The Ford electric car based on Volkswagen’s MEB platform was spotted for the first time in April. Ford Authority published spy pictures of what looked like a concept version of the future Ford crossover. According to a report from Autocar UK, the Ford MEB model debuts in the first half of 2022 and go on sale in 2023 in the European market.
Observing Ford Authority’s spy shots, the semi-covered future Ford EV is a compact SUV belonging to the segment of the VW ID.4. It sits closer to the ground, but this is probably a design concept, and many attributes could change by the time it enters serial production. It features noticeably raked A-pillars, a smooth front-end, sharp, clean edges, a gently sloping roofline, and a fashionably (but not overdone) hunched rear-end. The Ford MEB EV’s headlamps and faux grille could be more aggressive than those of the ID.4, though.
Tougher than the Mustang Mach-E
The report from Autocar corroborates the expectation of a tougher exterior in the Ford MEB SUV compared to the ID.4, saying that it is tipped to be a significant departure from the softly-styled Mustang Mach-E. The upcoming electric SUV may feature straighter lines in addition to a more upright front fascia. Brute, truly American Ford SUVs like the Explorer and the Bronco, which is like a forbidden fruit in Europe, may become an inspiration for designers in this case.
The British publication also says that the Blue Oval is yet to take a call on the name. It’s yet to decide whether to revive an old name, use an existing name, or come up with a new brand. However, calling it the Ford Mondeo is “highly unlikely,” and Ford doesn’t plan to risk diluting the well-known ST and RS variant names for the equipment lines of this model.
The dimensions could be similar to those of the ID.4, around 4.6 metres in length, 2.1 metres in width, and the wheelbase covering about 2.8 metres of the length.
Ford’s first MEB-based vehicle will be designed and engineered in Cologne-Merkenich. Announcing it in June 2020, the Blue Oval said the product would be “a highly differentiated Ford electric vehicle,” without mentioning the segment or shape of the car, which we now learn is a boxy crossover.
The interior will be inspired by the Ford Evos, which debuted at Auto Shanghai 2021. Ford is switching to Android Automotive OS-based infotainment systems from 2023, and it wouldn’t surprise us if this electric SUV turns out to be its first car to be shipped with one.
Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen AG have signed agreements for their global alliance that includes the development of midsize pickup trucks and commercial and electric vehicles. Both the brands are looking at other additional ways to cooperate on electric vehicles, and this project is the first step in the extension.
In February, Ford announced plans to build its first volume passenger EV for Europe at its Cologne factory in Germany from 2023. The company is investing $1 billion in retooling that factory for EVs, including the MEB compact SUV, perhaps as the first vehicle.
Ford MEB EV customers could be given the same battery pack options as ID.4 buyers, a 52 kWh unit, and a 77 kWh unit. The Ford electric SUV could borrow the motors from the Volkswagen SUV, 109 kW (148 PS)/220 Nm and 125 kW (170 PS)/310 Nm units for the 52 kWh variant and a 150 kW (204 PS)/310 Nm unit for the 77 kWh variant. Similarly, the maximum charging capacity will likely be 11 kW with alternating current (AC) and 125 kW with direct current (DC). The latter allows a 5-80% recharge in just around half an hour.
While Ford has said that it is planning to sell over 600,000 units of MEB-based cars over several years from 2023, talks were already on at some level since early last year for other product possibilities on the modular architecture.
Ford Britain’s Managing Director Andy Barratt and Executive Director for Business Transformation Graham Hoare talked about Ford’s electric plans for Europe to British publication BusinessCar.co.uk in an interview published in March 2020. Hoare said that the Blue Oval wants to put its best foot forward when it comes to electrification, and the company’s credible EV products will be aspirational. With the VW partnership, Ford will be able to jointly scale the MEB platform, as the market is small now, and the companies need to maximize the benefits.
Ford is looking to launch EVs that will be affordable but with all the features and functions that customers expect, and the first MEB-based car would reflect these qualities.
Featured Image Source: Volkswagen Group