Subtle teaser previews electrification of the ST brand, which is set to kick off with hot hybrid crossover.
Ford is believed to be working on a hybrid version of its hot Puma ST crossover, and a subtle clue in an official video could serve as official confirmation that it’s inbound.
A recent video filmed to celebrate the millionth car leaving Ford’s Craiova, Romania factory – where the Puma and Puma ST are built – showed the firm’s new Puma hybrid rally car driving at speed around the site. In one scene, it accelerates past a closed door marked ST, and with sparks and blue lights showing through a window – suggesting work on an electrified performance model is advancing.
Given the Ecosport is the only other car Ford builds in Craiova, an electrified Puma ST is the most likely possibility.
Earlier this year, Ford appeared to be testing a hybrid version of the Puma ST at the Nürburgring. The car was spotted with ST-Line badging but sported several of the design features bespoke to the full-fat ST, including its unique alloy wheels, bumpers and red brake calipers.
The yellow sticker on the rear windscreen indicated a hybrid element in the powertrain. There was no charging flap on display, ruling out the possibility of a plug-in powertrain. That means the model undergoing tests was either a full-hybrid or mild-hybrid set-up. The latter is more likely, given the Puma is not offered with the 2.0-litre engine common to all full-hybrid Ford models.
The standard Puma is currently sold with a mild-hybridised 1.0-litre Ecoboost triple producing 92kW, but the Puma ST is not yet available with an electrified powertrain.
The model currently offers 147kW, so a move to hybrid power would be likely to push the model over the 150kW barrier while delivering improved economy figures.
The performance crossover is already set to receive a hybrid powertrain in a motorsport capacity in line with new World Rally Championship regulations in 2022, which will see all competing cars equipped with hybrid engines.
Ford’s new Puma-based WRC racer, built in partnership with Cumbria-based racing and motorsport engineering firm M-Sport, was revealed at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed and is driven by a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine mated to a 100kW electric motor, producing far more power than the road-going version.