Ford has confirmed that there will not be a 2024 Explorer Hybrid—but the model hasn’t exactly been canceled either.
Ford product communications director Mike Levine, in a response to Green Car Reports, confirmed that the Explorer Hybrid isn’t happening for 2024. The decision will free up hybrid capacity for a very specialized market: police duty.
“To meet continued strong demand for the Ford Police Interceptor Utility hybrid and other Ford hybrid vehicles, the 2024 model year Explorer will only be offered with the fuel efficient 2.3-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost, which offers up to an EPA-estimated 24 mpg combined fuel economy, and the 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6,” wrote Levine. “Those two engines account for the majority of Explorer sales.”
Ford had already dropped some clues that the electrified Explorer might drop out of the mix. The Hybrid had been omitted from consumer-side 2024 information, as well as in Ford’s vehicle build tool, where it had been included in previous model years.
The Ford Explorer Hybrid was introduced for the 2020 model year and packaged a 44-hp electric motor system at the input shaft of a 10-speed automatic transmission, with a 3.3-liter V-6 engine and a disconnect clutch between engine and motor/transmission, altogether making 318 hp. In the Hybrid, there’s a 1.5-kwh liquid-cooled battery packaged under the rear seat.
Even before the original release of the Explorer Hybrid, it was confirmed for Interceptor police duty—in which the hybrid system can help power all the extra equipment law enforcement relies on.
For civilians, the Explorer isn’t the only one to lose a hybrid option. The 2024 Lincoln Aviator also isn’t returning with its Grand Touring plug-in hybrid grade, the Ford luxury brand confirmed last week. The Aviator Grand Touring paired a version of the same powertrain, producing a combined 494 hp delivered to all four wheels and offering just 21 miles of EPA-rated electric range from its 13.6-kwh battery pack. After running through its charge, it offered an EPA combined 23 mpg.
The Ford Explorer Hybrid has always been a bit underwhelming if mileage was a priority. Ford made clear from the start that the Explorer Hybrid was positioned more for hauling and towing—and a replacement for a bigger engine—than as an option aiming for high mpg, like the 36-mpg Toyota Highlander. In a Ford Explorer Hybrid review, Green Car Reports found it to sometimes be rough in its transitions when driven lightly and at low speed but much smoother under load and when driven quickly. At that time, Ford engineers explained to Green Car Reports that they worked backwards from customer expectations for the gasoline Explorer and the need to tow 5,000 pounds and maintain off-road ability.
A version of the system is used in the Ford F-150 hybrid. There, badged Powerboost, it makes 430 hp altogether, including a more powerful 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 and, from what Green Car Reports has noted, better drivability and smoothness.
While the Explorer is a five-passenger, two-row SUV, with no three-row option, there are other options coming. Between the Explorer and larger Navigator, Ford has hinted that an upcoming electric seven-passenger SUV is set to arrive in 2025, with a range of 300 miles at 70 mph achieved with a battery of around 100 kwh.
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