The market for electric cars just added a very familiar and popular name: the Ford Mustang.

Ford Motor Co. announced Sunday that it will start producing an all-electric Mustang, which it’s calling the Mach-E. Just as interesting, this will be the first Mustang that’s a sport utility vehicle instead of a muscle car.

Mustang traditionalists may be justifiably horrified by the news. A Mustang is supposed to be a fuel-operated car with a powerful engine. It is not supposed to be an electric vehicle, and not a sport utility, either.

Ford, however, is bowing to technological realities and the demands of the market. While only 1.18 million of the cars driven in America are electric today, sales are rising rapidly, and that number is going to keep increasing. Ford will die if it ignores this trend.

As for the broader car-buying market, sport utilities remain more popular than sports cars and sedans. Sport utilities are higher off the ground than other cars and have more space. There’s not much to dislike about them.

Unless, of course, you think that the Mustang brand has no business being linked to such a vehicle. Ford clearly will have to pitch this version to non-traditional Mustang owners. It does make sense to use the company’s best-known brand to make such a giant leap.

The Mustang Mach-E will sell for about $52,000, but Ford says buyers will qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit. It will be interesting to see how this version of the Mustang gets compared to both its fuel-powered cousins as well as to other automakers’ electric vehicles.

It’s impossible to tell how this shift to electric vehicles will shake out. But Ford’s announcement is one more reminder that it’s coming.

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