The new 2020 Ford Explorer SUV was unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show this year, and a hybrid version was a part of the mix. Now we have our first glimpse of what appears to be an Explorer plug-in hybrid with these couple spy shots. It’s pretty obvious that there’s an extra panel sitting on the front fender covering a charge port.
Everything else about the Explorer is par for the course. A plug-in Explorer is no surprise after its platform mate, the Lincoln Aviator, was initially revealed with a plug-in model. The question that remains is what powertrain will the plug-in version possess? Ford uses a 3.3-liter V6 in the Explorer Hybrid, so that’s one possibility. Lincoln uses the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 combined with an electric motor for the Aviator PHEV, but we doubt Ford would borrow that as it would step on Lincoln’s toes and make it faster than the Explorer ST.
Our best guess for the combination has to be with the 3.3-liter V6, but Ford hasn’t given any indication that a plug-in model even exists, let alone telling us what engine it has. Lincoln still hasn’t told us the pure electric range on the Aviator, either. Our best guess now would be something in the high 20s or low 30s, but we don’t even know how big the battery pack is going to be at this point.
A reveal sometime later this year isn’t out of the question, as Lincoln plans to roll PHEV Aviators onto lots late this summer. A plug-in Explorer sounds enticing if Ford is able to price it right. Let’s hope we won’t have to wait long to hear official details from the Blue Oval.