Is Ford finally releasing an electric Explorer for the US market? According to Ford CEO Jim Farley, the automaker intends to entice new customers with a larger three-row electric SUV, the way it has with the F-150 Lightning pickup.
Is an electric Ford Explorer coming to the US?
After posting an operating loss of $722 million in the first quarter of 2023, Ford says its Model e electric vehicle business is operating “with a start-up intensity to build a profitable EV business” and a differentiated portfolio.
So far, that portfolio consists of the Mustang Mach-e crossover SUV, F-150 Lightning electric pickup, and E-Transit commercial van, at least in the US.
Ford released its new mid-size electric Explorer SUV in March, but only for Europe. The electric Explorer is a scaled-down version of Ford’s best-selling SUV in the US.
Rather than the full three-row SUV known to the US, the electric Explorer introduced in Europe is a five-seat two-row mid-size crossover. The electric Explorer is based on Volkswagen’s MEB platform, the first model that’s come from the relationship established in 2020.
Designed for “exploring in compact European cities and beyond,” the electric Explorer is less than 4.5 m (177 inches) long, which is even slightly smaller than Volkswagen ID.4 at 180.5 inches.
Compared to the gas-powered Explorer’s length of nearly 200 inches, the electric Explorer is over 2.5 feet smaller. On Ford’s earnings call on Tuesday, Farley hinted at an electric Explorer for the US, saying:
In contrast to two-world crossovers that we believe will be a very saturated market, we believe Model e can be highly differentiated in markets where we know the customer well, like the three-row utility space
When asked about balancing scaling volume and maintaining profit, Farley says the company is focusing on drawing customers from other brands, like how it’s doing with the F-150 Lightning.
According to recent data, over half of F-150 Lightning buyers come from a nontruck, while over 90% come from nonelectric, hybrid, or PHEV vehicles. Farley continued to say:
A lot of new customers bought a Lightning that never owned a pickup truck before. And we intend to do that with three-row crossover and with a bunch of EV Pro vehicles, which we think will be a huge growth for us.
More information will be shared about the new electric three-row crossover at its Capital Markets event coming up on May 22.
With the Explorer being Ford’s top-selling SUV, not to mention best selling three-row mid-size SUV in the US, it would make sense for an electric upgrade.
Many people, including myself, were disappointed to hear the electric Explorer revealed in March would only be for Europe. Although Farley doesn’t name the Explorer exclusively, referring to it as a three-row crossover, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Explorer name transition to an EV in the US with an already established brand name like the Mustang and F-150.
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.