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

Update: ‘Bronco production & sales’ and ‘Ford electrified vehicle sales’ 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 details are available as neither the executive nor the company has shared technical specifications or the release date.

Here’s everything that has been reported on the Bronco Hybrid:

Owner’s manual confirms the 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
Ford Bronco engine
The future Ford Bronco Hybrid is part of Ford’s plans to offer electrified variants of popular models. Image: Ford

On the Ford Bronco Hybrid

The media has been speculating what would go under the hood of the hybrid SUV for almost two years. 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. The Jeep Wrangler 4xe was America’s best-selling PHEV right after the launch, so Ford knows there’s a great potential for a hardcore mid-size plug-in hybrid SUV.

Ford Bronco facelift

The Ford Bronco is barely a year old, and conversations are already happening about when it’s going to be facelifted. Citing people familiar with the automaker’s production plans, Ford Authority reported on October 1, 2021, that the Blue Oval had timed the SUV’s mid-cycle refresh for the 2025 model year. On October 12, 2021, Ford Authority said in an updated report that the company had advanced the Bronco facelift launch to the 2024 model year. The updated SUV, now expected to hit showrooms around the second half of 2023, should also gain the hybrid/plug-in hybrid variant.

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 is a 200 hp system that includes the 2.5-liter iVCT Atkinson cycle gas engine coupled with an eCVT. Ford offers the Escape as a Hybrid (with AWD and front-wheel drive) and also as a Plug-in Hybrid (Front-wheel drive only).

Ford Bronco rear seat
Like in the Escape Hybrid, Ford could mount the battery underneath the rear seat and leave the cargo space unaffected. Image: Ford

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. For reference, the 2022 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 in all-wheel drive.

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 from Automotive News. 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. At the moment, the Bronco teams at the Ford HQ are preparing to send the Bronco Raptor into production.

European launch

In August 2020, a Ford Germany spokesperson told Automobilwoche that there was no plan to launch the Ford Bronco in Europe. A year later, it looked like Ford’s European division was reconsidering the decision.

Jim Farley Jr., President & CEO of Ford, told Auto Express at the 2021 Goodwood Revival that the Bronco “would work fine” in Europe and that he’s waiting for the European bosses “to make up their mind.” Perhaps Europe will get its turn when the Bronco is available as a hybrid or an EV. Should Ford introduce a plug-in hybrid powertrain, it would make the Bronco compelling for the Old Continent. The British publication says that a right-hand drive Bronco is unlikely, but the UK dealers could import left-hand drive versions.

Bronco production & sales

The Ford Bronco Hybrid and Ford Bronco Sport Hybrid production will likely occur alongside their respective ICE 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).

Ford confirmed in 2021 that 125,000 of the 190,000+ Bronco 2-door and 4-door reservations in the U.S. and Canada have converted into actual orders. More than 70% of the customers are new to the Ford brand.

2021 was a great year for the Bronco family in the U.S., as Ford sold 108,169 units of the Bronco Sport in 2021, which was its first full year of sales. The company started shipping the hardcore Bronco to dealers in June 2021 and sold 35,023 units.

MonthFord Bronco Sport Production NumbersFord Bronco Production Numbers
January 202214,63612,938
February 202210,2608,462
March 202215,05214,953
April 202210,55612,237
May 202210,15611,124
Official Ford Bronco Sport and Ford Bronco production numbers (Source: Ford)

The momentum has carried into 2022. In January 2022, the sales of the Bronco family saw a year-over-year increase of 77.9%. The company sold 6,221 units of the Bronco Sport and 8,101 units of the Bronco. In February 2022, these models recorded a 131% YoY growth (combined) with monthly sales figures of 10,285 units and 5,715 units, respectively. The hybrid variants of the Bronco models should increase their popularity whenever they come out.

The Bronco family had its best monthly sales performance in March 2022, with 22,340 units sold between the two models. Bronco sales increased 70.7% over February 2022 to 9,757 units, while Bronco Sport sales went up 22.3% to 12,583 units. In total, Ford sold 29,089 units of the Bronco Sport and 23,573 units of the Bronco Sport in the first quarter of 2022. Combined sales of the Bronco models in Q1 2022 stood at 52,662 units.

In April 2022, Ford Bronco Sport sales in the U.S. declined by 6.7% to 12,928 units (April 2021: 13,856 units). Registering 13,113 units in sales, the Bronco was more popular in America that month. Year-to-date sales of the Bronco Sport are now up 12.9% year-over-year to 42,017 units (January-April 2021: 37,212 units). The Bronco is not so far behind, with 36,686 units delivered between January and April 2022.

In May 2022, the Bronco family contributed 18,985 units to Ford’s U.S. sales, up 27% from May 2021. However, the Bronco Sport’s year-over-year sales were down 36.4%, with only 9,510 units delivered (May 2021: 14,947 units). The Bronco was not on sale yet in May 2021, and in May 2022, Ford sold 9,475 units.

Ford electrified vehicle sales

Ford has seen a rapid rise in sales of electrified vehicles (xEVs) in the USA in 2021. The company sold 56,570 xEVs in the country in the first half of 2021, registering a year-over-year 117% growth and creating a new all-time first-half sales record. In the second half of 2021, the Blue Oval shipped 64,471 xEVs, bringing the yearly total to a six-digit figure – 121,041 units.

In its January 2022 U.S. sales report, Ford said that electrified vehicles had their best start ever. The company made a new January sales record (internally) selling 13,169 xEVs that month, 167.2% higher than in the same month in 2021. It said that xEV sales increased nearly 4 times faster than the overall xEV segment. Its electrified vehicle sales expanded 37.9% in Q1 2022, and in April 2022, the growth continued, with 16,779 xEVs sold. In May, Ford was able to sell only 6,254 xEVs.

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 within a year, but that’s not all. The company has hinted at a Ford Bronco EV launch that could compete with the Jeep Wrangler Electric. Farly Jr., 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, Chief Product Platform and Operations 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, Chief Product Platform and Operations 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.

Video Source: YouTube/Ford Motor Company

On December 6, 2021, Ford released a new video titled “What Innovation Looks Like” as part of its “Built for America” ad campaign. It showed the Mustang Mach-E’s BlueCruise (autonomous driving), F-150 Lightning’s Intelligent Backup Power (V2L), and E-Transit’s Remote Start (smartphone app-based vehicle start) features. The short clip ended with a Bronco climbing a hill. Nothing unusual about that except that the Bronco is the only ICE model in the video. Perhaps, this is yet another hint that a Bronco EV is on the horizon?

Ford Model e division

Ford is separating 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 will handle retail sales of EVs and ICE vehicles, respectively. Ford Pro will focus on commercial and government sales of both EVs and ICE 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.

By 2026, Ford aims to produce more than 2 million EVs annually and convert one-third of its global volume to EVs. The company’s goal for the end of the decade is to convert half of its global volume to EVs.

Featured image: Ford