All-new Ford Ranger series could gain hybrid, EV, or both [Update]

Update: ‘Pro Power Onboard’ sub-section added to the ‘On the Ford Ranger Hybrid’ section.

While the F-150 goes all-electric with the Ford F-150 Lightning, Ford’s next step in the electrification process for the Ford Ranger will be a hybrid, which could also go on sale within two years. Shortly after, the lineup will include a Ford Ranger electric to complete the options.

The Ranger Hybrid would go to markets worldwide where emission norms are tightening, or the EV charging infrastructure is nascent. Take a look at what lies ahead for Ford’s mid-size pickup truck.

Design

Unveiled in late 2021, the new-generation Ford Ranger looks as impressive as the new F-150. It sports large matrix LED headlights with ‘C-clamp’ daytime running lights, just like its American cousin. A taller and broader radiator grille emphasizes the pickup’s width and adds aggression. Like the F-150, the radiator grille features a two-bar portion in the center, cutting into the headlights. However, the Australian-designed one-tonne ute doesn’t have active grille shutters like the all-American full-size pickup. The all-new model features power bulges on the hood for an imposing appearance.

The side profile is similar to the current Ranger but not identical. Sophisticated, concave surfacing on the door panels and a subtle shoulder line down the sides bring the truck’s design freshness. Moving to the rear, like the headlights, the taillights are available in a choice of halogen and LED units, and they feature the signature graphics on the front. Thousands of existing Ranger owners worldwide influenced the design of the next-gen Ranger. Product chief designer Max Tran explains:

Video Source: YouTube/Ford Australia

Interior

The interior design of the T6.2 Ford Ranger has become contemporary and more car-like. The dashboard still has a familiar truck-like appearance, but the AC vents, steering wheel, and center console have slimmed down. Reduced switchgear and other physical controls, a 12-inch SYNC 4 portrait touchscreen infotainment, and a fully digital instrument cluster give the interior a cleaner and more sophisticated styling.

2022 Ford Ranger interior dashboard
The all-new Ford Ranger has a more car-like cabin. Image Source: Ford

Ford says that the 2022 Ranger is the smartest Ranger ever, and with SYNC 4 available, we wouldn’t argue that statement. Remote Start, Vehicle Status, and remote lock and unlock functions are available on a mobile app, and Ford Power-Up wireless software updates should allow expanding the list of connected vehicle features conveniently in the future. Tech highlights include a 360-degree camera and a Qi wireless phone charger.

Development

Video Source: YouTube/Ford Australia

Ford has engineered the T6.2 Ford Ranger (T6 is Ford’s rear- and all-wheel drive architecture that underpins mid-size pickups and SUVs) at its Melbourne-based Asia Pacific product development center, but it’s not a regional model. One of the world’s best-selling pickup trucks, the Ranger has built a solid reputation in APAC and African markets. Ford sells the Ranger in over 180 countries.

Technical changes

The all-new Ranger is the toughest and most capable Ranger Ford has ever made. The company has brought extensive technical changes that improve its performance, ride and handling, strength, and efficiency.

An upgraded chassis lies beneath the new bodywork. The wheelbase is 50 mm longer, and the track is 50 mm wider. The longer wheelbase means improved space for the occupants. As for the 50 mm wider track, Anthony Hall, Ranger vehicle engineering manager, says that it makes a huge difference, especially in the cargo box. For some basic items, such as a sheet of building plywood or a full-size, it will be possible to load them flat.

The engineers pushed the front wheels of the Ranger forward by 50 mm for a better approach angle and outboard for improved off-road articulation. They moved the rear suspension dampers outboard of the frame rails for an improved ride. Customers can choose from two 4WD systems – an electronic shift-on-the-fly system or a more off-road-focused full-time four-wheel drive system. Dual recovery hooks in the front bumper now make off-road recovery easier.

Ford says that a hydro-formed front-end structure frees up space in the engine bay and helps future-proof the Ranger for other propulsion technologies. This way, it hints that it has developed the new-generation Ranger keeping alternative powertrains in mind.

On the Ford Ranger Hybrid

On February 2, 2022, Drive published a news report stating that Ford is developing a Ranger PHEV and an Everest PHEV, which will launch in Australia as MY2024 models. The new plug-in hybrids could land in Australian showrooms as early as late 2023, says Drive.

