Ford is set to release the third electric vehicle in its history, a crossover SUV carrying one of the company’s most beloved nameplates that will be exclusive to the European market. The Explorer EV marks the first in a series of upcoming plug-in models aimed at expanding the automaker’s overseas range as it endeavors to achieve a completely electric lineup in Europe by 2030.
Despite bearing a well-known nameplate, the Explorer EV is being built atop a platform that is unfamiliar to Ford. The automaker has opted to employ Volkswagen’s adaptable MEB architecture for its latest electric vehicle, which will be assembled at Ford’s Cologne plant in Germany. The Explorer EV is the first of two models that Ford will produce utilizing VW’s electric platform as part of an agreement reached when the two companies formed a global alliance in 2019.
Ford has announced that it will not disclose the Explorer EV’s range until it approaches production, but it has disclosed pricing information. The vehicle will come in two trims, Explorer and Explorer Premium, and will be offered at a starting price of “less than €45,000” (approximately $48,250). Reservations can now be made through Ford’s European website.
The announcement of the Ford Explorer EV is significant because it represents only the third all-electric vehicle to be unveiled by the iconic American automaker (excluding compliance vehicles and the Ford Focus Electric). Ford’s current EV lineup consists of the Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning, which have contributed to Ford’s position as the second-highest seller of electric vehicles in the US. However, the company still has a long way to go to catch up with Tesla, and success in the European market will be crucial in this regard.
Additionally, Ford must address several quality issues that have plagued its EV efforts. The company recently issued a recall of more than a dozen F-150 Lightnings due to concerns about a battery issue, and in 2022, Ford issued more recalls in the US than any other automaker. Ford’s aspirations for Europe are vast. The automaker is investing $1 billion to transform its German factory into a facility that solely manufactures electric vehicles, with the objective of producing 1.2 million cars over six years. These models will comprise three new passenger vehicles, such as a sporty crossover with a 500km (311-mile) range, as well as an electric edition of Ford’s compact crossover, the Puma. Production of the latter will commence in 2024 at the company’s Craiova plant in Romania.