The partnership between Ford and Volkswagen is about to bear fruit in Europe in the shape of a new Explorer EV. The electric crossover is set to begin production later this year. Despite not looking anything like the American Explorer, and being built on VW’s MEB chassis, Ford claims this new Explorer will be “steeped in Ford’s American roots.“
“If we concentrate a little bit more on the real DNA of this company, really going back to our roots as an American icon, I think this is a huge opportunity for us to reposition the brand, and to create a new world of experiences around this DNA,” Ford Europe’s boss Martin Sander told Autocar in a recent interview.
The European Explorer will be the first of two MEB-based Ford EVs to launch. At 176 inches long, the Euro Explorer will be a bit of a ‘tweener and slot between the Volkswagen ID.3 and ID.4. It will also be the smallest EV Ford makes, sitting at about 20 inches shorter than the Mustang Mach E.
According to Autocar, two battery options will be available: 52 kWh and 77 kWh. The latter of which should allow up to 311 miles in between charges. Ford claims the Euro Explorer will be able to recharge its battery from 10-80% in just 25 minutes, though it didn’t provide an official max charging speed.
There will reportedly be two rear-wheel-drive, single-motor models, one with 168 horsepower and another with 282 horsepower. A more powerful dual-motor, all-wheel-drive model is said to make 335 horsepower and 402 pound-feet of torque. An even sportier model could be on offer as well, potentially called an Explorer ST, but there’s no official word on that just yet.
There are said to be four “Adventurous Spirit” pillars of Ford design moving forward: Active Adventure, Ultimate Outdoor, Wild Performance, and Urban Escape. The upcoming European Explorer will sit under the Active Adventure pillar, along with the Ford Kuga. The new Explorer has big wheel arches, blacked-out pillars to create a floating roof look, and a high belt line that runs the entire length of the car. However, other Ford EVs won’t share its design, as the American brand wants to avoid a Russian doll-style design language.
Ford’s focus (pardon the pun) for its interior is on space. The Explorer won’t be much bigger than a Focus but will have much more passenger room, thanks to an upright design and better packaging efficiency afforded by its electric platform. It won’t have a front trunk but it will have a secret load bay in the floor, like Ford’s European Puma. Passengers will also find a 17-liter center console cubby, which is said to be large enough for a 15-inch laptop. OK, that last part does sound pretty American.
The European Ford Explorer is set to begin production later this year and prices should start at less than €45,000.
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