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Ford Explorer Tops World’s Tallest Free-Standing Climbing Tower in Ultimate High for Adventurers

Ford Explorer Tops World’s Tallest Free-Standing Climbing Tower in Ultimate High for Adventurers

Vertigo sufferers should look away now, because Ford has scaled new heights with an ambitious sport climbing challenge that involved a Ford Explorer Plug-In Hybrid atop the tallest free-standing climbing tower in the world.

Inspired by the adventurous "explorers are never done" concept that embodies Ford's electrified, go-anywhere, seven-seat SUV, the automaker invited Norway’s climbers to ascend the 47-metre OVER climbing tower on July 31, and set the fastest time to win a free, two-year lease on the vehicle.

For the audacious Explore New Heights challenge – designed to celebrate the spirit of adventure and determination that drives Ford’s active lifestyle customers – the company created a special platform to support the Explorer Plug-In Hybrid at the top of the tower’s hair-raising overhang.

The project took six months of planning, including detailed investigation by engineers and architects to ensure the tower could safely support the additional weight of the platform and SUV.

Ford also worked with champion climber Martin Mobråten to create a challenging route from the ground to the vehicle that would encourage competitors to discover new limits. Tough obstacles and spectacular jumps were designed to test even the most experienced climbers.

The Explorer Plug-In Hybrid will remain in place on the OVER tower until August 27, and visitors with a good head for heights will be able to claim a free limited-edition T-shirt 1 and photo opportunity – even if they use the stairs.

The Explore New Heights challenge
Located in Lillesand, southern Norway, OVER opened in June 2021. Measuring 47 metres tall, its peak is so high that it is possible from the top to see halfway across the Skagerrak strait to neighbouring Denmark.

The tower’s main structure is built from solid wood and there are 44 metres of aluminium climbing surfaces on all four sides.

For an even greater challenge, Ford worked with OVER and Martin Mobråten to extend the climbing surface beyond the observation deck to the very top of the tower – meaning finalists had to scale the full height of the tower to reach the Explorer Plug-In Hybrid and set a time.

Fourteen elite climbers competed in the short-course qualifying round, with the top six finishers taking on the final challenge. The winner was 21-year-old Leo Ketil Bøe, from Bergen, who completed the daunting climb in 3 minutes, 33 seconds to win the Explorer Plug-In Hybrid lease and a 1/100 scale, 3D-printed, replica OVER tower trophy.

Ultimate adventure vehicle
Offering electrified, seven-seat luxury and true off-road capability, the Explorer Plug-In Hybrid is an SUV designed for adventurous lifestyles.

Ford’s most-powerful hybrid in Europe combines an ecoboost petrol engine, 13.6 kwh battery and electric motor for 457 PS and 825 Nm of torque, resulting in 6.0-second 0-100 km/h acceleration, the ability to tow up to 2,500 kg and 42 km (WLTP) driving range using pure-electric power alone. 2

Intelligent All-Wheel Drive and a Terrain Management System with seven Drive Modes 3 help the SUV make light work of surfaces from smooth motorways to rock trails, mud, snow and sand, with all three rows of seats able to easily accommodate adults in comfort. With the second and third seats rows folded flat, there’s more than 2,200 litres of load space for adventure and sports equipment.

“It takes the most adventurous customers to really test a vehicle as capable as our Explorer Plug-In Hybrid, so we knew that not even the world’s tallest free-standing climbing tower could stand in their way. Our goal with Explore New Heights was to create an inspiring symbol of exploration and adventure as people across Europe start to head out and enjoy the summer after a challenging year.

“Norway is one of the world’s most progressive markets for electrified vehicles, so the OVER tower was the clear choice to host a challenge involving our pure-electric-capable, seven-seat SUV.”   
Dan Jones, senior manager, Passenger Vehicle Communications, Ford of Europe

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