Ford’s current EV plan is specifically focused on what the automaker considers its “iconic” models, as well as commercial vehicles, though CEO Jim Farley recently stated that future EVs won’t simply be electric versions of existing ICE-powered models. This means that vehicles likes the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning – which is essentially just an electrified F-150 – won’t be emulated in the future, and that apparently includes the forthcoming Ford Explorer EV. In fact, while speaking at the 2022 Alliance Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference, Farley went so far as to say that traditional Explorer customers may not like the all-electric vehicles the automaker is cooking up.
“On the EV business, you got to make sure that you don’t just have electric digital versions of your ICE products,” Farley said. “To have top end engineering much less, like Tesla has shown us, you have to approach the creation of the product through a conquest methodology. You design the product so they are actually incredibly painfully advanced. You over invest in electric architecture and embedded system, the way they look, the digital experience inside of them. It’s probably not going to be comfortable for our current customers who buy an Explorer.”
Those traditional Explorer customers will at least have an all-electric version of that crossover to consider very soon. Farley first revealed that the Explorer EV was in development over a year ago, though it and the Lincoln Aviator EV has since been pushed back from 2023 to late 2024. That delay stems from the fact that Ford will reportedly build the Explorer and Aviator EVs at its Oakville Assembly plant in Canada rather than the Cuautitlan Assembly plant in Mexico as originally planned, as well as the Chicago Assembly plant, where the ICE-powered Explorer and Aviator are built.
Meanwhile, the ICE Explorer continues to be a strong seller for The Blue Oval, coming in second in the mainstream large three-row crossover segment in Q1 of this year. Ford previously stated that it expects to sell 100,000 Explorer and Aviator EVs annually as well, as Ford Authority reported back in December.