Ford hints at an Escape-sized electric SUV with the interior space of an Explorer

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Is Ford finally going to launch an electric Explorer in the US? Ford’s CEO John Lawler said at the BofA Auto Summit Tuesday an Escape-sized electric SUV can offer the same interior space as its best-selling Explorer on its new EV platform.

Shifting to more affordable EVs

After the all-electric Ford Explorer was launched in Europe on Tuesday, fans of the large SUV in the US are hoping to hear some good news.

Ford revealed that the Explorer EV will start at under £40,000 ($50,000) with up to 374 miles range. Based on Volkswagen’s MEB platform, the electric Explorer can fast charge (10% to 80%) in about 25 minutes.

Although Ford confirmed it will launch a three-row electric SUV in the US, these plans have been pushed back as the automaker shifts to smaller, more affordable EVs.

At the BofA Auto Summit Tuesday, Lawler discussed Ford’s growth plans while reaffirming operating guidance.

Lawler said Ford is working to match EV capacity with demand. The American automaker cut production of its all-electric F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach-E in recent months. The company’s CFO said it was due to lower-than-expected industry demand.

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All-electric Ford Explorer (Source: Ford)

Although Ford is scaling back EV investments, Lawler said the transition to electric is not a matter of if but when.

As it aims to be more competitive, Ford’s CEO, Jim Farley, said the automaker was betting on smaller, more affordable EVs last month. Farley added Ford assembled a “skunk works” team to develop the platform with “some of the best EV engineers in the world.” The team is led by Alan Clarke, a top engineer for Tesla’s Model Y and 3.

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Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Bronze edition (Source: Ford)

Ford hints at Escape-sized EV with Explorer interior

According to Lawler, the “game will not be fought and won with larger vehicles.” Instead, smaller, more affordable EVs will win in the long run.

Lawler said the new EV platform will enable multiple low-cost “top hats” or body designs. Ford sees the real traction in these. Ford’s CFO reiterated that the ultimate competition is low-cost EVs from China and Tesla.

Despite being best known for larger vehicles like its F-150 trucks, Ford is working toward that future.

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Ford electric Explorer (Source: Ford)

Lawler explained that larger EVs are less efficient and profitable with bigger batteries. The opposite is true for gas-powered vehicles. You can add an extra row and new features and charge a premium on ICE vehicles, but larger EVs require a bigger battery.

Ford’s CFO hinted at an Escape-sized EV with the interior space of an Explorer. Lawler said this is possible because there aren’t limitations up front like in gas-powered cars, which opens up more space.

According to Lawler, the new EV platform offers a lot of freedom and will cover a large segment of the population. It will cover SUVs, trucks, vans, and others. However, Ford needs more time to introduce it.

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2024 Ford F-150 Flash (Source: Ford)

According to a Bloomberg Businessweek report earlier this month, Ford will launch a smaller electric pickup and SUV on the platform. The first model is expected out in 2026 with starting prices around $25,000. Lawler said the launch date is still to be determined.

Although Ford is moving to smaller EVs, it’s not abandoning trucks. The automaker is still building a ground-up electric pickup platform alongside the more affordable one as it prepares to launch its next-gen EVs.

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