A Sunset with Mustang Margaret

A long-awaited ride with the Hannemanns (Rob, too), and their red Mach-E.

We’re always interested in going for a cruise with electric vehicle owners. Last spring I was talking with Tracy Thorpe, the programs coordinator at the Chilmark Library, and she asked me if I had seen Margaret Hannemann’s new red Ford Mustang Mach-E. “It’s a beauty!” Tracy said.

Actually, I’d been hearing a lot of buzz about the new electric Mustang. Not only is it a great-performing vehicle, but it also resonates with a whole generation of people like my wife and me who grew up with the original “pony cars” back in the seventies.

I reached out to Margaret, and we tried to set up a meeting, but she had family staying with her pretty much the whole summer, so we weren’t able to find a date. She said, “You know, there is another red Mustang Mach-E on the Island. I’ve seen them driving around, I just don’t have any contact info for them.” I was running out of time, but then, in early August, I thought I hit pay dirt. I was walking down Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs, when there it was — a red Mustang Mach-E, parked down by Vineyard Vines. 

So I bought a  cup of coffee, sat on a bench, and staked out the car for the better part of the day, thinking, sooner or later they’ve got to come back. For a moment I thought maybe this was Margaret’s car, but I couldn’t reach her by phone. Besides, there was one of those car refreshers like you see in a cab hanging from the rear view mirror, and based on our brief phone conversation, Margaret didn’t strike me as a car refresher kind of person. 

While I was waiting, I spoke with a fellow who worked next to where the Mach-E was parked, and he told me that the car had been parked there for a few days, so I decided to call off my stakeout. I left a note under the wipers saying, “Hi, this is ‘Cruising with Currier,’ and I’d like to talk to you about your car,” and then I headed home to wait for a call. I never did get the call, most likely because my note was downright creepy, but I reached Margaret, and we were able to arrange to meet for our cruise about a week later.

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Margaret and Rob Hannemann live in Chilmark, not far from Beetlebung Corner, up a long dirt road in a lovely shingled house on a hill that they bought in 2003. Both used to work in the tech industry, and Rob taught at Tufts University before retiring. 

Both Hannemanns are environmentally conscious (Rob serves on several environmental boards on the Island) and they wanted to purchase an electric vehicle. When they heard about the electric Mustang, they were sold. The first car they ever owned together was a red 1970 Mustang, and they had great memories of the car; it had served them well. In 2021 they went online and ordered the new Mustang from a Ford dealer in Bourne. 

“There are predictions,” Rob said, “that in seven years, fifty percent of all new cars will be electric.” At last count, there were sixty electric vehicles in Chilmark alone. They thought that while it would be great having a car of the future, it was wonderful having a car with a connection to their past as well.

They also currently have a Toyota Tacoma pick up truck which Rob uses for dump runs and which the kids like to use when they visit. “We encourage them not to use the Mustang,” Margaret said. “We’ve seen how they drive.”

The Hannemanns have owned several BMWs, and they also currently have a Toyota Tacoma pick up truck which Rob uses for dump runs and which the kids like to use when they visit. “We encourage them not to use the Mustang,” Margaret said. “We’ve seen how they drive.”

I asked them if there were any surprises, things that didn’t live up to their expectations or exceeded their expectations. Rob said, “We’ve had some nice cars, and this is the nicest car we’ve ever owned.” He noted that the acceleration is amazing, it’s quiet, and there is a ton of interior space, including storage under the hood, called the “frunk.”

I asked Rob how servicing the car has gone. “There’s not a lot to be serviced in these electric vehicles,” he said. “The car itself tells you when the tires are low, for instance, but that hasn’t happened yet.”

There is, of course, the cost of installing a Level 2 home charger. “The charger is not that expensive,” Rob said, “but because it’s 240 volts, you need an electrician to install it.” You might already have 240 volts powering your electric dryer; it only took the electrician about forty minutes to install it at the Hannemanns. Charging for eight hours provides the battery with a range of about 300 miles — enough to go to Boston and back. For longer trips, Rob says you can find Level 3 chargers off-Island that charge from about twenty percent to ninety percent in forty-five minutes, so you can stop for lunch or shop while you charge. The Hannemanns have made trips in the Mustang to Montauk, the Adirondacks, and Washington, D.C. On-Island, the average trip is relatively short, so battery range is not much of a factor, and there are charging stations in every town if you need a top-off. So an electric vehicle is ideal for local driving. 

For the purposes of our cruise, Margaret and Rob and I were just going down the road a few miles to catch the sunset at Menemsha. It was a beautiful Indian Summer afternoon, relatively uncrowded by summer standards, and we had no problem finding a place to park. 

I asked Rob if he had heard of the famous “Farting seats” in the Tesla X. (The Tesla has a setting that puts its seats into Whoopie Cushion mode. See our Cruising story here: bit.ly/Hasoni-Pratt-Tesla.)  Rob said that Ford had been building cars forever and that they were more no-nonsense and down-to-earth about their cars. With that, he turned on the “Puddle Lights” — lights that project the Mustang logo on the ground so you can see where you’re stepping when you get out of the car. 

Take that, Elon.

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Geoff Currier is associate editor of The MV Times. He writes frequently for Edible Vineyard and MV Arts and Ideas magazines. “Grow a beard. You keep all those razor blades out of the landfills. And look rakishly handsome. It's a win-win.” “Cruising with Currier” will appear in each issue of Bluedot Living.
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