First Ford Explorer rolls off production line

Ford has begun mass production of its new Explorer EV in Europe.

The first customer car rolled off the production line at Ford’s factory in Cologne and was handed over to its new owner at a special ceremony to mark the event.

The Explorer is Ford’s second EV after the Mustang Mach-e and marks the start of a ramping up of electric models from the brand.

The mid-sized family SUV will be joined later this year by a sleeker looking ‘sports crossover’ and an all-electric version of the best-selling Puma.

The Explorer is Ford’s first EV designed specifically for Europe and is based on Volkswagen’s MEB platform which already underpins the ID.4, Skoda Enyaq and Audi Q4 e-tron. Its production was delayed by six months as Ford waited for new battery technology to become available but the brand says the Explorer now offers best-in-class range of up to 374 miles.

That’s for the 84kWh long-range model which will form the first wave of vehicles to leave Cologne. UK pricing for those cars starts at £45,875, with the standard range cars due to arrive later in 2024 priced from £39,875.

Along with a choice of batteries, Ford will also offer the Explorer in single-motor rear-wheel-drive and two-motor all-wheel-variants.

The start of full-scale Explorer production marks a new chapter for the Cologne factory which has undergone a $2bn transformation. The plant, which previously built the Fiesta supermini, will now form Ford’s European EV manufacturing hub, capable of building up to 250,000 cars a year.

Later this year the Explorer will be joined on the Cologne line by a second crossover based on the MEB platform.

Kieran Cahill, vice president of manufacturing for Ford in Europe, commented: “To see the Cologne factory founded by Ford in 1930 being transformed into a state-of-the-art electric vehicle production facility is nothing short of amazing.

“The start of mass production of electric vehicles, with the new all-electric Explorer, marks the beginning of a new era for Ford in Europe.”

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Matt Allan

Matt is Editor of EV Powered. He has worked in journalism for more than 20 years and been an automotive journalist for the last decade, covering every aspect of the industry, from new model reveals and reviews to consumer and driving advice. The former motoring editor of, The Scotsman and National World, Matt has watched the EV landscape transform beyond recognition over the last 10 years and developed a passion for electric vehicles and what they mean for the future of transport - from the smallest city cars to the biggest battery-powered trucks. When he’s not driving or writing about electric cars, he’s figuring out how to convert his classic VW camper to electric power.