A new report claims the gas-powered SUV will stick around until 2035.
The Ford Explorer will reportedly keep its internal combustion engine until at least 2035, a new report claims. The news comes from AutoForecast Solutions and it's somewhat surprising because we learned not long ago about plans to launch an all-electric version in the not-too-distant future. But apparently, the Blue Oval wants to cater to both ICE and EV customers, which makes sense considering not everyone is prepared to adopt pure battery electrification just yet.
The current generation Explorer, which rides on the automaker's CD6 platform, was all-new for the 2020 model year and a facelifted version of this sixth-generation model is due for the 2024 model year. Ford intends to keep building this SUV at its Chicago Assembly plant until December 22, 2035. Supposedly, a redesigned ICE Explorer will arrive in either 2026 or 2027, but it will continue to ride on the CD6 architecture.
Meanwhile, the all-electric Explorer and its more luxurious and expensive corporate cousin, the Lincoln Aviator, are set to be manufactured at Ford's Oakville Assembly plant in Canada. Details surrounding the Explorer and Aviator EVs remain murky at this time though the report does claim production is set to begin in late 2024.
It does seem a little unusual for Ford to offer two very different powertrain technology options for a single model for several years, so we're still somewhat skeptical about the ICE Explorer remaining in production for another dozen years or so. One possible reason for this is the Explorer's vast popularity with law enforcement agencies.
The Explorer Interceptor police vehicle is a constant presence on America's roads and highways. Police departments are not only familiar with it but also with ICE technology in general. Not all are ready to make the big EV switch. Whatever path Ford decides, the Explorer (and Aviator) are not going anywhere.
The Explorer first hit the market way back in 1991 and was an immediate sales success. As a replacement for the Bronco II, the first-generation Explorer rode on the same platform as the first and second-generation Ranger pickup trucks. It wasn't anywhere near as refined as it is today but at the time it played a major role in jumpstarting the SUV craze in America.