Ford is now delivering 5-star safety to electrified vehicles as the all-new Ford Explorer Plug-In Hybrid is awarded the maximum safety rating by independent crash test authority Euro NCAP.
The Explorer Plug-In Hybrid enhances safety for drivers, passengers and other road users with ultra-high-strength steel components developed using industry-first and Ford-patented processes, and front- and rear-facing sensor-based technologies designed to prevent or mitigate the effects of collisions.
The seven-seat SUV is powered by a combination of Ford’s 3.0-litre V6 EcoBoost petrol engine, electric motor and generator to deliver 457 PS and 825 Nm of torque, alongside 48 km pure-electric city driving range.
“With 14 new electrified vehicles coming before the end of next year, and more than half of our passenger vehicle sales in Europe expected to be electrified by the end of 2022, Ford customers can be confident that we’ll continue to deliver first-rate safety whatever powertrain they choose,” said Joerg Beyer, executive director, Engineering, Ford of Europe.
The Explorer Plug-In Hybrid is Ford’s first electrified vehicle to receive a Euro NCAP 5-star safety rating under the new, more stringent protocols introduced last year. The Ford Focus – which will from next year be offered with EcoBoost Hybrid 48-volt mild-hybrid powertrain technology – was among the first vehicles to be awarded the latest 5-star rating following its introduction in 2018.
Stronger and smarter
Euro NCAP awarded high scores to the Explorer Plug-In Hybrid for both adult and child occupant protection.
An automotive industry-first manufacturing process called 3D Roll and Sweep enabled Ford to incorporate ultra-high-strength martensitic steel tubes into the vehicle’s windscreen pillars and roofline – creating an even stronger passenger safety cell.
The steel – which is so hardened that fixture holes must be cut using lasers – is roll-formed into tubes. The 3D Roll and Sweep process then bends each tube into a hockey stick shape to form a single-piece window pillar and roof rail tube with a tensile strength of 1,700 megapascals – stronger than the main cables in San Francisco’s famous Golden Gate Bridge.
Manufactured using a Ford-patented process, ultra-high-strength steel side members also extend along the vehicle floor line to deliver additional protection for occupants and the 13.1 kWh lithium-ion battery. Each member is created from a patented single piece of roll-formed steel, which is folded back on itself before being welded. The process creates internal cells for enhanced strength and rigidity and helps Explorer Plug-In Hybrid score maximum points in the Euro NCAP side barrier impact crash test.
Sophisticated standard driver assistance technologies contributing to a 5-star safety rating include Pre‑Collision Assist with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Intelligent Speed Limiter, and Lane‑Keeping System.
“The standard-fit autonomous emergency braking system (Pre‑Collision Assist) performed well in tests of its functionality at the low speeds, typical of city driving, at which many whiplash injuries occur, with collisions avoided or mitigated in every test scenario,” said the Euro NCAP report.
In addition, introduced for the first time in Europe, Reverse Brake Assist technology uses radar and ultrasonic sensors to detect an object in the vehicle’s path measuring more than 28 cm tall and 7.5 cm wide, and can apply the brakes automatically to avoid an imminent collision when the vehicle is reversing at speeds between 1.5 km/h and 12 km/h.
Reverse Brake Assist holds the vehicle for 1.5 seconds before returning full control to the driver, enabling them to assess the situation before continuing their manoeuvre. A rear-view camera is also standard.
Featuring an exceptionally spacious, luxurious, comfort-focussed interior with advanced features including a 10.1‑inch central portrait-mounted touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster display, the all-new Ford Explorer Plug-In Hybrid is available to order in two distinctive, high-specification, left-hand drive variants – the sporty, Ford Performance-inspired Explorer ST-Line and the luxurious Explorer Platinum.
The electric motor enables the Explorer to deliver zero-emission, pure-electric driving capability, and drivers can choose when and how to deploy battery power using EV Auto, EV Now, EV Later and EV Charge modes. The vehicle’s battery can be charged using a charging port integrated into the front left-hand side fender and is automatically replenished on the move using regenerative charging technology that captures kinetic energy normally lost during braking.