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Ford to reveal European-market SUV on Volkswagen ID4 platform


Sitting on Volkswagen’s all-electric platform, Ford’s latest SUV will soon join its European lineup – but an Australian release appears unlikely at first

Ford has confirmed a new all-electric SUV will be revealed for the European market on March 21 – a vehicle that could carry the Explorer Sport nameplate.

The Blue Oval brand confirmed late last year that an SUV based on Volkswagen’s MEB platform would launch in 2023 under its platform-sharing agreement that has also spawned the likes of the new-generation Ranger and Amarok duo. 

Ford EV Europe lineup passanger
Alongside the new-gen Puma and Mustang Mach-E (both left) Ford is expected to introduce two MEB-based EVs

It’s expected to be the first of two MEB-based SUVs, with the teased SUV likely to fulfil the ‘sports crossover’ void in Ford’s previously announced line-up, with a more straight-laced ‘medium-size crossover’ set to follow. 

Upon launch, the teased SUV will be the second offered by Ford in the region alongside the Mustang Mach-E. This upcoming crossover will also likely face competition from the likes of the Tesla Model Y, Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6.

While Ford’s SUV could use different hardware, it’s likely that it will use the same internals as the ID4 and thus feature similar levels of capability. 

Volkswagen ID4 pro 2023 front 3/4 driving
The MEB platform underpins Volkswagen’s ID4

Currently Volkswagen offers a single-motor variant with either a 52kWh and 77kWh (usable) battery sizes, with a range of 341km and 513km respectively (WLTP). A dual-motor 77kWh option is also available with 490km of range.

What is Ford’s upcoming electric crossover? 

Earlier this week, Amko Leenarts Ford Europe design director took to Twitter to share a teaser of the vehicle, pulling a cover back to show a large aero-styled wheel and a front guard with a black plastic trim on it. 

As previously mentioned, design and dimensions of the vehicle (also snapped in spy pictures) point to this mystery vehicle fulfilling the ‘Sports Crossover’ slot in Ford’s silhouetted EV line-up, that confirmed nine EVs for the European market back in 2022.

Ford MEB EV teaser
Ford’s new SUV was teased earlier this week

In the video, Leenarts reveals the aerodynamic wheel design but gives little else away, though the hashtag “ExploringReinvented” does provide some evidence that Ford could revive the ‘Explorer Sport’ nameplate for this vehicle.

Australia to benefit from Ford’s global EV strategy

Ford Australia draws its lineup from Europe (Escape, Puma, Fiesta, Focus, Transit, Transit Custom); Ford America (F-150, Mustang) while also leading projects of its own alongside the Thailand division to create the popular Ranger ute and Everest 4WD siblings.

The connection to the former is expected to drive the local introduction of the right-hand-drive Mustang Mach-E electric SUV as one of five electrified vehicles promised for Australia alongside the E-Transit, E-Transit Custom and the Escape PHEV before 2024.

The fifth and final position could be filled by one of the two MEB-based SUVs bound for Europe though that’s not looking likely.

Ford Europe EV lineup
Ford Europe confirmed nine EVs by 2024 back in 2022

Lisa Drake, Ford’s vice president of EV industrialisation, told Chasing Cars last year that the MEB-based Ford SUV would not be sold in Australia, or anywhere else outside of Europe for that matter.

Electrified versions of the Ranger are another possible contender for the final position, with Ford Australia making it clear during the launch that the ute’s updated T6.2 platform was built with electrification in mind to supply future projects.

While a fully-electric ‘Lightning’ version is likely to arrive in the future, it’s more probable that we will see a plug-in hybrid version arrive first, to better suit Australia’s current conditions and still limited charging infrastructure, when compared to other western nations. 

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