Ford has become the first car manufacturer to gain approval for the use of “hands-off, eyes-on” advanced driver assistance technology in the UK.
Mustang Mach-E drivers equipped with Ford’s new Level 2 BlueCruise system are now legally able to drive with their hands off the wheel.
In a first of its kind for a system of this type in Europe, the tech can be used on 2,300 miles of pre-mapped motorways in England, Scotland and Wales.
These pre-designated ‘Blue Zones’ will allow the driver to travel in hands-free mode, providing they pay attention to the road ahead, and it can be operated at speeds of up to 80mph.
The system monitors road markings, speed signs and traffic conditions and then uses this to control the vehicle’s steering, acceleration and lane positioning.
It also allows the car to maintain a safe distance to the vehicles ahead, but it can also automatically slow the vehicle down should traffic build up ahead.
In-car cameras also monitor the driver’s attentiveness to ensure that they’re maintaining concentration on the road ahead. These infra-red driver-facing cameras check the driver’s eye gaze and head pose, even if they’re wearing sunglasses.
If it detects that the driver isn’t being attentive, it will display a warning message in the instrument cluster. This will be followed by audible alerts and will finally apply the brake and slow the vehicle if the driver fails to look at the road. This will also occur if the driver fails to place their hands back on the wheel when they return to an area outside of a Blue Zone.
“It’s not every day that you can say you’ve placed one foot in the future, but Ford BlueCruise becoming the first hands-free driving system of its kind to receive approval for use in a European country is a significant step forward for our industry,” said Martin Sander, general manager of Ford’s electric division in Europe.
Drivers of the 2023 Ford Mustang Mach-e will be the first that can access BlueCruise via a subscription.
The first 90 days are included with the car’s price, but after that it’ll require a £17.99 monthly subscription.
The Ford Focus was the most scrapped car model in 2022, according to new data from the Scrap Car Comparison service.
The Vauxhall Corsa was revealed as the second most scrapped model, with its larger sibling – the Astra – following in third.
It’s no surprise that the Focus topped the chart for the sixth year running. Go back 14 years (the average age of scrapped vehicles) and it was a time when the family hatchback was flying out of new car showrooms.
New additions to the 2022 list of most scrapped cars include the executive BMW 3 Series (more than the 1 Series, 5 Series and X5s combined), the Ford Transit van and MINI hatch.
Top 10 most scrapped car models in 2022
BMW 3 Series
Mini Hatch (Cooper/One)
Ford was also the most scrapped car manufacturer of 2022, followed by Vauxhall and Volkswagen.
New entry car manufacturers to the Top 10 included German brands BMW, Audi and Mercedes.
Top 10 most scrapped car makes in 2022
“This is the sixth year running where we’ve seen the Ford Focus come out on top as the most scrapped car, and we expect to see it featuring highly in our most scrapped lists for many years to come,” said said Dan Gick, Managing Director of Scrap Car Comparison.
“Popularity will always have a bearing on which cars are scrapped, and 2022’s results help to spotlight the enduring popularity of the Focus model, even if many do eventually meet the scrap heap.”
Ford has unveiled Mustang Mach-E police concept at the Emergency Services Show in Birmingham, following several requests from forces around the country to evaluate the pure electric SUV.
The Metropolitan Police Force has already appraised the standard Mustang Mach-E and has now requested a full test of the marked concept. Also waiting for an opportunity to try the new 999 vehicle are the Sussex, Surrey, South Wales, Dyfed Powys, Devon & Cornwall and Police Scotland forces.
The initial concept is a demonstrator Mustang Mach-E Standard Range AWD (all-wheel drive). Subject to testing of this model, Ford is planning to offer Extended Range versions of its RWD (rear-wheel drive) and AWD versions. The extended battery types would give the police even greater range, and therefore versatility and capability, for police operations.
Instant and super-quick acceleration – the new Mach-E is capable of 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds (GT version) and 111mph – will be a useful weapon against crime for any police car, but the Mach-E will offer the forces one of the most economical and environmentally-friendly cars on their fleets.
The conversion of the original Mach-E was carried out by Ford’s long term partner to the blue light industry, Safeguard SVP, a specialist constructor based in Essex.
Among the equipment fitted to the concept car are bespoke mounting pods and brackets to ensure suitable locations are found for operational use, with minimal damage to the vehicle. All lighting is LED with very low power consumption to reduce current draw from the vehicle’s 12V power system.
Meanwhile, the 999 livery is a first-off design which utilises high specification material to maximise day and night visibility requirements.
Centenarian Harold Baggott, who learned to drive in a Ford Model T, has demonstrated an all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E to his great-grandchildren.
The event took place at the British Motor Museum, Beaulieu, near the Hampshire home of Harold, who still drives daily.
