Ford’s VW-based electric crossover previewed

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Ford’s European boss preview US-influenced design of the first EV atop the Volkswagen MEB platform.

The first Ford EV to use Volkswagen’s MEB platform will be revealed in March before replacing the Ford Fiesta at the firm’s Cologne production line around the middle of the year.

The new EV has been kept tightly under wraps since it was confirmed in 2021, but a pair of high-ranking Ford bosses have given the first hints of its design on social media – suggesting a reveal is only a few weeks away.

Martin Sander, head of Ford’s Model E electrification division, lifted the covers off part of the Skoda Enyaq rival’s front end on Twitter, saying: “Can’t wait for 2023 to arrive, when we will pull off the cover of our first electric passenger vehicle coming from Cologne.”

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Only a small part of the car is visible, but it is already clear that this new EV will mark a step change in the design of Ford’s European-market cars. As reported, Ford’s most successful US-market cars – the Bronco and F-150 most notably – will influence the design of its future global products.

Apart from the new EV’s aero-optimised wheel designs, contrasting lower bumper and chunky headlights, everything remains under wraps, but in size and silhouette, it is evident that Ford’s new EV will be aimed squarely at cars like the Toyota bZ4X, Nissan Ariya and Volvo XC40 Recharge.

Ford’s Europe marketing boss, Peter Zillig, posted a darkened preview image of the car to his LinkedIn, similarly giving little away but revealing a charismatic LED front light signature that could become a defining feature of Ford’s new-era cars.

Zillig said all new Ford models will be designed according to the ‘Adventurous Spirit’ ethos, which is designed to help Ford “connect emotionally with consumers who say they know we’re American, but don’t feel we’re American”.

He said: “Adventurous Spirit is meaningful because it is authentic. We’re not inventing something new. Instead, we’re channelling a strength that has helped define Ford for fast-approaching 120 years. We are tapping into something intangible, but real.”

More specifically, the new MEB car will form part of the ‘Active Adventure’ model line, together with other mid-sized SUVs such as the Ford Kuga.

There are three other ‘families’ in this new age: ‘Wild Performance’ is for the Ford Mustang line, ‘Urban Escape’ is for “statement-making models” like the Ford Puma, and ‘Ultimate Outdoor’ comprises hardcore off-roaders such as the Bronco and Ranger Raptor.

Ford’s new European EVs will be built at the Cologne factory where the Fiesta is currently based. The combustion-powered supermini will bow out in July 2023 to make room on the line, and the latest teasers come just a day after Sander said that it “had to go”.

“We decided to build our first high-volume electric vehicle here in Cologne. There comes the point where we need the space for construction, because we are turning the Fiesta plant into a fully battery-electric plant. This is why we had to make a decision that we have to stop Fiesta production.”

It is expected that the new EV – which is tipped to revive a historic Ford moniker when it is revealed – will be similarly specified to the Volkswagen ID 4 with which it will share the bulk of its make-up.

Expect a choice of rear- and all-wheel-drive powertrains, offering outputs ranging from 109kW to 220kW, and a pair of battery options giving around 340km-480km of range.

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