When Ford set out to change their entire line-up of vehicles into full electrics for future models, they started by electrifying their existing mainstream models. They began this journey many years ago with a Ford Escape Hybrid which was received well but was not rolled out into the other models and eventually just waited for the hybrid SUV market to grow.
This summer, Ford returned to the electrics market with the introduction of the 2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid.
The 2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid will have a 3.3-liter V-6 and a 10-speed automatic transmission that incorporates a modular hybrid system. It will have 318 horsepower with a projected range of around 500 miles. Although Ford had previously predicted that the Explorer Hybrid would do 24 mpg, EPA combined, its final ratings might be a little higher than that.
A Police Interceptor Utility Hybrid version, which slightly differed in weight and output compared to consumer variants, gave a 0-60 mph time of 7.3 seconds and 0-100 mph time of 17.7 seconds. It had a top speed of 137 mph, as determined by the Michigan State Police.
The Explorer Hybrid weighed 455 pounds more than a comparable (3.0-liter EcoBoost AWD) non-hybrid model because of the weight of the battery pack which was larger than the conventional model. Ford also announced that the Explorer Hybrid’s lithium-ion battery pack will be liquid-cooled and fitted below the second-row seats in a way that preserves passenger and cargo space.
A plan is also underway to build a plug-in hybrid version of the Lincoln Aviator, which shares many similarities with the Explorer.
Although detailed information was not immediately available, there have been hints that the Explorer will be capable of towing a boat or trailer. Based on the towing capability of the Ford Escape which was rated at 1,000 pounds, it would suggest that the Explorer, with its more powerful engine, will be expected to deliver a much higher tow capacity.
Other features that will come with this new model include Active Noise Cancellation, 10-way-adjustable power front seats, leather upholstery, second-row heated seats, a wireless phone charging pad, a 14-speaker B&O sound system, and a suite of Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+ safety and assistance technologies.
It is still unclear if Ford will offer the Explorer Hybrid in the full range of base, XLT, Limited, and Platinum variants which are all planned for 2020.
The 2020 Explorer line-up may still offer drive configurations like rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, just like the previous Explorer models. Ford, however, has yet to specify whether these drive configurations will be offered for the Hybrid.
The 2020 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid will start at US$52,780, which will be US$3,555 more than an equivalent Explorer Limited in non-hybrid form. There is still a lot about the Explorer Hybrid that remains a mystery, however, such as the size of the battery. It is only a matter of time until all that information is revealed about the 2020 Explorer line-up once it reaches dealerships this summer.
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