This Is the New, All-Electric Ford Explorer (But Not For Us)

We'll eventually get an electric Explorer, but it won't be this Volkswagen ID.4-based model intended for Europe

(Images: Ford)
  • There’s a new Ford Explorer in town, but it’s not what you’re probably thinking This one is for European consumption.
  • It is, in fact, based on Volkswagen’s MEB platform akin to what’s used for the ID.4.
    • Not only is it designed for the European market, but it’s also built in Cologne, Germany.
  • The U.S. market will get an electric model in the same market segment as the current Explorer, so expect that version to be a larger, three-row SUV.
    • For the moment, it’s uncertain whether the U.S. Explorer EV will also be an MEB-derived model, or if Ford will use a bespoke configuration.

This isn’t the Ford Explorer you’re looking for, unless you’re in Europe.

While we have yet to see a fully electrified version of our three-row Explorer SUV, folks overseas are getting the option of a smaller EV bearing the iconic name later this year. Ford shared more details Tuesday on its new electric crossover for Europe, using VW’s MEB platform as part of the two automakers’ advancing partnership.

In essence, what underpins this new Explorer EV is a Volkswagen ID.4. The automaker didn’t share too many technical specs, but that similarity may give some clues as to what to expect. It should use battery packs ranging from around 58-kWh to 77 kWh like the ID.4, as well as rear- and all-wheel drive variants with up to around 300 horsepower.

Among the numbers Ford did mention were charging times (10-80% in 25 minutes) and storage capacity (470 liters, or about 16.6 cubic feet behind the second row).

Inside, the new, European Explorer EV gets a 14.6-inch touchscreen that you can actually adjust into 20 different stages to accommodate different heights and viewing comfort. There’s even secure storage space behind the screen, which is a nice touch. In front of the driver, there’s a 5-inch digital instrument cluster.

Move downward from the center screen, and you can see a bit of VW-ness seep through with the haptic media slider controls, as well as the button for the hazard lights. Instead of Ford’s standard rotary gear selector, you actually get a stalk in the Explorer, while the start button appears to be on the steering column itself.

On the styling front, you can see a bit of the resemblance to the existing Explorer, if you squint a bit. You can tell designers took inspiration in the headlights and some of the front fascia, while the rear end largely mirrors the shape of the combustion models (minus the shorter overhang).

This may influence some of Ford’s next EV models here

Of course, it may not matter much in the immediate since this car’s not coming to the U.S. However, we could see some of its cues emerge in a U.S.-based Explorer EV, or whichever MEB-based model Ford decides to launch here, if it decides to move in that direction. For now, we have the Mustang Mach-E occupying this size class, which European customers can also buy. We’ll have to wait and see what the broader response is later this year, when the Explorer EV makes it onto European streets.

But…if Ford were to sell something like this two-row Explorer EV here, would you be interested? For folks upset about the Explorer’s general direction over the past couple generations, perhaps something smaller would appeal.