Plug-in Mustang

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This is what the electric version of a Ford Mustang looks like.

The Big Three have fallen behind in the alternative-fuels race, and with two of the three bankrupt and barely clinging to life, we shouldn’t expect too much from them anytime soon. But that hasn’t stopped independant innovators from stepping away from the herd and offering their own versions of alternatively-powered production cars.

Take for example Kurt Neutgens and Travis Winkelman; while Kurt is a former Managing Engineer for the F-150 (America’s top-selling vehicle for many, many years), Travis worked for the ROUSH NASCAR team. Together, these two men took America’s iconic pony car, the Mustang, and gave it an all-new, electric heart.

Called the Plug-In Panther, the conversion itself is pretty straight forward. They remove the engine and transmission from either a V6 or V8 2005-2009 Mustang, and drop in a high-torque 3 phase AC motor. This humdinger makes about 177 ft-lbs of torque at 0 rpm. Not exactly back-breaking power, but it is delivered in a smooth and constant stream all the way up to 5500 rpm, and power is available all the way up to 13,500 rpm.

This is enough power to get the car from 0-60 mph in just 5.6 or 6.6 seconds (depending on the model you choose), which puts it ahead of most petrol-powered cars on the road right now. There is also no transmission and thus no shifting, making for one long, smooth ride. Going in reverse merely means spinning the engine in the opposite direction.

Now all this wouldn’t be good for much if the Panther didn’t get decent range. But thanks Li-Ion Iron battery pack, the Panther has a range of either 85 miles or 200 miles, depending on which model you spring for. These battery packs have an expected shelf life of between 200,000 and 350,000 miles, and make up most of the admittedly heavy conversion cost. An electrically-converted Mustang will run you between $75,900 (for the 85 mile version) and $99,900 (for the 200 mile version). Charging times for the former run as little as 1.1 hours out of a 240v outlet (11 hours out of a 120v). The 200 mile version can be charged in as few as 2.8 hours from a 240v, though a 120v will take upwards of 28 hours to fully charge.

Is this an electric car for the masses? Not yet. But with a max speed of either 85 mph or 105 mph, it will feel more like a regular car than most any other electric car on the market currently, and it all comes wrapped in an iconic muscle car’s sheet metal. Plus, it is a genuine electric car at a time when the major auto manufacturers seem at a loss to produce one. Check out the Plug-In Motors website, where they are currently working on an F-150, Lincoln LS, and Jaguar versions of their electric conversions as well.