Ford Explorer EV hits the market in Europe after battery pack delay

Took a little longer than planned, but Ford says its new EU-market Explorer EV is better for the delay. Ford of Europe borrowed Volkswagen’s MEB platform to create a battery-electric SUV by Europeans, for Europeans. Planned to hit the market there in later 2023, the holdup was either caused by changes to the U.N.’s battery certification regulations, as stated by Ford of Europe at the time, or “insufficient countermeasures around fire,” in the words of Ford CEO Jim Farley. Either way, engineers reworked the chassis to fit a different nickel-manganese-cobalt pack. A regional automaker exec said the Explorer EV that just launched “is a better vehicle now than we would have launched half a year ago.”

In launch spec, buyers get the option of two trims. A single-motor rear-driver called the Extended Range makes 282 horsepower and 402 pound-feet of torque, juiced by a 77-kWh battery we know from the Volkswagen ID.4, able to get an estimated 374 miles on the WLTP cycle. This one gets to 62 miles per hour in 6.4 seconds and can recharge at a peak rate of 135 kW.

Before the battery swap, Ford had predicted a maximum 311-mile range for the entire Explorer EV lineup. The longer legs help add substance to the “Adventurous Spirit” marketing tagline in Europe, a step above the “Urban Escape” tagline applied to the Puma compact four-door hatchback. 

A dual-motor, Extended Range, AWD version comes in one trim with the 77-kWh pack and another trim that upgrades the pack to the 79-kWh unit from VW’s hotter ID. GTX trims. Motor output with the bigger battery climbs to 335 hp and 402 lb-ft. The dash to 62 mph falls to 5.3 seconds, range falls to 329 miles, the recharge rate climbs to 185 kW, and this one can tow 1,200 kilograms (2,600 pounds). Ford says that in ideal conditions, the battery can get from 10% to 80% in 26 minutes.

These single-motor variant comes in Select or Premium trim. The AWD variant is called Premium no matter the battery size.

To keep costs down and ease customer choice, the Explorer EV configurator presents only a few substantial options. The Select can be had with a Driver Assistance Pack that bundles a head-up display, 360-degree camera, lane-change assist, and hands-free tailgate, as well as a heat pump. The Premium trim adds the option of a panoramic roof in some markets, and 21-inch wheels. And white is the only free color.

This Explorer EV isn’t coming here. If it did, we’d find it very close to the Volkswagen ID.4’s footprint, not that of our Explorer. At 175.9 inches long, 73.7 inches wide, and 64.2 inches high, the Explorer EV is 4.6 inches shorter than the ID.4, nearly an inch wider, its roof nearly half an inch lower. And both vehicles ride on the same 108.9-inch wheelbase.

In early summer, a third, entry-level version begins shipping to dealers. That will be a Standard Range setup with a 52-kWh battery juicing a 168-hp motor on the rear axle and limited to 125-kW charging. Built in Cologne, the 2024 Ford Explorer EV starts at 48,510 euros ($52,381 U.S.) in Germany including VAT.





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