behold, here we are a few months down the line with the Cobra Jet having clocked an 8.27 in private testing. With a terminal speed of 168mph. And a peak of 1,502 wheel horsepower. Hell's bells.
Ford has worked with Cascadia Motion on the Mustang 1400 project. The car uses four PN-250-DZR inverters, linked to two DS-250-115s Dual Stack motors from Cascadia; this means four motors total, spinning at up to 10,000rpm, running at 800 volts and up to 700 amps. Maximum output is 350kW per motor. This is just the 2020 equivalent of how people used to talk about carbs, cranks and cams, right?
That power is managed by a unique control algorithm developed jointly between Ford and AEM-EV, with the chassis overhauled to cope by MLe and Watson. "The opportunities to learn with the Mustang Cobra Jet 1400... gives us great insight into what may be possible in high-performance all-electric vehicles for Ford going forward", said Mark Rushbrook, Ford Performance Motorsport's global director.
Don't expect to see a pure Mustang EV - at least not beyond the one we know about - in showrooms all that soon, however. Where you can see one, though, is at this weekend's NHRA U.S. Nationals, where Ford will be showing off the Cobra Jet 1400 and hoping to replicate that incredible time achieved in testing. There's a livestream to follow at nhra.tv...
ORIGINAL STORY, 23/04/2020:
Ford has routinely produced a high-octane dragster version of the
called the Cobra Jet to demonstrate the peak performance of its engine technology. But this time round, it’s done something completely different. In a bid to move with the times - and acknowledge the introduction of the
- the 1,400hp 2020 Cobra Jet, the most powerful CJ yet, is a fully electric dragster. Based on the latest ‘Stang, it’s claimed to be capable of a low-eight second quarter mile time and top speed in excess of 170mph.
The tailpipe-free dragster replaces its V8 with batteries, an inverter and electric motor, which drives the rear wheels with that enormous peak power and 1,100lb ft of torque. While Ford doesn’t provide further technical detail for now, video footage suggests the EV Cobra Jet has a two-speed gearbox, something that makes sense for an electric machine that needs to be both rapid off the start line and have the legs to keep going over 170mph.
Unsurprisingly, the Mustang has been significantly upgraded for life on the drag strip with a powerplant providing such enormous, instantaneous torque. Underneath, the hardware has been beefed-up to handle those massive slicks and their broad tracks, the shell has received a full body strengthening with a roll cage, and the interior is fully stripped to save weight. The finished product also gets a dragster-specific fifth wheel at the back, the sort designed to prevent a car from heading skywards, suggesting that it is not quite as nose heavy as you might think.
"This project was a challenge for all of us at Ford Performance, but a challenge we loved jumping into,” said Mark Rushbrook, the global director of Ford Performance Motorsports. “We saw the Cobra Jet 1400 project as an opportunity to start developing electric powertrains in a race car package that we already had a lot of experience with, so we had performance benchmarks we wanted to match and beat right now. This has been a fantastic project to work on, and we hope the first of many coming from our team at Ford Performance Motorsports."
While a 1,400hp dragster certainly grabs headlines in the most American way possible, it probably won't be enough to appease longstanding pony car fans who feel aggrieved by the use of Mustang name in the Mach-E badge. But for the wider Ford fanbase, it seems like a smart move, not least because there’s a growing EV appetite to capitalise on. The controversially named Mach-E has enjoyed unprecedented demand, with more than 400,000 orders already placed in the run up to the model’s 2021 production run. Like with the dragster, those numbers really do speak for themselves.
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