Ford Bronco Hybrid: Everything we know thus far

  • Ford Bronco Hybrid could use a 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 engine assisted by an electric motor
  • Could it be launched this year along with the facelift?
  • Bronco Sport Hybrid with the Escape's electrified 2.5L iVCT engine seen as a possibility
  • Electrification the right solution to fix the new Bronco models' biggest shortcoming – efficiency

Update: ‘Bronco production & sales,’ and ‘On the Bronco Sport Hybrid’ sections updated.

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 official details are available, with neither executives nor the company providing further information.

Here’s everything that has been reported on the Bronco Hybrid, and our general expectations on the specifications and release date:

New Bronco derivatives

The Bronco family has a wide appeal, with numerous configurations available and plans for even more. At the Bank of America 2023 Automotive Summit on April 5th, Jim Baumbick, VP of Product Development Operations and Quality at Ford, described the Bronco as a “winning party” and suggested that additional derivatives would be developed to capitalize on its early success.

So there’s three examples on the screen here, with Everglades, the Raptor, and Heritage, all distinctly going after different customers. This is just the start. We have a ton more coming. And on Bronco, we’re never going to let the foot off the throttle pedal. We have a ton of opportunity in different spaces to speak to different customers.

Jim Baumbick, Vice President – Product Development Operations and Quality, Ford (Bank of America’s 2023 Automotive Summit on April 5, 2023)

In addition to various styles and levels of off-road capabilities, the Bronco twins will also have derivatives focused on eco-friendliness in the future. This includes the highly anticipated hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants.

Owner’s manual confirms future Ford Bronco Hybrid

Ford released its owner’s manual before beginning sales of the gas-powered Bronco two- and four-door midsize SUVs. The original 550-page document reaffirmed that the company has planned a Bronco hybrid 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 talked 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 future Bronco Hybrid is a plug-in variant (PHEV).

The 2022 Ford Bronco Owner’s Manual mentions HEV and PHEV guidance related to the vehicle’s automatic climate control system. In a short note, it says:

For Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) and Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) vehicles, the blower motor may run, and you may feel airflow when the climate control is off, to provide cooling to the battery.

2022 Ford Bronco Owner’s Manual

There’s an indication of a hybrid variant in the owner’s manuals of the 2023 Ford Bronco and 2024 Ford Bronco as well:

Your vehicle comes with the Intelligent Oil-Life Monitor system, a message appears in the instrument cluster 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).

2023 Ford Bronco Owner’s Manual and 2024 Ford Bronco Owner’s Manual

On the Ford Bronco Hybrid

It is said that Ford conceived the sixth-gen Bronco with partial electrification in mind. Seeing the unsatisfactory mpg figures of the gas model, many customers must be looking forward to a Bronco Hybrid. Depending on the configuration selected, the gas model delivers a combined fuel economy of 15-20 MPG.

The reasonable, and dare we say, 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 could be an ideal combination for the 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.

Ford Bronco Plug-in Hybrid powertrain

Now that the owner’s manual hints at a plug-in hybrid powertrain, this future electrified Bronco could allow customers to use the EV mode to cover a whole day’s drive without emissions. Ford could introduce the Bronco Plug-in Hybrid with the 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder gas 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 30-40 miles.

The Ford Ranger Plug-in Hybrid also has a 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine under the hood. Based on an updated version of the platform that underpins the Ford Bronco, the plug-in hybrid pickup truck has a targeted towing capacity of 3,500 kg (7,716 lbs.) – the same as its gas-powered donor model. Ford estimates the Ranger Plug-in Hybrid will deliver a pure electric range of more than 45 km (28 miles), as per WLTP.

The Jeep Wrangler 4xe became America’s top-selling PHEV immediately after its introduction. As of September 30, 2023, it holds that position. The demand would have made Ford aware of the potential for a rugged mid-size plug-in hybrid SUV.

Ford Bronco facelift

On May 22, 2023, Ford held its capital markets day. Kumar Galhotra, the President of the Ford Blue division, said at the event that the average age of Ford Blue models, which are the Blue Oval’s ICE vehicles, is four years.

Galhotra revealed that 60% of Ford Blue models will get a major (full model change) or moderate (facelift) level of freshening between 2023 and 2024. Introduced in July 2020, the sixth-gen Bronco and the first-ever Bronco Sport should arrive in their respective facelifted avatars at U.S. dealerships in the second half of 2024. Galhotra also stated that Ford Blue will expand its hybrid powertrain offerings, which we think will lead to the launch of electrified Bronco twins this year, or next year (MY2025 or MY2026 Bronco).

On the Ford Bronco Sport Hybrid

As for the Ford Bronco Sport Hybrid, reports state that it will employ the Ford Escape Hybrid’s powertrain, which makes sense given the ‘softer’ Bronco sits on the monocoque platform of the Escape. This system includes a 2.5-liter iVCT Atkinson cycle gas engine coupled with an eCVT.

Ford offers the Escape Hybrid in FWD and AWD, both with a combined power of 192 hp. A Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid with a 2.5-liter iVCT Atkinson cycle gas engine and eCVT is also available, but only in FWD. The total system power in the plug-in hybrid variant of the Escape is 210 hp.

