This is the new all-electric Ford Explorer, but it has nothing in common with the US-spec Explorer or its plug-in hybrid variant sold in select European markets.

Developed specifically for Europe, the Explorer EV is an all-new model that becomes the first Ford to use Volkswagen Group's MEB architecture. The two-row mid-size crossover is also the Blue Oval's first volume all-electric passenger car built in Europe, at Ford's new EV plant in Cologne, Germany

With a length of under 177.1 inches (4.5 meters), the Explorer EV is slightly shorter than the Volkswagen ID.4 with which it shares the underpinnings, offering seating for five. Ford targets a starting price under $48,300 (€45,000) when orders open later this year in Europe. 

That will make it significantly more affordable than the Mustang Mach-E, which starts at $67,600 (€62,900) in Germany. Two highly specified versions will be available – Explorer and Explorer Premium. 

German Engineering, American Styling

Ford says the all-electric Explorer combines German engineering with the brand's iconic American SUV design reimagined for an electric era specifically for European customers. It looks more rugged than the ID.4, with more straight lines, a boxier body, and a powerful stance.

Design highlights include the traditional cooling grille reinterpreted into a shield, signature headlights interlocked with Explorer lettering surrounding the shield, a U-shaped skid plate, vertical taillights that remind of the larger Explorer, a slim-line rear window, and a lower U-shape element that echoes the front skid plate.

Gallery: 2023 Ford Explorer Electric

Other elements worth a mention are the black A-pillars and unique C-pillars creating a floating roof effect, and aero-optimized alloy wheel designs in 19-, 20-, and 21-inch diameters. The battery-electric Explorer also offers new body colors including Arctic Blue and Vibrant Blue My Mind, in addition to familiar hues like Frozen White, Magnetic grey, Agate Black and Lucid Red.

Inside, the Ford Explorer Electric features modern design, with the main highlight being the portrait-style 15-inch Ford Sync Move center touchscreen that can be smoothly raised and lowered through an arc of more than 30 degrees. When the screen is in its lowest position, it can also conceal the My Private Locker storage area on the center console.

The Explorer EV also features a 5.0-inch floating digital instrument display that offers driving data, battery charge levels and driver assistance status. In addition, the vehicle introduces an ergonomic haptic trackpad right under the center screen for controlling features including audio system volume and parking technologies. 

Standard comfort features include keyless entry, dual-zone climate control, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, all-new front seats with integrated headrests, 10-color ambient lighting, and more.

Ford Explorer electric (2023)
Ford Explorer electric (2023)
Ford Explorer electric (2023)

From a practicality standpoint, the Ford Explorer's cabin has a 0.6-cubic foot (17-liter) MegaConsole in the center console beneath the armrest, a forward-angled compartment for two large-screen smartphones with standard wireless charger beneath the center display, removable cupholders, a lower storage area, and more. 

The trunk offers an integrated parcel shelf that moves with the tailgate for easier access to the 15.9 cu ft (450 liters) of luggage space – which extends to more than 49.4 cu ft (1,400 liters) with the rear seats folded. Mind you, the cargo volume is down almost 3.5 cu ft (100 liters) compared to the Volkswagen ID.4, likely due to the shorter rear overhang.

The trunk floor can be lowered for maximum load space or raised to create an easy-access platform for bulkier items and a concealed storage area below.

10 To 80 Percent In 25 Minutes

When it comes to powertrains, Ford hasn't released the full details yet. The automaker says the Explorer EV offers "responsive and refined" rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive battery-electric powertrains that will offer DC fast charging times from 10 percent to 80 percent as low as 25 minutes. 

The vehicle features battery temperature pre-conditioning for optimized charge speeds, charge scheduling, and on-board EV trip planning programmable via the Sync Move interface. The CCS charge port on the rear fender will be able to charge from Type 2 AC stations using the supplied Ford Public Charge Cable or from DC fast charging stations.

Ford says Explorer customers will have access to more than 450,000 chargers across Europe this year and 500,000 by 2024, including more than 2,100 DC fast charging stations already installed at more than 450 locations by the Ionity consortium, of which Ford is a founding member.

Ford Explorer electric (2023)

No range estimates were offered either, but Ford said the all-electric Explorer comes with a heat pump to improve energy efficiency.

The electric crossover is also equipped with 12 ultrasonic sensors, five cameras and three radar devices that  collectively can monitor 360 degrees around the vehicle to enable a range of driver assistance systems. 

The Explorer EV will become the first Ford in Europe to offer automated lane changes with the available Lane Centering tech enhanced with Assisted Lane Change. Other ADAS features include Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go functionality, Pre-Collision Assist, Cross Traffic Alert with Active Braking, Active Park Assist 2.0, and more.

The Explorer EV is one of nine all-electric vehicles Ford plans to introduce in Europe by 2024, including a second MEB-based model that will enter production in Cologne from mid-2024 and the Puma EV that will be manufactured in Craiova, Romania from 2024.

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