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Ford EV Explorer Sets Around-the-World Record, but Won’t Retail in US

Ford claims a world first, with the electric Explorer venturing through South America, Africa, and Australia on its record-setting global journey.

lexie alford electric ford explorerLexie Alford spent 6 months driving an electric Ford Explorer around the globe; (photo/Ford)
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America’s first major car company has finally made an electric vehicle that can traverse the globe. Unfortunately, only Europeans will get to buy it.

The all-electric Ford Explorer finished a circumnavigation of the planet on Tuesday, arriving in Nice, France, after covering over 18,640 miles without using a drop of gas. Ford said that the car’s driver, Lexie Alford, became the first person to circle the globe in an electric vehicle.

That’s debatable, given that Rafael de Mestre used a Tesla Roadster to drive around the world back in 2012. But, de Mestre traveled only in North America, Europe, and Asia for his record. Alford, by contrast, also drove in South America, Africa, and Australia, with strict GPS tracking monitored by Record Setter.

electric ford explorer

As for the vehicle itself, Ford said it was designed exclusively for European buyers. While some automotive publications had predicted an electric Ford Explorer would eventually come to American markets, a company spokesperson said that’s not the case.

“The new electric Explorer is specifically built in Europe for Europe and there are currently no plans to export in any other region,” spokesperson Stefan Tinneman told GearJunkie in an email.

All-Electric Ford Explorer

Alford faced many challenges during her 6-month odyssey, including power outages in Africa and a lack of charging infrastructure in Chile’s Atacama desert.

To keep the car’s electric battery juiced, Alford had to rely on various charging solutions, from DC fast chargers and AC wall outlets to portable battery packs. This prototypal version of the electric Ford Explorer produces zero emissions and can supposedly drive for 374 miles on a single charge.

electric ford explorer
The electric Ford Explorer in Bhutan; (photo/Ford)

Nabbing the (official) world record also meant following several rules. They include: Driving at least 18,000 miles in a single direction, touching five continents, and “roughly” hitting a spot on the opposite side of the globe from her start in France.

“This journey came with a unique set of challenges,” said Alford, who also holds a world record for being the youngest person to visit every country. “I had the goal of pushing the limits of what’s possible to do in an EV and I’m proud to say I have!”

Given this is Ford’s fancy new ride, of course, she also had some creature comforts. The electric Explorer features a heated and massaging driver’s seat, and voice-activated SYNC Move infotainment.

Ford clearly hopes the vehicle will be a hit with European buyers — and the specs are certainly impressive. The all-wheel drive model can reach 80% battery capacity in just 26 minutes using a 185kW DC fast charger, the company said. It can also accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 5.3 seconds, and it tows up to 2,645 pounds.

But what about EV options for American buyers? According to Electrek, Ford is developing an affordable electric pickup and SUV for the U.S. market.

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