Ford announced this week that they are to launch an electric Mustang and an electric F150 truck by 2020 and they've got me stumped. I simply don't know what to think.
I'm not against electric cars - not by a long way, in fact. Their ability to spoon out the torque right from the get-go makes for a whole new way to experience power. I can easily enjoy the silent, seamless urge and look forward to motoring commentators devising a whole new language to describe the few hushed, alien whirrs and buzzes that make their presence felt amidst the suddenly crystal clear tyre and wind roar.
Thing is, I like Mustangs. A lot. I have an old one. My wife has a current one. And I certainly don't mind the idea that the future too, might contain Mustangs. I've never owned an F150 pick up but I'd like very much to do so one day and so I certainly don't have a problem with their being F150s in 2020 either. But my affection for both vehicles is rooted in their honest, down home, blue-collar, bangs-for-your-buck simplicity. Neither has been at the cutting edge of motoring technology since a couple of seconds after they were launched. And even at launch they were clever mainly for marketing and commercial reasons.
Perhaps my problem with the idea of an electric F150 and a leccy 'Stang (I really only said that to rattle Clarkson and May) is that it is, ultimately, a marketing exercise. Whatever is launched might be brilliant, it might be clever and cutting edge and it might have a 1000-mile range per charge, Ford's wireless charging system might mean you park it on your drive and set off 20 minutes later with a full-charge, but will it have anything left in common with its ancestors? Is an electric Mustang still a Mustang? Or is it just a once-glorious name attached to a hopefully glorious but as yet unproven future?
I'm all for the future; I hope very much to be part of it. And as I head into that future I don't intend changing my name. It was good enough for me when I was a baby, a schoolboy, a lust-addled teenager and right through to now as a 47 year old man. But there have been constants. I have been the same person throughout. Would I still be me if my memory was downloaded to a computer and I existed as a digital being? Because that's maybe what I feel is happening to the Mustang.
But I could very easily be wrong. I really don't know what to make of it and I'd like to hear what you think. Is it a step too far? It's their name and they can use it how they want. Should they keep it or throw it away, start again and move clean and fresh into the future, leaving the past behind where it belongs? Your thoughts please.