Ford postpones production launch for the Explorer in Cologne

Ford has postponed the market launch of its Cologne-built electric model Explorer, previously planned for early 2024, by about half a year. The issue is apparently related to new global safety regulations for the drive train.

As reported by the Cologne-based publication Kölnische Rundschau, Ford informed the Cologne workforce on Thursday morning. According to the report, Ford justifies the postponement with new worldwide safety rules for the powertrain of these cars, which will soon come into force. Ford has decided to launch vehicles worldwide according to this new standard.

However, the report does not specify which “global safety rules” these will be. In the EU, some additional assistance systems will be compulsory for all new cars from 2024, for newly homologated vehicles this obligation has already been applied since 6 July 2022 – and from 2024 then also for vehicles with older type approval. However, these do not affect the powertrain.

According to the Kölnische Rundschau, the Explorer will therefore only be available for purchase by customers “next summer”. So far, only non-binding reservations were possible. Actually, production of the Ford Explorer, which was presented in March 2023 and is based on Volkswagen’s MEB platform, was supposed to start now after the plant holidays at the Electric Vehicle Center in Cologne, which Ford opened in June 2023, and then slowly ramp up for a start of sales in early 2024.

As mentioned, the Explorer is not based on a Ford technology platform, but on Volkswagen’s MEB. At the premiere of the model, however, Ford had not yet given any technical data on the drive system, the exact power of the rear-wheel and all-wheel drive as well as the battery sizes are unknown. The VW brands offer a battery with 82 kWh gross/77 kWh net for vehicles of this size. The rear-wheel drive produces 150 kW, and for the all-wheel drive option with an additional ASM on the front axle, VW offers two stages with 195 and 220 kW system power respectively.

For the moment, it remains unknown exactly which individual components Ford obtains from Volkswagen and where the Cologne SUV model differs from the other MEB models. At the premiere, Ford had stated that the battery in the Explorer could be charged from ten to 80 per cent in just 25 minutes. At VW, the factory specification has so far been 29 minutes. (in German)


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