Everything You Need to Know About Ford's All-Electric Mustang Cobra Jet 1400

By: Wes Duenkel | 10/19/2020 < Back to Motor Life Home

Here's a riddle: What has over 1400 horsepower, weighs 5,000 pounds, runs low 8s in the quarter, and doesn't make a sound?

To find out, Ford Performance and their partners at McCue Lane Electric Race Cars came to the 2020 Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival in Bowling Green, Kentucky and brought their latest project: the Cobra Jet 1400.

Rather than a ground-up electric race car, the Cobra Jet 1400 is basically a standard Mustang Cobra Jet factory race car with an electric motor stuffed under the hood and batteries stashed around the chassis. Four 170kw motors feed their torque to a TH400 transmission, and a 9-inch rear end--just like the gasoline engine Cobra Jet. The motors "idle" when turned on and top out at around 9,400 RPM. The TH400 has a 6,100-stall torque converter and is air-shifted--nothing new here.

The big differences between the Cobra Jet 1400 and its gasoline-powered sibling are the power, weight, and what goes on between rounds.

First, the big numbers: the Cobra Jet 1400 puts out over 1400 horsepower (hence the name) and weighs a staggering 5,000 lbs. Blame the heavy batteries for the additional heft the electric drag racer needs to haul down the track. And haul it does. The Cobra Jet 1400 ran a best of 8.308 @ 167.93 MPH in Bowling Green--a new National Electric Drag Racing Association record!

Though the Cobra Jet 1400 could make three runs on a single charge, Ford and the team usually top off the 61kwh battery pack between rounds while the team reviews data and sets strategy for the next hit. A 30kw generator housed in the front of their trailer can fully charge the Cobra Jet 1400's batteries in 180 minutes. Rather than tweaking the air/fuel ratio or spark advance, extracting maximum performance from the Cobra Jet 1400 means keeping the batteries at 35°C (95°F). The team uses an elaborate external liquid heating and on-board liquid cooling system to keep the batteries where they work best. Other than that, maintenance between rounds is pretty minimal.

The Cobra Jet 1400 features 4 electric motors that route power through a conventional torque converter, TH400 transmission, and solid rear axle. Output is 1,500HP at the wheels.

Even though the Cobra Jet has made appearances at several spectator events, the Cobra Jet 1400 wasn't solely built to put on a show. It's no secret that Ford Performance is putting a lot of development effort behind high-performance electric cars. The company revealed the all-wheel-drive Mustang Mach-E 1400 test vehicle and will soon have a Mustang Mach-E in showrooms. These projects help Ford and its partners develop electric vehicle control strategies to push electric vehicle performance to the limits.

What does the future hold for the Cobra Jet 1400? Obviously one of the biggest challenges is cutting weight. After initial testing, the Cobra Jet 1400 was put on a diet involving carbon fiber doors (borrowed from Ford's Mustang GT4 road racing program) and Lexan windows. Further weight saving measures are in the works.

With more electric vehicles coming to driveways across the world, we're excited to see how Ford applies what it learns from the Cobra Jet 1400 to their next generation of EVs.

With its oddly quiet launches and blisteringly fast, 8-second quarter mile e.t.s, the Cobra Jet 1400 had fans both confused and amazed at Holley Ford Fest.

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