Ford Teases Electric SUV: Escape-Sized with Explorer-Class Interior

Shifting to more affordable EVs​

Following the European debut of the all-electric Ford Explorer on Tuesday, enthusiasts of the spacious SUV in the United States are eagerly awaiting positive updates.

Ford unveiled that the Explorer EV will have a starting price of under £40,000 ($50,000) and a range of up to 374 miles. Built on Volkswagen’s MEB platform, this electric iteration of the Explorer boasts rapid charging capabilities, reaching from 10% to 80% in approximately 25 minutes.

While Ford has confirmed its intention to introduce a three-row electric SUV in the US, these plans have been delayed as the company pivots towards smaller, more cost-effective EV offerings.

During the BofA Auto Summit on Tuesday, Lawler delved into Ford’s expansion strategies while reiterating operational objectives.

Lawler emphasized Ford’s efforts to align EV production with consumer demand. The American automaker scaled back production of its all-electric F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach-E in recent months, citing lower-than-anticipated industry demand, according to the company’s CFO.

While Ford is adjusting its EV investments, Lawler emphasized that the shift to electric propulsion is inevitable, stating it’s not a question of if but when.

In a bid to enhance competitiveness, Ford’s CEO, Jim Farley, outlined last month the company’s focus on smaller, more cost-effective EVs. Farley also disclosed Ford’s establishment of a “skunk works” team tasked with developing this platform, comprising some of the industry’s most skilled EV engineers. Heading this team is Alan Clarke, previously a lead engineer for Tesla’s Model Y and Model 3.

Ford Teases an Escape-Sized Electric SUV with Explorer-Class Interior

Lawler emphasized that the battleground of the automotive industry won’t be dominated by larger vehicles. Instead, he stressed that smaller, more affordable EVs will emerge victorious in the long term.

Highlighting the versatility of the new EV platform, Lawler mentioned its capability to accommodate multiple low-cost “top hats” or body designs, which Ford perceives as the real driving force in the market. This sentiment was echoed by Ford’s CFO, who underlined that the primary competition lies in the realm of low-cost EVs originating from China and Tesla.

Despite Ford’s reputation for producing larger vehicles such as its F-150 trucks, the company is steadfastly moving towards this future-oriented vision.

Lawler elucidated that larger EVs tend to be less efficient and profitable due to the necessity of larger batteries, which contrasts with the dynamics of gas-powered vehicles. While additional rows and features can be easily integrated into internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to command premium pricing, larger EVs face the challenge of accommodating bigger battery packs.

Ford’s CFO hinted at the potential of an Escape-sized EV boasting the interior spaciousness of an Explorer. Lawler emphasized the feasibility of this concept, attributing it to the absence of front-end limitations typical in gas-powered vehicles, which liberates more interior space.

Lawler further noted that the new EV platform offers significant flexibility and is poised to cater to a broad spectrum of consumers, spanning SUVs, trucks, vans, and other vehicle categories. However, Ford acknowledges the necessity for additional time to bring this platform to fruition.

Ford's Electric Vehicle Expansion: Smaller Pickup and SUV Models on the Horizon

As per a recent Bloomberg Businessweek report, Ford is gearing up to unveil a smaller electric pickup and SUV built on the same platform. The debut of the initial model is anticipated in 2026, with starting prices estimated to hover around $25,000. Lawler mentioned that the exact launch date is yet to be finalized.

Despite transitioning towards smaller EVs, Ford remains committed to its truck lineup. The automaker is concurrently developing an electric pickup platform from scratch alongside the more cost-effective platform, aligning with its strategy for the forthcoming generation of electric vehicles.