Kia EV5, image courtesy of Kia

Kia EV5 For China, Electric Ford Explorer For Europe

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Kia and Ford announced this week the introduction of two new electric midsize crossover SUVs. The Kia EV5 will go on sale in China later this year and Ford has begun accepting orders for its new Explorer EV in Europe. Kia says it has no plans at the moment to sell the EV5 in any other markets and Ford says the new Explorer is a Europe-only model, at least for now.

Is The Kia EV5 A Scaled Down Version Of The EV9?

Kia just took the wraps off its EV9, the jumbo sized 3-row electric SUV for America last week. Not surprisingly, there are significant similarities between it and the EV5, both of which feature what the company calls its “Opposites United” design philosophy. Like its big brother, the EV5 features swiveling passenger seats that can turn 90 degrees to help people get in and out. Swiveling seats may become the new, new thing in SUV-land.

Kia EV9
Kia EV9. Image courtesy of Kia

For some reason, the official photos from Kia feature the car in deep shadow, perhaps to highlight its highly sculpted body panels, but the family resemblance is instantly clear. Here are some more views of the car.

Kia EV5

Kia EV5

Kia EV5

The KIA EV5 concept took center stage at the company’s China EV Day this week and provides a preview of a production all-electric SUV model that will be launched first in China later this year, the company said in a press release. The Concept EV5 also heralds a new design era for Kia and gives an intriguing glimpse into the aesthetic direction of the brand’s future fully electric models.

“It is my great privilege to proudly announce that Kia is entering the EV market in China. The Kia Concept EV5 marks yet another definitive step on our mission to become a leader in sustainable mobility solutions to provide a better future for all. Kia will enrich our customers’ lifestyles and enable them to pursue personal adventures by setting fresh standards for dynamic and efficient electric driving,” said Ho Sung Song, President and CEO of Kia Corporation.

The company said it is creating a unique SUV to support those pursuing a ‘borderless life’ where there is no boundary between their enjoyment and appreciation of nature and the city. “The Kia Concept EV5 takes influence from the contrast and complementing of natural landscapes and man made architecture. It is designed to inspire our customers on every journey, while providing sustainable and environmentally responsible solutions. Created for those who seek inventive new ideas, the SUV brings together emotional form language with innovative, user-focused interior architecture,” explained Karim Habib, the head of Kia’s Global Design Center.

The completely flat floor and the generous space found within the cabin create a “space of coexistence,” where nature, people, and technology come together in harmony. Combined with the design themes of Healing, Caring, and Re-Charging, the interior of the Concept EV5 provides the perfect environment for occupants to relax. The interior color palette brings calmness and purity while the center fascia emphasizes the philosophy of “Bold for Nature” through the application of contrasting materials while the large, wide panoramic display provides greater levels of content for occupants to enjoy. The Concept EV5 achieves the boundless design that blurs the boundaries between outdoor and indoor spaces, the company said.

Prices, range, charging times? Nope. Those things will come in time. “The production model of the EV5 will be released first in the Chinese market later this year. Details regarding any future plans for the other global markets will be made “in due course,” the company said.

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Ford Explorer First To Use Volkswagen MEB Platform

Ford Explorer EV
Ford Explorer EV, image courtesy of Ford

Ford today revealed the new all-electric Explorer — a bold new electric vehicle that combines German engineering with striking American style. It is the first in a wave of innovative new electric vehicles from Ford and forges the way for a complete reinvention of the Ford brand in Europe. The midsize crossover has seats for five across two rows and is fully equipped to set families on the road to adventure, Ford said in a press release this week.

Image courtesy of Ford

Engineered and built in Germany, the all-electric Explorer offers an outstanding digital experience, helping drivers and passengers stay connected and comfortable on the move. Features include a SYNC Move 2 supersized movable touchscreen and fully connected infotainment system with audio tailored to the interior, wireless app integration and advanced driver assistance technology.

Adventure-ready design and storage of about 470 liters in five-seat mode make Ford’s newest electric vehicle ideal for exploring the city and beyond. The 17-liter console between driver and front-seat passenger can hold a 15-inch laptop. Combined with a private locker and available hands-free accessible boot space, Ford’s all electric Explorer sets a new standard.

Futuristic exterior styling is matched by an ultra-modern interior with premium materials and features such as sculpted sporty seats and a sophisticated soundbar more typical of revolutionary concept cars than family vehicles. All this comes together with the ability to fast charge from 10 to 80% in just 25 minutes and access by next year to 500,000 charging points across Europe.

“Explorer is a trailblazer for a new breed of exciting Ford electric vehicles. Steeped in our American roots but built in Cologne for our customers in Europe, it is road trip-ready for the big adventures and fully loaded with everything our customers will need for their daily drives,” said Martin Sander, general manager for Ford Model e of Europe.

Here are some photos of the new electric Explorer, which looks thoroughly modern but without the cheeks and jowls that define the Kia EV5.

Ford Explorer EV

Ford Explorer EV

Ford Explorer EV

Ford says it’s not talking about range until the release date gets nearer, but did announce starting prices. The Explorer EV will be available in two trims — Explorer and Explorer Premium — with starting pricing “less than €45,000” ($48,250). It will be built at the Ford factory in Köln, where the Focus used to be manufactured. The company is investing more than $1 billion to transition to electric cars and light trucks in Europe.

According to The Verge, in addition to the Explorer EV, there will also be a sport crossover with a range of 500 km (311 miles) and an electric version of the Puma, a compact crossover that will be built at the Ford factory in Craiova, Romania, starting next year. Ford will also put four commercial EVs into production, including electric versions of its Transit Courier and Tourneo Courier multipurpose vans. The E-Transit van is already available to customers in Europe.

Ford Explorer EV

The Takeaway

There apparently is no chance the new Ford Explorer EV will be imported to America, where it would not qualify for federal EV tax incentives, although Ford is rumored to be working on a new electric SUV that will be built in Canada starting next year. Similarly, the Kia EV5 would not qualify for federal incentives either, so it is also unlikely to appear in US showrooms.

As a regular reader commented on our story about Ford dealers pulling out of the company’s EV sales plan, Ford needs to start ramping up production. The latest headlines suggest the company is about to announce massive losses on every EV sold. Only volume will make EVs profitable for the company. It is talking a good game, but now it needs to put its plans into action. Even the retooled factory in Germany is only expected to produce 200,000 cars a year. That’s a modest goal at best and far behind what Tesla has in mind for 2024 and beyond.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

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