The Ford Ranger will get a plug-in hybrid powertrain for the first time, and it’s coming to Australia by 2025.
The Ford Ranger PHEV will arrive as the company’s first electrified ute in Australia, targeting small- and medium-sized business owners with wide-reaching chassis and technology upgrades, a competitive EV-only range figure and a hefty performance boost.
Production of the first electrified Ranger will begin in 2024, with Australia deliveries scheduled for late 2024 or around the start of 2025.
Ford has worked to match the characteristics of the current Ranger, giving it the same one-tonne payload, 3.5-tonne towing capacity and the highest torque figure of any model in the Ranger’s eight-strong line-up – although Ford has not given precise figures.
Power comes from Ford’s 2.3-litre Ecoboost four-cylinder petrol engine, boosted by a “relatively large” electric motor for a total output likely to be close to the V6-engined Ford Ranger Raptor.
Ford would not disclose the exact size of the electric motor’s battery, but said it will offer approximately 45 miles of electric-only range. The Ford Kuga PHEV, which has a comparable electric-only range, uses a 14.4kWh battery. The Ranger’s battery will support AC charging only.
A PHEV powertrain was chosen over a pure-EV option, such as that of the US-market Ford F-150 Lightning, because – according to Matt Reilly, global chief strategist for the Ranger platform – it will “promote off-road use without the dependance on charging infrastructure, and future-proof the Ranger around the globe to meet tightening emissions regulations and EU green zone compliance.”
He added that it was “the only technology” available right now that meets the requirements of Ranger customers.
Drivers can choose between one of four driving modes: EV Auto, where the engine cuts in when needed; EV Now, solely using electric power; EV Later, which uses the engine only, so that the electric charge is saved; and EV Charge, which uses part of the engine as a generator to charge the battery on the move.
To support the added weight of the hybrid system, Ford has given the chassis extra bracing and stronger suspension, and recalibrated the engine and steering to make it feel lighter but still similiar to the current car.
Targeting owners of small- and medium-sized businesses, it will be available with Pro Power – an on-board generator with three interior power outlets for use on a remote worksite or when camping. This is likely to be standard, although Ford will finalise this closer to the car’s market launch.
Ford did not disclose pricing but said it will “make sure it is in the sweet spot to uphold values and capability”. The company has not said whether it will launch a hybrid version of the entry-level single-cab Ranger.
As for whether Ford could introduce a hybrid version of the hardcore Ranger Raptor, Ford commercial vehicle marketing manager Chris Rushton suggested it hasn’t been ruled out: “We will make sure the PHEV is available on those derivatives which are our most popular globally.”