‘It Definitely Changed My Mindset on EVs’: Employees Enjoy Electric Mustang Mach-E, F-150 Lightning Over Holiday

Dec 08, 2023

A select group of employees recently got a glimpse of the way Ford EVs bring new experiences and capabilities to customers' lives. After winning a weeklong experience with the Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning over the Thanksgiving holiday, they got to experience firsthand what living with a Ford EV means. 

Mustang Mach-E sets itself apart

Zach Schallenberger, a software engineer who has been with Ford for nearly two years, said the Mustang Mach-E GT he was driving had a very different feeling on the road from any other vehicle he’s ever driven, including his current 2020 Hyundai Veloster. The Mustang Mach-E has now earned itself a place on his wish list. 

Software engineer Zach Schallenberger, a die-hard auto enthusiast, fell in love with the Mustang Mach-E Click to Enlarge

“It definitely changed my mindset on EVs,” he said. “I’m a die-hard auto enthusiast. I love driving stick shifts with a loud exhaust. That’s been my bread and butter for a long time. … I could definitely see myself getting a car like this. It felt pretty luxurious driving around, and it was exhilarating to have that instant torque from the electric motors.”

Wowing the audience

Schallenberger gave rides to friends, family and co-workers and used the charging stations at Rotunda Center, where he charged during work hours. His passengers were taken by surprise by the Mustang Mach-E’s acceleration on the highway.

“Everyone was super impressed,” he said. “It was pretty much everyone’s first time in an EV … so it was cool to show it off.”

Time to re-charge

In addition to charging the vehicle on Ford’s campus, he also used Electrify America stations and charged at home. Charging an EV can take some planning depending on the situation, but Schallenberger said he found the process very simple and enjoyed the apps available on the Mustang Mach-E’s infotainment system while waiting. 

“I’ve never really had that experience with an EV before, so I was a little confused about how the process was going to work,” he said. “But I popped open the cap and plugged it in. … It was nice getting done with work and having my vehicle be fully charged.”

When conditions became slippery, Schallenberger was able to rely on Mustang Mach-E’s Whisper Mode, which enables gentle acceleration in the all-wheel-drive SUV. 

“The light turned green, and I put the pedal down and I didn’t slip at all even when there was snow on the ground,” he said. “I was very impressed.”

His overall experience with the Mustang Mach-E made Schallenberger proud to work at Ford, he said.

“Seeing the way BlueCruise works and the way the vehicle is integrated with EV culture is really cool to see,” he said. “I am so proud of the team for delivering vehicles and experiences like this.”

BlueCruise takes the wheel

Having driven a Mustang Mach-E previously, finance analyst Wynter Mortz was eager to sample BlueCruise 1.2 hands-free highway driving in the 2023 F-150 Lightning Lariat she drove. She took the truck all over the Metro Detroit area and tested BlueCruise 1.2 along designated highways.  

“I was super excited to try it, and it was really cool when it was turning the wheel on its own while I was cruising on the highway,” she said. “It’s a little nerve-racking at first, but then you get used to it.”

Mortz is familiar with pickup trucks and was pleasantly surprised to find the F-150 Lightning offered the same driving experience. She said the only difference, aside from charging, came when starting the pickup because the Lightning has no exhaust or engine noise. Mortz said she also enjoyed the pickup’s quick acceleration and premium B&O Play audio system. 

“This was exciting,” she said. “In finance, we don’t get to do a lot of the things that engineers and others might get to do if they work more hands-on with the vehicles.” 

Making the most of a mall trip

Alexandra Itice, who works in CX experience design, utilized the 2023 F-150 Lightning Lariat as she got a head start on holiday shopping. Itice used the available chargers at the mall, while she continued her shopping. She also charged at home using a traditional outlet. 

“I had no issues at all,” she said. “It was pretty easy and straightforward. It was easier than I expected.”

Itice made extensive use of BlueCruise, traveling more than 200 miles while utilizing the award-winning technology. She also appreciated having features like Lane-Keeping Assist and 360-Degree Camera to help navigate parking.  

“It can be a bit of a hassle to park my own F-150 sometimes, but the F-150 Lightning was awesome and very easy to park,” she said.

Itice also noted the smooth driving, relaxed handling and said her friends enjoyed the pickup’s “cozy” interior and large infotainment screen. 

“I know F-150s are very comfortable, but I felt like the Lightning was one step above,” she said. “It was super smooth. It was definitely a vehicle that would be great for road trips.”

An eye-catching interior

Pat Bain, a global suspension designer who drove himself and family members around in the 2023 Mustang Mach-E Premium, immediately noticed the SUV’s striking interior. 

“The interior is just absolutely perfect,” he said.” “It doesn’t have extra parts and pieces that aren’t needed. I was an interior designer for 20 years, so to see that interior, I was super proud of the people who worked on that.” 

Bain also appreciated the Mustang Mach-E’s frunk, as well as the SUV’s fit and finish. For Bain, who typically drives a Ford Bronco, the Mustang Mach-E felt more car-like. Its stature was convenient when loading and unloading 200 pounds of cargo from the rear of the vehicle, too. He also praised the Mach-E’s performance and features like One-Pedal Driving, which reduces the need to use the brakes to slow the vehicle. 

“The features on the Mach-E are really cool,” he said. “This is the future and it’s only going to get better.”