Will Ford's shift to electric kill its muscle cars? One executive thinks it might make them better

The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is the most powerful Ford ever, but also the thirstiest model it sells.

The GT500’s monster 760 hp supercharged V8 delivers the best performance of any Mustang in history, but does it while chugging premium fuel at the rate of 14 mpg combined. That makes it the lowest EPA-rated Ford in years. Including the trucks.


That’s not a concern for the couple of thousand customers who will buy one of the $73,995 GT500s. To them, paying for fuel is like buying a ticket to an amusement park. But with Ford investing $11 billion to shift toward electrification and greening its image, is there a future for loud, V8-powered cars like the GT500?

(Pericak (left) spoke with Fox News Autos editor Gary Gastelu at the launch of the GT500 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway)

“I don’t want to get rid of this," says Dave Pericak, who was chief engineer for the current generation Mustang and is now the director of Ford Icons. That gives him oversight of all of the coolest stuff the company makes, including the Shelbys, the Ford F-150 Raptor and the upcoming Bronco reboot.

“I don’t see this as being an end of an era. I think that we are continuing to figure out how we’re going to continue to bring products like this to market, and as far as I’m concerned they’re going to be part of our plan.”

That plan includes a high-performance “Mustang-inspired” all-electric utility vehicle set to be unveiled in November that will soon be followed by a hybrid Mustang.

A recent Ford advertisement included an image of what may be a hybrid-powered Mustang.

A recent Ford advertisement included an image of what may be a hybrid-powered Mustang. (Ford)

“We shouldn’t be afraid of electrification. You can use it for many purposes," Pericak says.

NASCAR feels the same way and may incorporate hybrid powertrains into the Cup series as soon as 2022, a move that Pericak says Ford is on board with.

“You can use it to be fuel-efficient. You can also use it to assist in delivering power," he says. "Electrification provides instantaneous power, instantaneous torque, why wouldn’t you want that on a track?”

It's a sentiment shared by Dodge boss Tim Kuniskis, who sells the GT500-rivalling Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and has said the electrification of muscle cars the "absolute future."

Ford's "Mustang-inspired" electric SUV will be revealed on Nov. 17.

Ford's "Mustang-inspired" electric SUV will be revealed on Nov. 17. (Ford)

Pericak won’t reveal any details about the production hybrid, but Ford has previously said that it will deliver the same power but more torque than its current V8, though it was likely referencing the 460 hp engine in the Mustang GT. But will the next GT500 trade or augment its supercharger with a battery pack and an electric motor?

“When you combine electrification with an internal combustion engine, you can do pretty amazing things," Pericak says. “Could that be the future of performance? Why not?”