Ford has revealed a highly anticipated hybrid version of its pick-up range with the introduction of the Ford Ranger Plug-in Hybrid electric vehicle.
Powered by a 2.3-litre EcoBoost petrol engine, the new Ranger Plug-in Hybrid pick-up will be capable of up to 45km (28 miles) of electric only range. Despite taking its power from a petrol engine, the hybrid pick-up (which is also a first for the segment) will have more torque than any existing model in the Ranger line-up. The Ranger Plug-in Hybrid also has a 3.5-tonne towing capacity.
Pictured as a Ford Ranger Wildtrak trim, Ford has yet to reveal which models in its extensive line-up will be available as a hybrid. However, there has been a significant number of changed made to the standard Ranger in order to accommodate the batteries, maintain the towing capacity and still be able to perform off-road.
Described as “a key announcement for the Ranger product line”, the Ford Ranger Plug-in Hybrid can be driven as either EV-only or as a hybrid running off the conventional engine. Four driving modes, EV Auto, EV Now, EV Later and EV Charge allow you to choose what role the powertrain is playing. There’s also the ability to autonomously switch between modes thanks to geofencing of certain areas. This would enable the hybrid Ranger to switch to electric only mode when entering a zero emission zone.
Chris Rushton, Ford Pro Europe commercial vehicle marketing manager, said: “Our customers are telling us that they need new powertrain solutions while continuing to do everything that their Ranger does today, but able to carry as much, tow as much and tackle off-road driving. It’s an electrified Ranger that gives customers the best of all worlds.”
The suspension has been beefed up to cope with the additional weight, while the steering has also been tuned. The new petrol engine, has been calibrated for commercial uses as well.
The Ford Ranger Plug-in Hybrid joins a rapidly growing line-up of Ford Ranger models. It is not known where in the range the hybrid will sit in relation to the high-end Ford Ranger Raptor, Ford Ranger Wildtrak X and other models like the off-road specific Ford Ranger Tremor.
Currently the only electric-powered pick-up truck on sale is the Maxus T90EV that is a full battery electric pick-up, rather than a hybrid.
Order books for the Ford Ranger Plug-in Hybrid will open in mid-2024 with production beginning shortly after. First deliveries are expected in early 2025.
Q&A with Ford executives and production team
“It’s the right vehicle for the market at this moment in time. The customer is wanting to tow, carry payload and have the off-road capability that we currently have. It does all of that without any compromise but also allows to drive in EV only mode and get the benefit of an electric vehicle.”
“Diesel is popular in pick-ups because of the high torque. With this combination of the electric motor and gasoline engine, we’ve delivered the highest level of torque in any Ranger. The 2.3-litre is a good match and a little more refined, and a good match for driveability and for other technical reasons. We delivery ample torque and it’s a good match.”
“What we can say is that the PHEV will deliver all the attributes that customers have come to expect. The same payloads as on existing Ranger today, the power and performance with the EcoBoost and electric motor can compensate for any weight that comes from the battery. Weight is not an issue in how this vehicle will operate. We’ve upgraded the vehicle. It was designed from the onset to accommodate electrification and we’ve upgraded the rear of the vehicle, the frame, the suspension and tuned the vehicle for an outstanding package.”
“Yes, there will definitely be variants that meet the one-tonne payload requirements for the UK.”
“Ford has series production PHEV in their small SUVs. They’re not for off-road vehicles or 4x4 vehicles and they’re not suitable for the towing requirements. We did consider them, but they’re not suitable.”
“We’ve looked at what is the right solution for our customers in Europe. The plug-in hybrid gives the best solution, introducing electric capability. The F150 is a different architecture, so you can unlock different possibilities.”