Despite numerous spy photos over the last few months, followed by leaked production photos and preliminary pricing and specs, not to mention the various teaser Ford press releases touting features such as its giant center touch screen with advanced Sync connectivity, and of course maximum EPA-estimated 300-mile range, the standing room only Los Angeles crowd of media and fans was still wowed at the gala-style unveiling of the larger-than-a-compact-sized 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E. It is the brand's first purpose built EV and a performance all-electric at that. Output will range from 255 HP to 459 HP depending on battery size and rear or all-wheel drive. We’ve known for some time that the front end closely favors Ford’s iconic pony car, as do the scooped side panels, fast roof, three-per-side slit taillights, and driver centric interior. But, even while all that knowledge, plus a promise that it would drive like a Mustang, the 5-passenger Mach-E still left most onlookers a little unprepared for such a milestone EV. Producing a crossover utility that emulates the performance of a brand’s iconic sports car is nothing new. After all Porsche introduced the Cayenne in 2002, and even Lamborghini has its Urus utility. But, the Mach-E marks the first time such a mass production performance utility is unveiled as a fully electric model. Ford makes a lot noise about the Mach-E being fast with the GT model's 0-60 mph of 3.5 seconds. They also claim its great handling will surprise traditional gas-fueled Mustang fans. However, anyone that has followed the evolution of the modern EV knows that they can be “ludicrously” swift, just ask Tesla, and with a large battery pack mounted low in the chassis, have ultra-flat cornering. However, batteries also mean weight, so Ford’s claims of Mustang Mach-E prowess will no doubt be highly scrutinized over the coming months. As for pricing, the least expensive rear-wheel drive model, with a respectable 210-mile range, will reportedly sticker for under $44,000 but won't be available until early 2021. That range is comparable to the $75,000 Audi etron utility. Need more range quickly? Well, Ford says the Mach-E using a DC Fast Charger can add 47 miles of range in only 10 minutes. The 300-mile Mach-E will arrive in early 2021 as well. Base price for the all-wheel drive "First Edition" with a 270-mile range, due late in 2020, will be just shy of $60,000.  For comparison, the least expensive, and most likely comparable in size Tesla Model Y, with a 280-mile range, is expected to start at $61,000. The much larger Tesla Model X, with an over 300-mile range, begins at about $86,000. So, the Mach-E is something of an EV utility bargain and, certainly for a Detroit based carmaker, a real game changer. Deposits for the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E are being taken now. You can watch a replay of the Mach-E debut event by cutting and pasting the following URL:

Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford, left, and actor Idris Elba next to Ford Motor Co.’s all-electric Mustang Mach-E GT SUV at Jet Center Los Angeles in Hawthorne.