Ford Explorer SUV will hit the road again this year as an EV

Ford is speeding up its electrification in Europe with the announcement that a new, all-electric version of the Explorer SUV will join its line-up this year. Using Volkswagen’s MEB electric platform, it will be built in Germany and offer a variety of two and all-wheel drive powertrains.

Ford is branding the Explorer as a car that will forge the way for a “complete reinvention of the Ford brand in Europe”, whilst also offering German engineering with American style. This, we reckon, is a reference to the fact that the Explorer will be the first of two confirmed EVs which will use Volkswagen’s MEB platform as part of a deal first stuck back in 2019.

The ‘American Style’ alluded to by Ford is something that we expect to see more of in its line-up – a departure from where it has been for several decades now. The brand apparently wants to play on its roots as popular and renowned brand in its home country. Whether this flies over here remains to be seen, but given the fact Kia’s EV9 is very American in its look and feel, we suspect it will.

Ford is promising a range of powertrains which will broadly fall into line with what VW offers in its ID3, ID4 and ID5 models. This means more basic models will get rear-wheel drive with power starting below 170bhp, with a more powerful rear-drive model packing a reported 280+bhp also planned.

All-wheel drive versions will be available, too, with well over 330bhp planned and hot hatch-esq performance on offer. In total, five AWD versions are going to be produced.

Ford hasn’t confirmed battery specs, but it’s a safe bet that these two will reflect VW’s offering. This means an entry-level battery of around 52kWh and a long range option of 77kWh with a range of around 310 miles (500km). Ford does state that charging times between 10 and 80 per cent will be as little as 25 minutes which ties in with VW cell capability.

Tech-wise, the Ford Explorer will be packed with connectivity for driver and passengers. This includes a moveable touchscreen of 14.6 inches in size, making it on the bigger side in modern EVs. Wireless connectivity via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay will be standard, whilst an app will enable owners to pre-condition their car, as well as control and monitor all manner of other system functions within the Explorer. Dual smartphone chargers will help keep people’s devices charged whilst on the move.

Other in-cabin tech includes heated front seats and steering wheel, massaging driver’s seat and dual-zone climate control. A hands-free power tailgate and keyless entry also makes life easier for owners. Finally, boot space of 450 litres with seats up, and 1400 with them stowed makes the Explorer more practical than a Mach-E.

On the driver aid front, the Ford Explorer EV will get Assisted Lane Change – a first for a European model from the brand – and Clear Exit Assist, which warns occupants if it’s unsafe to open a door.

Production will start in mid-2023 in Germany and we would expect the first cars to hit the road in the UK before the end of the year.


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