Ford has announced the first details of its next electric model - the Ford Explorer.
Sharing the name with an existing America model but designed and built in and for Europe, the new all-electric SUV is the next step on the brand’s move to an all-EV line up, joining the larger Mustang Mach-e.
Ford says the Explorer “forges the way for the complete reinvention” of the marque in Europe and is the first new EV to be built at its Cologne factory, which will stop building the Fiesta later this year. It is the first of seven new EV models due by 2024.
Unlike Ford’s current range of European SUVs, the Explorer has a far more square and upright design which Ford says gives the new model the “spirit and assertive style of Ford’s iconic American SUV”, with new shield-style front end in place of a traditional grille.
Inside a movable 14.6-inch touchscreen runs Ford’s latest Sync software and sits at the heart of a new cabin designed to offer the latest in comfort and connected technology. Behind the screen is a lockable compartment to keep valuables out of sight and a 17-litre centre console offers enough space to store a 15-inch laptop. There is wireless charging for two phones along with wireless support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a huge “soundbar” mounted atop the dashboard. The Explorer will seat five, with 450 litres of luggage space in the boot.
The Explorer will get heated front seats and a heated steering wheel as standard, as well as a massage function for the driver’s seat and intelligent climate control. Keyless entry and a hands-free tailgate are also standard while the Explorer will debut several new assistance features. These include Assisted Lane Change which can automatically change lanes when the indicator is activated and Clear Exit Assist which warns of an oncoming cyclist before a door is opened.
Underneath its “American spirit” the Explorer is based on the MEB platform which also underpins a host of Volkswagen Group EVs, including the VW ID.3 and ID.4, Skoda Enyaq and Cupra Born.
Entry-level models will be rear-wheel drive and feature a 168bhp motor with a 55Wh battery which should provide a range of 218 miles. The longest range - 335 miles - will be offered by a 282bhp single-motor model paired to an 82kWh battery while a range-topping twin-motor car will cut the range to 305 miles but offer 335bhp - more than even the most potent VW ID.4 GTX. All versions will charge from 10-80 per cent in around 25 minutes.
Prices are still be to confirmed but Ford says its “anticipates” the Explorer to start from less than €45,000 (around £36,000), with two trim levels - Select and Premium. Order books will open later this year.