All-electric Ford Explorer finally launches in Europe, promising up to 374 miles of range

Ford Explorer
(Image credit: Ford)

Ford's all-electric Explorer was due to launch in Europe in the last quarter of 2023, but hit delays with the introduction of new EU battery certification. Now, after tweaking the formula, the American marque is finally ready to put its competitive SUV on sale in the region.

Starting at €45,000, or £39,875 in the UK (around $42,000 minus Europe's taxes/ AU$65,000), this base level electric model, which will go on sale after more expensive versions, features a single 168bhp motor mounted to the rear axle and takes power from the smaller 52kWh battery pack.

Predictably, all-electric range (expect around 230 miles) isn’t anywhere near the whopping 374-miles touted by Ford in its more potent, Extended Range rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions, which start at £45,875 (around $46,000 minus VAT/ AU$71,000).

These models use a revised 77kWh lithium-ion nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) battery pack, which now adheres to recently introduced UN Regulations for EV safety, as well as a 282bhp single motor mounted to the rear for maximum electric range.

Ford Explorer

(Image credit: Ford)

Improved performance can be had with a dual-motor all-wheel-drive version, which uses a fractionally larger 79kWh battery pack that sees power output rise to 335bhp – equating to the fastest 0-62mph sprint time of 5.3 seconds. Range hovers around the 330-mile mark here.

The all-electric Ford Explorer is the first fruits of a partnership between the Blue Oval and the Volkswagen Group, which has provided its MEB architecture and electric motor knowledge to underpin the new model.

According to Ford, this freed up more developmental time to ensure the Explorer offers a sporting and dynamic drive, with Martin Sander, who leads Ford's Model E electrification division in Europe, telling Autocar that it has a "very distinct character" compared to the many rivals in its segment as a result.

Ford Explorer

(Image credit: Ford)

Speaking of which, the Ford Explorer will go up against a handful of models that ride on almost identical underpinnings, including the VW ID 4 and the Skoda Enyaq, both of which can't quite compete with that 374-mile max EV range figure, but get close on pricing.

To keep things simple, Ford will only offer Select and Premium trim levels, with all cars receiving niceties, such as heated steering wheels and seats, wireless smartphone charging and Ford’s latest Sync Move vertical infotainment system, which can be tilted by up to 30-degrees to minimize glare.

Analysis: An important milestone for Ford

Ford Explorer

(Image credit: Ford)

The European Explorer will likely prove a pivotal vehicle in Ford's new electrified era, as it aims to do battle with established EVs thanks to a competitive electric range and more conventional, if deliberately US-inspired SUV styling.

The Ford Mustang Mach-E, which is currently its only other electric passenger car offering in Europe, has experienced solid sales numbers across the globe, but some reports suggest that customer hunger for the model is slowing – particularly in the US.

The introduction of a slightly more 'conventional' SUV shape, complete with decent load space and a comfortable architecture that has been designed for European roads, will likely prove an attractive proposition for buyers.

But Ford still appears unsure of its future EV strategy, previously delaying its $12 billion spending on EVs due to an indecisive market. What's more, CEO Jim Farley believes that smaller, lower cost electric vehicles are key to the company's future success.

Although €45,000 (£39,875 / $42,000/ AU$65,000) might seem cheap on paper, it doesn’t buy anywhere near the headline-grabbing range figures. Access to those costs at least £45,875 (around $46,000 minus VAT/ AU$71,000), which is still a huge chunk of change for any new customer.

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Leon Poultney

Leon has been navigating a world where automotive and tech collide for almost 20 years, reporting on everything from in-car entertainment to robotised manufacturing plants. Currently, EVs are the focus of his attentions, but give it a few years and it will be electric vertical take-off and landing craft. Outside of work hours, he can be found tinkering with distinctly analogue motorcycles, because electric motors are no replacement for an old Honda inline four.