When Motor Authority reviewed the Bronco Sport, they managed a fuel economy of 23 mpg in mixed suburban driving, almost the same level as the EPA rating (21 mpg City/26 mpg Highway/23 mpg Combined). Motor Authority wrote that the Escape’s hybrid powertrain on the Ford Bronco Sport Hybrid would largely improve efficiency. The 2023 Escape Hybrid’s EPA-estimated fuel economy is 39 mpg (combined) in both FWD and AWD.

Ford has begun testing camouflaged prototypes of the Bronco Sport facelift in the U.S. Spy photos show that Ford is developing a larger touchscreen (similar to the 13.2-inch display from the Escape) for the future Bronco Sport, which is likely to upgrade to the latest Ford SYNC4 infotainment software. Besides a reorganized dashboard that may see fewer physical controls, the 2025 Bronco Sport is also expected with tweaked bumpers, grille, and wheels. We’ll have to wait until later this year to learn if the hybrid configuration is part of the facelift.

Expected trims

The Ford Bronco Hybrid and Ford Bronco Sport Hybrid should come in a few variants, but those will include Badlands. In the case of the former, Wildtrak is a given. In 2021, Ford said it received more than 190,000 reservations for the Bronco, and approximately 26% of reservations were in the Wildtrak trim, which is exclusive to the frame SUV, Autoblog reported on October 23, 2020. About 20% of orders were in the Badlands trim, and the remaining orders were in the other available trims.

Release Date

The Ford Bronco Hybrid and Ford Bronco Sport Hybrid could debut in 2024, as per a report Automotive News published on August 28, 2022. Competitors will include the Jeep Wrangler 4xe PHEV and the Land Rover Defender PHEV. The Bronco twins are part of the Blue Oval’s strategy to have hybrid electric variants for high-volume models, and if not MY2025, they are expected to be part of the subsequent model years.

Bronco production & sales

The Ford Bronco Hybrid and Ford Bronco Sport Hybrid production should occur alongside their respective combustion-engined counterparts. Ford manufactures the Bronco (both 2-door and 4-door) at the Michigan Assembly Plant (USA) and the Bronco Sport at the Hermosillo Stamping and Assembly Plant (Mexico).

While the Bronco Sport is seeing improving demand, sales of the Bronco dipped in 2023. Last year, Ford shipped 105,665 units of the Bronco, and 127,476 units of the Bronco Sport. Compared to 2022, these figures are -9.7% and 28.1%, respectively.

The Ford Bronco has only two direct competitors if we exclude the outdated 4Runner – the Jeep Wrangler, and the 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser. However, an all-new Toyota 4Runner is expected later this year. Hence, the Ford Bronco will face increased competition and timely electrification could be key to maintaining an edge in the segment.

Electric Ford Bronco on the horizon

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 by the end of 2023, but that’s not all. The company has hinted at a Ford Bronco EV launch that could compete with the Jeep Recon. Ford president and CEO Jim Farley, suggested with a reply on Twitter in May 2021 that the company is contemplating a zero-emission Bronco. He said “Why do you think we don’t?” when asked by Twitter handle ‘Powered by Tesla’ why there isn’t an EV option on the Bronco.

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

A few days later, Hau Thai-Tang, former chief industrial platform officer, Ford, teased a Bronco EV that strengthen 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 above teaser played, indicating that he was referring to an Electric Ford Bronco:

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 (Ford) Explorer, and Lincoln Aviator.

Hau Thai-Tang, former chief industrial platform officer, Ford (Delivering Ford+/Capital Markets Day 2021)

On August 21, 2021, Ford North America Product Communications director Mike Levine posted a picture of the Bronco 4-door along with the 2004 Bronco concept and two classic Broncos on Twitter. In response, Twitter user Ben Sullins expressed his wish for a Bronco EV, saying, “if they were only electric.” Levine replied tweeting the outline teaser shown above and a thinking face emoji, hinting that a Bronco EV is an actual project in the company.

Ford Model e division

Ford has separated its EV business from the ICE vehicle business to accelerate its race to carbon neutrality. The company has created three new businesses with distinct identities: Ford Model e, Ford Blue, and Ford Pro. Ford Model e and Ford Blue handle retail sales of EVs and combustion-engined vehicles, respectively. Ford Pro focuses on commercial and government sales of both EVs and combustion vehicles. This separation comes after the Blue Oval succeeded with small, project-based teams that developed the Ford GT, Mustang Mach-E, and F-150 Lightning as well as the separate EV division in China.

No electrification in the MY2024 Bronco family

Ford recently released the 2024 Bronco Sport and 2024 Bronco in the U.S., both without electrification. The MY2024 update to the Bronco series is all about new options, colors, grade and equipment changes, and a special edition. Prices start at USD 31,230 (excl. USD 1,595 destination charges) for the 2024 Bronco Sport and USD 39,130 (excl. USD 1,895 destination charges) for the 2024 Bronco.

For a brief overview of what’s new for 2024, the Bronco Sport has received a Free Wheeling special edition trim, a Black Appearance package option, and Azure Gray Tinted Clearcoat and Desert Sand colors. The Bronco has seen the comeback of the Everglades trim and gained a Code Orange package, Shelter Green and Velocity Blue colors, and four new 17-inch wheel options.

TopElectricSUV says

There’s one area where the new Bronco models need to improve seriously: efficiency. Introducing a hybrid option will address that concern, making them more appealing to a wider audience. For a small premium, these hybrid models could offer big gains in fuel cost savings in the long run.