Sports car enthusiasts will sometimes balk at electric cars due to their usual lack of manual transmissions (there’s no need for a gearbox, after all), but Ford has hinted that stick shifting might not be completely dead. The automaker has partnered with Webasto on a Mustang Lithium project car (no, it’s not the Mustang-like SUV) that mates a monstrous 900-plus horsepower electric motor with a six-speed, drag-race-ready Getrag transmission. You could have the thrill of dropping ‘gears’ without the guilt of spewing emissions, and you’d definitely feel it when there’s over 1,000ft/lbs of always-available torque.
The power is possible in part due to some cutting-edge tech. Like the Porsche Taycan, the Mustang Lithium has an 800-volt battery system that delivers more performance (up to a megawatt of electrical discharge) even as it reduces weight and heat. You can even fine-tune the output on a 10.4-inch touchscreen, choosing between torque settings that range from a modest “valet” through to “beast.”
Don’t get your hopes too high. Ford stressed that this is a “one-off” that’s designed both for bragging rights as well as a test mule for battery and heat control technologies that will reach production cars. You probably won’t roll out of a dealership with a toned-down Mustang EV any time soon.
With that said, it won’t be long before Ford shifts its attention to more practical designs. It’s revealing its Mustang-inspired electric SUV on November 17th ahead of a 2020 debut, and there will be a production electric F-150 within a few years. The Mustang Lithium is really just an early taste of an electrification push that could dramatically change Ford’s lineup over time.