Ford plans to release several electric SUVs in the near-to-mid-term future. In addition to the Ford MEB SUV that would rival the VW ID.4, models will include a Ford Explorer Electric and a Lincoln Aviator Electric. The company confirmed the North American-focused midsize electric SUVs at the Delivering Ford+ (Ford Capital Markets Day 2021) event on May 26. New information on the models has emerged since then.
Ford Explorer Electric to ride on the new BEV architecture
At the Ford Capital Markets Day 2021, Hau Thai-Tang, Chief Product Platform and Operations Officer, Ford, announced a new dedicated EV platform to underpin a Ford Explorer Electric and a Lincoln Aviator Electric. Offering a preview of the platform with visuals, he said:
Today, we’re pleased to preview our rear-wheel drive/all-wheel drive BEV flexible architecture. It will deliver a whole new generation of high-volume vehicles, with even better returns because it supports higher production scale. Our architecture approach still allows us to share parts across vehicles, right down to the same pouch we use on F-150 Lightning and E-Transit. Rest assured, while some of the core technologies is shared, the vehicles themselves and the experiences they create for Ford and Lincoln customers will be very different.Hau Thai-Tang, Chief Product Platform and Operations Officer, Ford (Delivering Ford+/Capital Markets Day 2021)
He revealed that the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator would be among the fully electrified models on the new platform.
Our new rear-wheel drive/all-wheel drive BEV flexible architecture will underpin a range of emotive vehicles slated for production between now and 2030, including active lifestyle vehicles with great driving dynamics, cargo vehicles for those whole value space and versatility for their commercial needs, pickups delivering legendary Built Ford Tough capability on mid-size trucks, rugged SUVs for our adventure-seeking customers, and high-margin, high-demand larger two- and three-row SUVs for families around the world, like Explorer, and Lincoln Aviator.Hau Thai-Tang, Chief Product Platform and Operations Officer, Ford (Delivering Ford+/Capital Markets Day 2021)
Ford Explorer EV reconfirmed
Following the announcement of the Ford Explorer Electric, Mike Levine, Ford North America Product Communications Manager, reaffirmed the plan on Twitter. “Yes, we will fully electrify Explorer as you might expect, given our plan to deliver 40% of our line-up as fully electric vehicles by 2030,” Levine said.
In the U.S. alone, Ford expects one-third of the full-size pickup segment to go fully electric by 2030, representing more than 800,000 vehicles annually. The Blue Oval says it will capture 70% of the all-electric full-size bus and van industry by 2030, which would be more than 300,000 vehicles annually. “I’m pleased to announce that we’ll also deliver a scalable dedicated BEV architecture optimized for our next-gen full-size pickup trucks and utilities,” Thai-Tang added.
Ford has raised its planned investment in electrification by 2025 to USD 30 billion to accelerate programs. In addition to vehicle development, a sizable chunk of the investment will go on into the development of new ‘IonBoost’ lithium-ion batteries, ‘IonBoost Pro’ lithium iron phosphate batteries, and solid-state batteries.
Ford Explorer EV release date
According to an Automotive News report, Ford planned to manufacture the Explorer EV alongside the Mustang Mach-E at its Cuautitlan plant in Mexico from mid-2023. However, now the company has decided to relocate production to another site, one that is to be finalized. It has also reportedly postponed the start of production of the Explorer EV to December 2024.
Given the huge demand for the Mustang Mach-E globally (pegged at 2X production), Ford intends to make it a model of focus for Cuautitlan to capitalize on its popularity. In an interview on December 10, 2021, Drake said that the company would manufacture only the Mustang Mach-E at the Mexican factory.
Automotive News Canada later reported that Ford is likely to build the Explorer EV at the Oakville Assembly Plant in Canada. Its luxurious, Lincoln-branded cousin (Aviator EV) would also rollout of the same factory. The Blue Oval plans to manufacture a yearly total of 100,000 units of the EVs combined. The decision of whether to make them domestically or overseas could depend on the U.S. government’s decision to offer an additional incentive on EVs made in the U.S. at unionized plants.
Ford currently manufactures the Edge and Nautilus gasoline SUVs at the Oakville factory, but it could discontinue them in a few years. The company has confirmed a USD 1.8 billion investment and five EVs for this production site by 2027. Expect the official reveal of the Ford Explorer EV in the second half of 2024, and Ford dealers to receive the first stock in early-2025.
“Launching our BEVs with our most iconic brands allows us to take their strengths and desirability to a whole new level,” said Lisa Drake, COO, Ford (North America), at the 2021 Capital Markets Day event. “We can grow our brand by electrifying our icons,” Drake added, backed by the fact that approximately 70% of Mustang Mach-E orders have come from new customers who switched to Ford from other brands.
While all Ford models would eventually become electric vehicles, brand “icons” get precedence over the others. Nameplates with long records of healthy sales and profitability, such as Mustang, Transit, F-150, Ranger, and Explorer, are electrified first on the road to zero-emission.
Ford’s latest EV targets
On August 5, 2021, U.S. President Joe Biden announced that he’s signing an executive order setting a target of converting 50% of all passenger vehicle sales in America to electric by 2030. Supporting the Biden administration’s new goal, Ford announced the same day that it aims for EVs to account for 40-50% of its annual sales in the U.S. by 2030. Globally, the company plans to increase the share of EVs in its annual sales to at least 40% by 2040.
Featured image: Ford