Ford Explorer may get a different battery
Ford’s Cologne-built Explorer will be delivered about half a year later than initially planned. Now, the carmaker gave a reason for the delay: Ford wants to use a different battery to comply with the ECE standard.
Until now, the plan was to manufacture the Explorer based on Volkswagen’s MEB. Ford’s electric SUV was thus to receive VW’s batteries and electric drives. However, plans, at least regarding the battery, have evolved.
The Ford Explorer will come with a different battery that will comply with the “upcoming European standard for electric vehicles, UN Regulation 100.3/ ECE-R 100.3”, Ford spokesperson Ralph Caba told 24RHEIN. If the new battery standard will require constructional changes of the vehicle remains unclear. After all, in addition to the hardware, VW was also to supply the software for controlling the battery and electric drive.
However, it seems unclear whether and why the batteries supplied by VW should not comply with the ECE standard, writes the portal Golem. According to the German TÜV Süd, new registrations from 1 September would only be possible according to revision 3. That would mean: if the VW batteries do not comply with the new standard, no new VW EVs would be allowed to hit the road from September. It is thus unlikely.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) speculates that using a different battery (a decision apparently made by the company’s headquarters in Detroit) could be a strategic decision regarding Ford’s future generations of electric cars. If the goal is to have as many identical parts as possible to simplify production, it makes sense to standardise the batteries. At the beginning of the year, Ford announced that it would no longer rely on cooperation with Volkswagen for its new generation of electric cars. From the middle of the decade, the vehicles should use the in-house system developed by Ford in the USA.
If one believes the FAZ, Ford Europe was probably too quick with the MEB cooperation and the associated battery purchase from VW. “Ford’s headquarters in Detroit was somewhat behind in the development of the future EV range, Ford Germany somewhat ahead due to the cooperation with Volkswagen,” the paper writes. “Now Ford in Cologne is being caught up by the delayed strategic decisions in Detroit.” “It may not have helped” that the corresponding VW models “are not particularly successful on the market at the moment.”
In the time gained by the production delay, the model will “apparently be redesigned” and receive a new battery, according to the FAZ. However, the newspaper does not go into detail here. According to Ford spokesman Caba, this will not be the case, but the delay will be caused by the fact that Ford is waiting for VW to deliver Revision 3-compliant batteries.
Ford presented the new electric Explorer in March 2023. Order books were to open in September of this year, and the first vehicles were to be delivered before Christmas. The carmaker already converted two production lines to build electric cars, and the conversion of a third line is underway. Plans to postpone production of the Ford Explorer at the Cologne factory just became public yesterday. It remains unclear what will happen with the German production plant and its workers until production is ramped up in the summer of 2024.