Ford might have made the biggest automotive news of 2021 by revealing its 2022 F-150 Lightning electric pickup. But a new report says the company had another blockbuster piece of EV news in the works. But, it’s just been delayed.
Automotive News reports that Ford “is delaying the start of production of battery-electric versions of the Explorer and Lincoln Aviator crossovers by roughly 18 months.” Citing a leaked memo to suppliers, AN says the two “are now slated to go into production in December 2024.”
Automakers routinely show off new models to the press up to a year before they’re available, so we expect to see electric vehicle (EV) versions of the popular Explorer and the Aviator, its dressier luxury cousin, sometime in 2023.
Delaying Explorer EV to Build More Mustang Mach-Es
The delay is happening, AN says, because of the success of another model.
Ford had planned to build the two at the same Mexico plant where it builds the Mustang Mach-E electric midsize crossover. But the Mach-E has sold so well that Ford will instead devote that factory space to expanding its production.
The company reportedly hasn’t decided where to build the Explorer and Aviator EVs.
Ford has said it expects EVs to make up 40% of its global sales by 2040. That’s a less ambitious target than some rivals. General Motors plans to sell a mostly electric lineup by 2035. Several European automakers, including Volvo and Mercedes, have announced plans to go all or mostly electric by 2030.
Ford’s Plan — Electric Icons
But the company’s strategy of using its most iconic nameplates to sell electric cars may be paying off. The Mustang Mach-E is not precisely a Mustang. But trading on the iconic muscle car’s name has helped Ford sell so many Mach-E models that it needs to rethink its factory plans.
The company announced late last week that buyers have reserved every F-150 Lightning Ford can make until mid-2025.
With those successes in mind, an electric Explorer seems likely to win consideration from a lot of shoppers.