Ford trademarks 'Mach E' name as hype builds for new electric vehicle

Ian Thibodeau
The Detroit News
Ford Motor Co. plans to release a battery-electric crossover in 2020.

Ford Motor Co. has trademarked the Mach E name ahead of launching its new electric vehicle next year.

Ford trademarked "Mach E," "Mach-E," and "Mustang Mach-E" for use on motor vehicles, electric vehicles and passenger vehicles within days of each other in late March and early April. The automaker also recently trademarked "Thunder" and "Evos" for similar uses. The automaker also owns "Model E," a trademark Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk wanted for one of his vehicles.

"Trademark applications are intended to protect new phrases, designs or symbols but aren’t necessarily an indication of new business or product plans," Emma Bergg, Ford's electric vehicle spokeswoman, said in a statement.

The automaker is planning to launch the all new electric crossover in 2020 as a 2021 model year vehicle. Company executives have frequently said it's a "Mustang-inspired" SUV. The vehicle takes design cues from the Mustang, but it's expected to be a four-door crossover design favored by consumers. Company officials also have said they're targeting a 300-mile range, and that the vehicle will be fast.

The automaker is expected to show the vehicle for the first time ahead of its 2020 launch. It will be built in Mexico.

In a video at the 2018 Detroit auto show, Ford teased the "performance" electric vehicle with the Mach 1 name made famous on the 1969 Mustang, though President of Global Markets Jim Farley said in August 2018 that the company hasn't made a decision on the name. The automaker still hasn't announced what it will be called.

The utility vehicle will be the first new Ford vehicle to be completely molded by CEO Jim Hackett and his vision of the company. Promoted to the head job in May 2017, he is wrestling with plans for new products that were too far along in the process to ditch or change drastically as he pushes the Blue Oval to make vehicles consumers want, or that move Ford ahead.

Meantime, Ford is also planning a hybrid variant for the next Mustang. The Mustang Mach-E could apply there.

Ford has been generating buzz around the unnamed SUV for months. At the 2019 Detroit auto show, Farley said the new vehicle should change peoples' minds about electric vehicles.

"In a way we had the advantage of watching what happened the first time around," he said then. "What customers have told us is 'Just give us the good stuff.' We're going to change a lot of people's minds."

 In mid-March, the automaker prodded Tesla with a tweet to "Hold your horses" bearing an electric blue Mustang logo. Ford sent the tweet as Tesla announced a new Model Y compact SUV.

Hackett has pushed Ford's designers and the teams working on pieces of the vehicle to work to understand the customer who would buy the vehicle. They automaker has not announced pricing, but Ford has shifted away from commodity, lower-priced electric vehicle models to make the faster, sleeker 2021 model. 

Ford product development and design teams scrapped original plans for the vehicle in 2017 when Hackett was appointed CEO. The plan then was to go for a vehicle to help comply with the government's fuel economy standards. Hackett steered teams away from that to create a good-looking, more capable vehicle, he told The Detroit News.

Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau