Ford Unveils Explorer Timberline SUV, Partners with DTE to Build Solar Array on Parking Garage

Dearborn’s Ford Motor Co. has introduced its Explorer Timberline SUV, designed with off-road features. The vehicle comes as SUVs and off-roading have grown in popularity. Ordering is available now, and the vehicle will arrive in dealerships this summer.
Ford Explorer Timberline
The Ford Explorer Timberline SUV is designed for off-roading and will be available in dealerships this summer. // Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Co.

Dearborn’s Ford Motor Co. has introduced its Explorer Timberline SUV, designed with off-road features. The vehicle comes as SUVs and off-roading have grown in popularity. Ordering is available now, and the vehicle will arrive in dealerships this summer.

“Ford is delivering on more capable SUVs with Timberline,” says Kumar Galhotra, president of Americas and International Markets Group. “Consumer data has shown us that now more than ever, customers want to get outside and explore nature with friends and family. Timberline hits a new sweet spot with these customers who want an ideal combination of passenger space, moderate off-road capability, and great manners around town.”

The vehicle comes standard with Ford’s intelligent four-wheel drive, which automatically adjusts torque between the wheels based on conditions and driver input to deliver the best traction.

A new addition for the Timberline is a Torsen limited-slip rear differential, which automatically sends torque to the wheel with the best traction and prevents the other wheels from spinning to help keep the vehicle moving.

A standard terrain management system features seven drive modes, including trail and deep snow/sand. Standard hill descent control allows the Timberline to maintain a constant speed between 2 and 12 mph, enabling drivers to focus on steering down uneven descents.

It also has standard steel skid plates. The underbody protection starts underneath the front, continues under the engine and transmission, and through the rear. Steering calibration, stabilizer bars, and springs are specially tuned for Timberline, including an exclusive front rebound spring that helps prevent sudden jarring off-road.

The vehicle raises the ride height 0.8 inches through a combination of off-road-capable heavy-duty shocks originally developed for the Explorer Police Interceptor and high-sidewall Bridgestone Dueler P265/65R-18 all-terrain tires with a tread pattern that balances off-road traction and on-road quietness. This, along with front and rear fascias, results in an approach angle of 23.5 degrees and maximum departure angle of 23.7 degrees, plus minimum ground clearance of 8.7 inches for navigating unpaved roads and uneven trails.

Timberline features a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine producing 300 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft. of torque, paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. The standard Class III Trailer Tow Package brings 5,300 pounds of towing capability.

The vehicle launches in a new Forged Green Metallic exterior color. All models feature blackout treatment around the headlamps and taillamps and a black Ford oval, along with Timberline badges on the C-pillars and liftgate. A set of Red Ember tow hooks at the front are rated at 150 percent gross vehicle weight.

Timberline includes LED fog lamps and a dark Carbonized Gray grille with a wiring harness for dealer-installed Ford Performance auxiliary lights with an output of 160,000 candelas to illuminate nighttime trails, which equates to 2.5 times the brightness of the vehicle’s high-beam headlamps.

A Deep Cypress interior trim color complements Explorer Timberline’s exterior, with an Ebony headliner, overhead console, A, B, and C-pillar trim, grab handles, visors, and moonroof shade. The cabin features a Stone Mesh instrument panel appliqué, Satin Silver Twilight, on the center stack, steering wheel bezel, and door armrest trim, Deep Cypress door trim panel inserts, Deep Tangerine stitching on the seats, steering wheel, and door trim, plus Timberline logos on the front seats.

ActiveX seat trim with cloth inserts is easy to wipe clean and helps prevent occupants from sliding in the seat over rough terrain. Heated front seats, plus a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel bring cold-weather comfort.

Timberline also offers Co-Pilot360 and Co-Pilot360 Assist+ technology features that include intelligent adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go and speed sign recognition, lane centering, evasive steering assist, and voice-activated touch-screen navigation. A standard 360-degree camera provides a view of obstacles around the vehicle, while a front camera offers a view that’s useful when cresting a hill off-road.

Ford offers three Outfitters packages: Outfitters SkyBox, Outfitters MegaWarrior, and Outfitters FrontLoader. All three packages combine all-weather floor mats, crossbars, and the selected Yakima rooftop accessories.

Over the last 10 years, SUVs have jumped from 36 percent to 55 percent of the U.S. market, with sales going from about 4.6 million units in 2011 to nearly 7.8 million in 2020, Ford says. Ford Explorer owners report a 56 percent increase in off-road use over the last three years. About 40 percent of Americans surveyed say they have spent more time outdoors since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

In related news, DTE Energy has commissioned a new solar array at the Ford Research and Engineering Center in Dearborn. The 2,159-panel array is located on the rooftop level of the Deck 400 parking structure.

It includes an integrated battery storage system that will be used to power newly installed electric vehicle chargers. The solar array can generate 1,127 megawatt hours of clean energy, which has the environmental benefit equal to the carbon sequestered by nearly 980 acres of U.S. forests in one year.

“This is the third solar array we’ve constructed with Ford, and we want to thank them for their ongoing partnership,” says Trevor Lauer, president of DTE’s electric company. “Between the growth in the EV market and the transformation we are seeing in the energy sector, I believe we will begin to make real progress in the fight against climate change.”

In 2019, Ford became the first corporate customer to enroll in DTE’s MIGreenPower voluntary renewable energy program. Through the program, Ford is purchasing 525,000 megawatt hours each year of Michigan wind energy.

“We are pleased to once again collaborate with DTE Energy to bring more efficient, renewable energy sources to our campuses,” says Dave Dubensky, chairman and CEO of the Ford Motor Land Development Corp. “This is yet another example of our shared commitment to building a more sustainable future.”

DTE is Michigan’s largest producer of renewable energy with 18 wind parks and 32 solar arrays that generate enough clean energy to power 670,000 Michigan homes. The company offers the opportunity to attribute up to 100 percent of energy use to the company’s wind and solar projects through the MIGreenPower program.

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