The 101-year-old’s great-grandchildren, Felix and Charlie, also got to ride in a Model T – the same as Harold first drove on private land in 1930.
“Since the age of 10, I’ve retained my interest in motoring and today find myself interested in the switch to electrification following the government phasing out the traditional combustion engines I’m used to,” said Harold.
“I have reminisced about my driving history with the Model T and seen what the future has in store. It was exciting to get behind the wheel of what I expect to see my great grandchildren will be driving.”
After Harold got his driving licence in 1936 (the first year they were introduced), he purchased his first car (a Ford 8 Popular) in 1937 for £100, followed by a Ford Anglia the next year.
Since then his family has owned 20 Fords privately, as well as Ford commercial vehicles in chassis form, converted into coaches for a fleet of 140 run by their travel and coach business.
The all-new, all-electric Mustang Mach-E is a big deal for Ford.
The Blue Oval may be late to the EV party, but this SUV is worth the wait with its combination of style, performance, driver engagement and practicality.
Starting at £41,330 and rising to £67,225, the Mach-E is available with rear or all-wheel drive, and with two different battery sizes delivering a range of up to 379 miles.
And while its “pony” badging and sculpted design are a nod to Ford’s iconic Mustang car, the similarity ends there because this EV muscle car is smooth, silent and emits zero emissions.
Your choice of Mach-E will depend on your priorities. The Extended Range with rear-wheel drive has the longest range (379 miles), while the quickest is the GT version (0-62mph in 3.7 seconds).
I tested the Mach-E AWD Extended Range (arguably the best all-rounder in the line-up), which competes with everything from the Volkswagen ID.4 and Skoda Enyaq to the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron.
Powered by a large 88kWh battery pack and a pair of electric motors (one on each axle), it delivers 346bhp and 580Nm, allowing an impressive 0-62mph time of 5.1 seconds.
Range on this model is officially up to 355 miles, but in everyday driving, 300 is achievable, while a typical charge of 10-80% can be reached in as little as 45 minutes via a rapid 150kW DC charger.
To look at it another way, it’s possible to add 73 miles in 10 minutes, though many owners will simply plug in from home and charge overnight.
I found the mileage covered matched the indicated range well in everyday motoring, though clearly the miles remaining will take a hit during winter and if you take full advantage of the performance available.
Naturally, the Mach-E’s acceleration is instant and rapid, and not quite as unnecessarily gut-wrenching as some electric rivals.
You can choose from three drive modes: Active, Whisper, and Untamed. Active is your default setting, Whisper is “the most relaxing way to enjoy Mustang Mach-E” and Untamed unleashes the car, sharpening the steering, enhancing the throttle response and boosting the fake interior engine noise.
Despite its two-tonne weight, the Mach-E feels surprisingly agile on more challenging roads, delivering a degree of driver engagement often missing in the EV sector.
Body control is impressive, thanks to the relatively firm suspension set-up, meaning it will stay flat in faster corners. Traction is superb, as is the grip, while the steering is swift, just as you’d expect from any Fast Ford.
Meanwhile, the brakes are strong and more progressive than some – a weak point in many EVs.
However, technology hasn’t been allowed to completely sanitise the driving experience, because even in all-wheel drive form, it’s possible to get the rear to step out.
Whether you agree with Ford’s decision to market this SUV as a Mustang or not, there’s no denying that the muscular styling is distinctive and there are enough design cues to legitimise the comparison with the automotive icon.
Signature elements include the long, powerful bonnet, rear haunches, mean headlights and trademark tri-bar tail-lights.
The Mach-E’s designers should also be commended for having the confidence to go their own way n certain areas. For instance, the door handles don’t pop out. In fact, there are no handles. Instead, you press a button on the B or C pillars and pull a streamlined ‘E-Latch”.
Inside, there’s a 15.5-inch portrait-mounted infotainment touchscreen in the centre console, plus a smaller 10.2-inch digital cluster behind the steering wheel for basic driving information, such as speed, battery percentage and remaining range.
Apart from screens, the cabin has a familiar Ford feel, so while it’s a pleasant and comfortable enough place to be, it doesn’t quite have the premium feel of some competitors.
That said, there’s plenty of space for five adults, while boot capacity is a useable 410 litres (expanding to 1,420 litres of space with the rear seats flipped). The front trunk (frunk) has a further 81 litres, though in practice this is the best place to store your charging cable.
So, all in all, the Mach-E is an impressive addition to the electric SUV scene. And frankly, when your biggest gripe is subjective (I couldn’t find a comfortable spot to rest my left foot), it’s a job done well.
Verdict: Ford’s first fully-fledged electric car has been worth the wait. With its combination of kerb appeal, driving dynamics, practicality and long range, the Mustang Mach-E is one of the most accomplished EVs in the crossover sector. Sometimes it’s fashionable to arrive late to a party.