Ford has finally shown the medium-sized electric crossover it teased last year, and it might not be what you expect. The company has unveiled an electric Explorer that’s “designed for Europe” and as suited to tight city streets as it is weekend jaunts. It’s relatively compact (under 14.8ft long versus 16.6ft for the gas SUV) and offers creature comforts like “sporty” seats. Notably, it also includes a few technology features you won’t even find in higher-end Ford EVs like the Mustang Mach-E.
The 15-inch vertical touchscreen will seem familiar, but it slides up and down — you won’t have to settle for an awkward position. You also won’t find the physical knob from earlier Ford EVs. The automaker also takes advantage of the electrified design to provide a massive amount of console storage space (enough for a 15-inch laptop) and a private “locker” for valuables. Wireless phone charging is standard, as is wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The five cameras and three radar sensors provide Ford’s usual range of driver aids, although this is the first time Europeans will have access to features like Assisted Lane Change (which changes lanes through a stalk press).
Most performance specs aren’t yet available, including range. However, Ford claims you can charge from 10 percent to 80 percent in a relatively quick 25 minutes.
The company is taking reservations for base Explorer and higher-end Explorer Premium trims now ahead of a release later this year. While final pricing will have to wait, Ford expects the line to start below €45,000 (about $48,500). Don’t expect a launch elsewhere, unfortunately. Ford tells Engadget there are “no plans” to bring the Explorer EV to North America, and that the conventional Explorer will still be on sale worldwide.
The Explorer is part of a larger strategy to introduce seven EVs to Europe by 2024, including the compact Puma and the Transit van. Ford ultimately hopes to completely electrify its passenger cars in Europe by 2030. This new model may be key to that transition. On top of being more practical for European streets, it’s considerably more affordable than the roughly €62,000 Mach-E. This is the mainstream (if still pricey) people-hauler that might reach a wider audience.