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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist


Ford Explorer EV emerges as first joint venture electric model

Despite its American-style body and interior, underneath, the Explorer EV has the platform and electric hardware as the Volkswagen ID.4.


Introduced almost exactly 33 years ago as a nameplate that would set the tone for SUVs in North America, Ford has revealed the all-new Explorer EV as its latest offering conceived from its partnership with Volkswagen.

American-German

Officially the second model from the Blue Oval to use hardware from Wolfsburg, the Explorer EV is in fact Dearborn’s take on the Volkswagen ID.4 as it rides on the same electrically optimised MEB platform all ID models currently use.

The uniqueness doesn’t stop there as unlike the Mustang Mach-E sold in the States and Europe, the Explorer EV won’t be marketed at home as it has been deemed an Old Continent market exclusive for now.

ALSO READ: Volkswagen’s ‘electric Tiguan’ alternative revealed as second ID model

Brawny outside

Compared to the ID.4 though, the Explorer’s exterior design is more American than European with frontal elements not only from the Mach-E, but also the regular petrol powered model.

The same applies to the rear where the overall look is more Explorer than Volkswagen in the design of the C-shaped lights, the U-shaped faux skidplate underneath the bumper and the flat tailgate.

A floating D-pillar, aerodynamically optimised alloy wheels ranging from 19 to 21-inches, and a series of colours unique to the Ford catalogue – Frozen White, Arctic Blue and Lucid Red to name but a few – completes the Explorer EV’s external transformation.

Volkswagen inputs results in new Ford Explorer EV
Rear has been styled to resemble that of the normal petrol-powered Explorer. Image: Ford.

Nothing ID.4 inside

Inside, the Blue Oval has been even more extensive in redesigning the interior in such way that little can be compared to the ID.4 from a look and design perspective.

Aside from the chunky F-150 inspired steering wheel, the freestanding infotainment system from the Volkswagen bows-out completely in favour of a 14.6-inch display draped across the centre console that itself is unique to the Explorer.

Also bespoke is the dashboard complete with a upper bar housing the ambient lighting strip, the switchgear, the 5.3-inch instrument binnacle and the door panels.

New Ford Explorer EV revealed
Boot space stands at 470-litres, but increases to 1 400-litres with the rear seats down. Image: Ford.

Providing seating for five, boot space is rated at 470-litres, but expands to 1 400-litres with the split rear seat folded down. In addition, the centre console, dubbed MegaConsole, can store general items or a laptop up to 15-inches wide.

All EV power

On the power front, the Explorer EV’s similarities with the ID.4 is more profound as Ford has availed the newcomer with two units; the regular rear-wheel-drive that produces 125 kW from its 52-kWh battery and the more powerful 77-kWh variant that develops 210kW.

The inclusion of a second electric motor on the rea though not only gives the Explorer all-wheel-drive, but also more power with 250 kW available from the latter battery pack.

Volkswagen inputs results in new Ford Explorer EV
Interior has very little in common with the ID.4. Image: Ford.

Reportedly, the lesser 52-kWh model offers up 350 km of range, but can only be charged at a charging station up to 130 kW.

Both 77-kWh models though can be charged from a station producing up 170 kW with Ford claiming respective ranges of 540 km and 490 km. In the case of the former, only 25 minutes is needed to charge from 10-80%.

Europe only for now

In Europe, two trim levels will initially be offered; base and Premium with pricing from €45 000 (R888 675). Order books are due to open in “late-2023”.

New Ford Explorer EV revealed
Centre console storage area Ford calls MegaConsole can house a 15-inch laptop. Image: Ford.

While a no-no for South Africa for now, Volkswagen previously indicated that the ID.4 will be trailed later this year ahead of a decision being taken, possibly only in 2024.

Additional information from drive.com.au.

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