Ford Ranger Plug-in Hybrid: The Best of Both Worlds
The electrification era is sweeping through the realm of bakkies. In June this year, Toyota’s Hilux GR-S mild-hybrid bakkie concept took centre stage at the seventh round of the WRC at Kasarani in Kenya when it showed its face.
It’s still months away from reaching production stages whereafter it will challenge the likes of the soon-to-be-launched JAC T9 hybrid-bakkie which is earmarked to arrive locally in the coming months.
With that said, Ford is the latest manufacturer to announce that its Ranger will join the rage with the newly-announced plug-in hybrid model in Wildtrak guise that seeks to combine the versatility of the regular model with the added benefits of part-time electric driving.
Ford says the Ranger plug-in hybrid will have more torque than any other model courtesy of a 2.3-litre EcoBoost turbocharged petrol engine that works in tandem with an electric motor as well as a rechargeable battery. It will have a fully electric driving mode, which will give it more than 45km of range before the combustion engine takes over propelling duties.
Currently, the most potent Ranger in the range, not counting the ever-capable Raptor, is the 3.0-litre V6 turbocharged diesel variant with 184kW and 600Nm of torque, so we expect the hybridised model to cross the 200kW threshold with the electric motor amplifying its power delivery.
As for towing duties, it will be able to tow 3,500kg, like its regular counterparts, and have the blue oval's capable 4WD system with selectable drive modes and advanced driver safety and driver assist features.
We expect it to feature similar interior setups as well as exterior design cues as its regular siblings, but with the addition of a cap for the charger, aerodynamically enhanced wheels, extra weight due to the battery pack, and PHEV badges in various exterior sections of the car to hint at the transformation within.
While Ford, especially in SA, isn’t exactly at the forefront when it comes to electrification, the plug-in hybrid Ranger variant is another step towards achieving a zero-emissions goal that almost all manufacturers are chasing at this stage.
If it ever reaches our shores, it will be a welcome addition simply because hybrids in SA work better than fully electric models due to our questionable electricity infrastructure. On the other hand, the imminent arrival of rivals like the JAC T9 hybrid-bakkie offers a promising alternative for consumers who are interested in a more sustainable light-commercial option.
Local availability remains unknown at this stage, but we hear that the Australian market will receive the hybridised Ranger 4x4 in early 2025. This suggests that Ford is actively expanding its hybrid lineup to cater to different markets. Additionally, the introduction of the hybridised Ranger in Australia could potentially pave the way for its eventual release in other regions, including South Africa.