Ford Bronco Hybrid – Everything we know thus far [Update]

Former Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett confirmed that the Blue Oval would make a Ford Bronco Hybrid during the company’s annual shareholder meeting in 2019. However, few details are available as neither the executive nor the company has shared technical specifications or the release date.

Owner’s manual confirms the future Ford Bronco Hybrid

Before beginning sales of the gas-powered Bronco two- and four-door midsize SUVs, Ford released its owner’s manual. The 550-page document reaffirms that a Bronco hybrid is planned for a commercial launch. There are two citations of the hybrid variant, first in the Storing Your Vehicle section and again in the Scheduled Maintenance section.

The first section talks about leaving the Bronco Hybrid unused for a period of more than 30 days. In such a case, owners should keep the traction battery’s state of charge (SoC) at approximately 50%, and it’s recommended to disconnect the auxiliary battery as that would reduce the load on the traction battery.

We recommend the following actions for your vehicle:

When storing your vehicle for greater than 30 days the state of charge should be approximately 50%. Additionally we recommend disconnecting the 12V battery which will reduce system loads on the HV battery.

2021 Ford Bronco Owner’s Manual

Stating that the driver can control the state of charge (SoC), Ford suggests that the Bronco Hybrid is a plug-in variant (PHEV).

The second section on the Intelligent Oil-Life Monitor system provides an oil change alert at proper intervals, which could exceed 10,000 miles in the case of the Bronco Hybrid.

Your vehicle comes with the Intelligent Oil-Life Monitor system, a message appears in the information display at the proper oil change interval. This interval may be up to one year or 10,000 mi (16,000 km), hybrid vehicles could exceed 10,000 mi (16,000 km).

2021 Ford Bronco Owner’s Manual
Ford Bronco engine
The Ford Bronco Hybrid is part of Ford’s plans to offer electrified variants of popular models. Image: Ford

For the past year, the electronic media has been speculating what would go under the bonnet of the hybrid SUV. The reasonable, and dare we say, the logical expectation for the Ford Bronco Hybrid (which shares its ladder-frame construction with the Ranger pickup) is the sharing of electrical hardware with the F-150 and Explorer hybrids.

A 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 engine with an electric motor and a modular 10-speed transmission was expected to go under the Ford Bronco Hybrid. Combined with a 47 hp electric motor from the F-150, a healthy system output of 450 hp was expected on the Ford Bronco Hybrid.

Now that the owner’s manual hints at a plug-in hybrid powertrain, the electrified Bronco could allow customers to use the EV mode to cover a whole day’s drive without emissions. Ford could offer the Bronco Plug-in Hybrid with the 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine and the 35 kW motor of the F-150 Powerboost full-hybrid. The total system horsepower could be close to 350 hp, and the battery pack may allow a practical EV range of about 40 miles.

Ford Bronco Sport Hybrid

As for the Ford Bronco Sport Hybrid, reports state that it will employ the Ford Escape Hybrid’s architecture, which makes sense given the ‘softer’ Bronco is based on the monocoque platform of the Escape. This includes the 2.5-liter iVCT Atkinson cycle gas engine combined with an electric motor to produce a total system output of 200 hp coupled with an eCVT.

Ford offers the Escape as a Hybrid (with AWD and front wheel drive) or Plug-in Hybrid (Front wheel drive only).

Ford Bronco rear seat
Like the Escape Hybrid, Ford could mount the battery underneath the rear seat, which results in the boot retaining the full capacity on the Ford Bronco Sport Hybrid. Image: Ford

When Motor Authority reviewed the Bronco Sport, they managed a fuel economy of 23 mpg in mixed suburban driving, which was almost the same level as the EPA rating (21 mpg City/26 mpg Highway/23 mpg Combined). Motor Authority writes that the Escape’s hybrid powertrain on the Ford Bronco Sport Hybrid would largely improve efficiency. For reference, the 2021 Escape Hybrid’s EPA-estimated fuel economy stands at 44 mpg City/37 mpg Highway/41 mpg Combined in front-wheel drive and 43 mpg City/37 mpg Highway/40 mpg Combined.

The Ford Bronco Hybrid and Bronco Sport Hybrid are expected to be unveiled next year for the 2022 model year. Competitors will include the Jeep Wrangler 4xe PHEV and a Land Rover Defender PHEV. The Bronco twins are part of the Blue Oval’s strategy to have hybrid electric variants for high-volume models such as the Bronco, Explorer, and F-150.

Ford Bronco Hybrid & Ford Bronco Sport Hybrid expected trims

The Ford Bronco Hybrid and Ford Bronco Hybrid Sport may come in select trims, but those few options will likely include Badlands. In the case of the former, Wildtrak is a given. Ford received more than 190,000 orders for the Bronco, and approximately 26% of reservations are in the Wildtrak trim, which is exclusive to the frame SUV. About 20% of orders are in the Badlands trim, and the remaining orders are in the other available trims.

Ford has confirmed that 125,000 of the 190,000-plus Bronco 2-door and 4-door reservations in the U.S. and Canada have converted into actual orders. More than 70 percent of these customers are new to the Ford brand.

Ford Bronco EV on the horizon

Ford has seen a rapid rise in sales of electrified vehicles (xEVs) in the USA. The company sold 25,980 xEVs in the country in the first quarter of 2021, registering a 74.1% growth. The F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid and Mustang Mach-E were among the top-sellers.

The timing couldn’t be better for electrifying the Bronco model line. Ford may release the first details of a hybrid powertrain for its new off-road SUVs within a year, but that’s not all. The company has hinted at a Ford Bronco EV launch as well, that could compete with the Jeep Wrangler Electric. Jim Farley Jr., President & CEO of Ford, suggested with a reply on Twitter recently that the company is contemplating a zero-emission Bronco. He said “Why do you think we dont?” when asked by Twitter user ‘Powered by Tesla’ why there isn’t an EV opinion on the Bronco.

A few days after Farley Jr. dropped a hint, Hau Thai-Tang, Chief Product Platform and Operations Officer, Ford, teased a Bronco EV that strengthened speculations. Thai-Tang revealed that Ford is making a new rear-wheel drive/all-wheel drive BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) flexible architecture. He said that future models the new dedicated BEV platform would underpin include “rugged SUVs for our adventure-seeking customers.” While mentioning “rugged SUVs,” the below teaser played, indicating that he was referring to a Ford Bronco EV:

Ford Bronco EV teaser
Ford needs high-volume models like the Bronco to be available as a BEV to meet its goal of converting 40% global sales to BEVs by 2030. Image Source: Vimeo/Ford

Our new rear-wheel drive/all-wheel drive BEV flexible architecture will underpin a range of emotive vehicles slated for production between now and 2030, including active lifestyle vehicles with great driving dynamics, cargo vehicles for those whole value space and versatility for their commercial needs, pickups delivering legendary Built Ford Tough capability on mid-size trucks, rugged SUVs for our adventure-seeking customers, and high-margin, high-demand larger two- and three-row SUVs for families around the world, like Explorer, and Lincoln Aviator.

Hau Thai-Tang, Chief Product Platform and Operations Officer, Ford (Delivering Ford+/Capital Markets Day 2021)

Ford is confident about its electrification strategy, at least in the U.S. market, where sales figures are proving increasing customer demand for xEVs. The Blue Oval’s electrified vehicle sales grew 184 percent in May 2021, achieving a new electrified vehicle sales record with 10,364 units delivered. Electrifying the Bronco and Bronco Sport should continue this momentum and take it closer to its goal of 40 percent global sales from battery electric vehicles by 2030.

Featured image: Ford