Ford Explorer EV production kicks off in Germany with new battery

Max McDee, 06 June 2024

The all-electric Ford Explorer has finally rolled off the production line in Cologne, Germany, marking a significant milestone for Ford's European EV lineup. The model was delayed to accommodate a switch from nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) to lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) batteries, the Explorer now boasts increased durability and a lower price point, starting at just over $49,900.

The battery switch to LFP aligns with a broader industry trend. European automakers seek to leverage the cost-effective chemistry. Jochen Bruckmann, Ford's launch leader for final assembly, emphasized the decision to prioritize the "latest, greatest technology" for consumers, even if it meant a six-month production delay.

LFP-powered Ford Explorer EV production kicks off in Germany

The Explorer, built on Volkswagen Group's MEB platform, is Ford's most affordable electric vehicle in Europe, undercutting the Mustang Mach-E by at least $3,200, depending on the market. Initially, it will be available with an 84-kilowatt-hour LFP battery pack, delivering a range of 374 miles. A smaller 55-kWh pack will follow later this year.

Two powertrain options are available: the rear-wheel-drive variant has a single motor producing 281 horsepower and the all-wheel-drive version with dual motors generates 335 horsepower. The latter sacrifices some range, dropping to 351 miles on a single charge. Both models support up to 11 kW AC charging and offer 135 kW DC charging for the RWD model and 185 kW for the AWD.

LFP-powered Ford Explorer EV production kicks off in Germany

The Cologne plant, a cornerstone of Ford's manufacturing legacy, has undergone a $2 billion transformation into a dedicated Electric Vehicle Center. With a projected annual capacity of over 250,000 vehicles, the facility will play a pivotal role in Ford's European electrification ambitions. In addition to the Explorer, a second MEB-based sports crossover is slated for production later this year.

Ford's investment in LFP technology extends beyond the Explorer. The Mach-E, Ford's midsize SUV, is now available in Europe with an optional LFP battery from CATL, the Chinese supplier behind the Explorer's battery cells. Ford partnered with CATL to establish a US-based LFP battery plant, which is expected to be operational by 2026.

Ford's move towards LFP batteries is not unique. Stellantis, another major automaker, has also expressed interest in LFP technology, potentially partnering with CATL for a European gigafactory. Even Mercedes-Benz Group's battery company, ACC, is considering incorporating LFP production at its German facility. As the global automotive industry continues to electrify, LFP batteries are emerging as a new standard, offering a more affordable and sustainable alternative to traditional NMC batteries.


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