Something smells fishy here, and it's not offgassing from the batteries.
There’s a strange video that popped up on YouTube a few days ago. It runs nearly two and a half minutes, during which we see what looks like a stripped-down Ford Mustang Mach-E. By that we mean it’s missing body panels and glass, and oh yeah, it’s getting thrashed about like some gymkhana newb auditioning for a role in Ken Block’s next video. What in the blue hell is happening here?
Before we even attempt to answer that question, we can’t help but feel a bit suspicious about the whole thing. This clip is titled Secret electric vehicle testin [sic] and it’s the only video on what appears to be a brand new YouTube account called Carolina Guy. The camera view has more shake and awkward movement than a Blair Witch sequel, and yet this car magically stops in such a manner as to grant the intrepid videographer a crystal clear shot of the car. How convenient.
In fact, just about everything in this video – from the shaky camera to the very thin “cover” and the sudden exodus after apparently being discovered has our BS meter on high alert. If this isn’t a completely staged video we’ll eat our shorts, and judging from the few YouTube commenters on the clip, we aren’t the only ones who feel that way. However, here’s where things get interesting. Does it matter whether or not this is staged?
Thanks to a commenter, we know this Mach-E video was taken at the North Carolina Center for Automotive Research (NCCAR) and that’s also confirmed by Jalopnik. It’s not exactly the skunkworks, but the area is secure and various car companies do occasionally use the facility. The car certainly looks real, and Ford must be involved in some manner since the Mach-E isn’t even in production yet. So once again, what in the blue hell is happening here?
With no official statement available, we’re left to speculate. The actions seen here are certainly very gymkhana-esque, and Ken Block certainly has a close relationship with Ford. Furthermore, Ford let Block post an in-depth video of him testing a Mach-E prototype back when the car was launched. This could well be a planned viral video from either camp to promote a new gymkhana endeavor featuring the Mach-E. Yes, Block turned over the franchise to Pastrana for the next big romp, but that doesn't mean a bonkers Mach-E couldn't make an appearance.
Gallery: 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E
Similarly, a staged viral clip feels like something that wouldn't come from Ford proper, but a company close to Ford like Shelby or RTR. Both build modified Mustangs, and despite this being a five-door EV crossover, it does wear Mustang badges. Perhaps we’re looking at a prototype for a Shelby Mach-E? Or maybe Ford Performance is working with a test mule to see what kind of upgrades could be of interest to buyers? For that matter, "leaking" such a video could serve to generate a bit of hype for the standard Mach-E, which doesn't go on sale until the fall.
If you have any interesting theories to add – or if you’re an insider just dying to spill the beans on the project – speak now or wait for the next “spy” video to arrive.