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Youngest Traveler Takes Ford Explorer Around The World In Six Months

Driving a new Ford Explorer, Lexie Alford Sets the Record As the Youngest Driver To Circle a Globe in EV as she covers 30,000 km in six months.


A couple of years ago, NPR serialized an old story called “Around the World in 80 Days.” It told of the adventures of three world travelers as they worked around the world in the most modern means of transit then available: sailboats, steamboats, railroad trains, and even camels and horses were pressed into service as our travelers moved from continent to continent.

Original Story Written 130 Years Ago

The timeframe of the three intrepid voyagers' round-the-world trip was roughly 1870, and they traveled in the most up-to-date modes available to them. The travelers took off on their escapades because one Phileas T. Fogg bet with others in the London gentleman’s club that he could circumnavigate the globe so they would arrive back at the same point they started within 80 days. It was a harrowing journey for Phileas, Miss Fix, and Passepartout as they traveled worldwide.

On their way, they made it worldwide in 80 days with only moments to spare. It was a well-done series, so take the time to see it. The acting and story are excellent, too (we watched it from start to finish).

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So, what does this do with Torque News and our automotive product? It’s simple: An intrepid adventurer went around the world in a Ford Explorer EV. They set the official record for our times as the first people to circumnavigate the globe in an electric vehicle.

Today’s traveler used an all-electric Ford Explored designed for European customers.

Today’s adventurer was Lexie Alford (@LexieLimitless). Alford crossed the finish line today in Nice, France, the point from which she started Tuesday.

“Charge Around The Globe”

Called the “Charge Around the Globe,” Ford immediately confirmed the price and specifications of the new Ford Explorer range and began taking orders from customers who wanted to make their adventures, whether large or small.

Crossing the finish line in Nice, France, Lexie and the new Ford Explorer led a convoy of iconic Ford vehicles flanked by current models shaping the company's visionary future direction. This Ford Explorer joins other electric models in the Ford lineup, including the Mustang Mach-E, F-150 Lightning, and the E-Transit.

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Ford wants to bring passion and emotion to European electric vehicles. There are enough boring cars and SUVs out there. The new Explorer represents Ford’s unique character, which is stamped on every car in this fantastic convoy,” said Jim Farley, CEO of Ford, who attended the celebration. “We’re proud to launch this new all-electric passenger car designed specifically for Europe’s roads and customers and capable of taking you anywhere in the world.”

The Explorer’s incredible journey crossed six continents, drove through 27 countries, and covered more than 30,000 kilometers, all on electric power alone. Battling power outages in Africa, a lack of charging infrastructure in the Atacama Desert of Chile, unmade roads, mountain passes, and freezing conditions, the achievement proved possible in an electric vehicle.

“Lexie’s journey has been the ultimate test drive for our new Ford Explorer, taking on every kind of weather and road condition and dealing with just about every charging scenario,” said Martin Sander, general manager of Ford Model E Europe. “It embodies this company's true ‘can do’ spirit, seizing this great opportunity to test ourselves and the world’s charging infrastructure. Today’s crossing of the finish line proves just what you can do in the new all-electric Ford Explorer, and we’re delighted that customers will soon be able to find out for themselves.”

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The Explorer used for the challenge was a pre-production version of the Ford Explorer, now available for order. It used various charging solutions during the journey, from 2.2 kW AC wall outlets to DC fast chargers and a portable battery pack.

Adventurer Relied Totally on Explorer

Throughout the journey, Lexie relied on Mega Console cabin storage, which can hold three 1.5-litre drinks bottles with room to spare, a heated and massaging driver’s seat, and voice-activated SYNC Move infotainment 2 with an adjustable touchscreen—features that come as standard on both Ford Explorer and Ford Explorer Premium models.

“On this epic adventure, I met incredible people from many corners of the world and experienced 27 beautiful countries while behind the wheel. But this journey came with a unique set of challenges,” said Lexie, who also holds the world record for being the youngest person to visit every country. “It has been the honor of a lifetime to be trusted by Ford to circumnavigate the globe in the electric Explorer, which has been like home for the last six months. 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!”

Equipped for any adventure

The new all-electric Explorer is Ford’s first passenger EV to be developed and built in Europe. It combines German engineering, American style, and superior standard specification, including battery electric powertrains for zero tailpipe emissions while driving and up to 602 km of driving range on a single charge. 

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Explorer is introduced with single-motor rear-wheel drive (RWD) or dual-motor all-wheel drive (AWD) powertrains. Both use an extended-range lithium-ion nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) battery chosen for its energy density, power, and performance in European climates from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean. A single-motor RWD powertrain 4 with a standard-range NMC battery will be available, too charging from 10-80 percent takes approximately 26 minutes using up to 185 kW DC fast charging for the AWD model. Explorer drivers across Europe can easily access and pay for charging at more than 600,000 charging points within the BlueOval Charge Network using the FordPass app or innovative Plug & Charge technology. These include high-power charging stations from IONITY – a consortium of which Ford is a founder member, and Allego – with whom Ford today also announced a partnership to introduce ultra-fast chargers at Ford dealerships.

It's not just charging that’s quick and simple. The Explorer can accelerate faster than a Ford Performance Focus ST, with 340 PS, meaning 100 km/h, which can be reached in 5.3 seconds by the AWD model. Explorer AWD can also tow up to 1,200 kg.  All this is achieved using seamless electric propulsion for ultimate refinement, which is made even more enjoyable with luxurious standard specifications.

Lots of Internal Storage

In addition to approximately 470 liters of combined storage, including the 17-liter Mega Console and the secure My Private Locker in the cabin, every Explorer features SYNC Move two connected infotainment with an adjustable 14.6-inch center touchscreen that can be raised and lowered through an arc of more than 30 degrees.

Also standard are a heated steering wheel and front seats, massaging driver’s seat, and wireless phone charging. 10 Cutting-edge interior design includes sports seats with integrated headrests and a stylish soundbar to enjoy audio played through wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay-connected devices. 

Explorer Premium specification adds a 10-speaker B&O sound system and ambient interior lighting to keep spirits high even on road trips to rival Lexie’s. It also upgrades Explorer’s signature headlamps from LED with auto high beam to Dynamic Matrix LED with Glare-Free High beam.

To make the purchase process as effortless as possible, ensure luxury specifications, and deliver compelling value for every Explorer customer, optional extras are limited to a panorama roof 12 with more than 1 square meter of glass surface and a Driver Assist Pack.  Its highlights include a hands-free tailgate for accessing up to 450 liters of boot space with arms full of shopping or toddlers, a head-up display, a 360-degree camera, and new Assisted Lane Change technology.

Many Driver Assist Technologies

These features are in addition to more than 15 standard driver-assist technologies, with highlights including Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go and Clear Exit Warning, designed to help prevent “dooring” accidents with cyclists.

The new all-electric Explorer is the first vehicle assembled at the Ford Cologne EV Centre following a $2 billion investment.

Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971. His automotive articles have appeared in venues including Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, and others. You can follow Marc on Twitter or Facebook.