Lars Krause, the BoM responsible for marketing at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VWN), has indirectly confirmed a plug-in hybrid system for the Ranger is under development. “We’re not satisfied with the electric range of the (Ranger’s) plug-in hybrid (system),” Krause told media during the next-gen Amarok presentation in April 2022, as per a Drive report dated April 26, 2022.

As a right-hand-drive country and a huge market for the Ranger and Everest nameplates, Australia could be among the first nations to sell Ford’s all-new PHEVs. Ford and most other prominent automakers usually roll out PHEVs and BEVs first in European countries, the U.S., or China, but this could be an exception.

Ali Jammoul, Ford’s program director for icons and Ford Performance, told Wheels on April 7, 2022, that electrification would play a major role for the next-generation Ranger. Jammoul said every vehicle has compromises; an electrified Ranger would be heavier because of the battery. He added that using lightweight materials elsewhere could offset batteries’ weight penalty.

Pro Power Onboard

Spy pictures (CarExpert) of a LHD Ranger prototype spotted in Australia suggest that Ford may offer the Ranger with its Pro Power Onboard generator. The prototype looked longer than the regular Ranger dual cab, possibly up to 2 inches longer, and had a 12V socket and a 400V inverter generator with a US-style power plug. It could be our first glimpse of the Ranger Hybrid.

On the F-150 PowerBoost, Pro Power Onboard allows customers to use their pickup as a mobile generator. With the gas tank full, the traction battery pack can supply power externally at 7.2 kW for 32 hours. A 2.4 kW version is also available, which can run at max output for 85 hours for the same amount of gas. The driver can monitor the external power usage through the central display of the vehicle or the FordPass mobile app.

Future-proof platform

During an Australian media roundtable in 2021, an engineer behind the development of the all-new Ranger confirmed that the upgraded platform allows electrification. The new, redesigned chassis had helped “future-proof” the Ford Ranger for other propulsion technologies.

The new Ford Ranger’s chief engineer, Ian Foston, also spoke to Drive during a media briefing. He said that they had gathered two big driving factors for electrification. The first is interest from customers who have used EVs before and are asking about the technology in Ford pickup trucks. Secondly, new legislation has been brought in for a number of markets that require it.

Last year, Hans Schep, General Manager, Commercial Vehicles, Ford (Europe), discussed a rechargeable Ranger. He said that the company plans to release a Ranger plug-in hybrid before 2025, as per the report Automotive News Europe published in June 2021.

2.3L PHEV system reported

The powertrain in question is likely the 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost unit with a 10-speed automatic transmission combined with an electric motor to deliver 270 kW (362 hp) and 502 lb.-ft (680 Nm) of torque. This is an all-new Plug-in Hybrid system that hasn’t been featured on a Ford vehicle and will be quite different from the 3.0-liter and 2.5-liter PHEV systems on the Explorer and Escape SUVs.

Jammoul told Wheels that the brand could electrify the 2.3-liter, 2.7-liter, and 3-liter gas engines in its portfolio. He added that Ford is currently evaluating which of these options would be the most suitable, considering the electrified Ranger’s goals of being fuel-efficient and adequately powerful. The 2.3-liter EcoBoost unit is likely to be the most suitable.

Global Release Date

This year, Ford will start manufacturing the all-new Ranger at factories in Asia and South Africa. The company plans to begin taking orders in Europe in late 2022 and customer deliveries in early 2023. Australia, South Africa, and several other core Ranger and one-tonne ute markets should get the all-new Ranger in a few months.

During Ford’s Q1 2022 earnings conference call on April 27, 2022, John Lawler, the chief financial officer, gave a short update on the all-new Ranger launch. Lawler said that the launch is on track. He was referring to the launch in the International Markets Group (IMG) business unit, though, and thus not the U.S. arrival. IMG consists of approximately 100 developed and emerging markets in Asia, the Middle East, and elsewhere.

Our International Markets Group performed well in the first quarter continuing to be solidly profitable despite supply constraints and suspension of our joint venture operations in Russia. The upcoming launch of the next-generation Ranger remains on track. And in March, we unveiled the next-generation Ranger Raptor and Everest.

John Lawler, Chief Financial Officer, Ford (2022 earnings conference call on April 27, 2022)

U.S. Release Date

Ranger6G.com received inside information about the new-generation Ranger’s production and release dates. The global model is internally called Ford P703, and it will go on sale in Asian markets first and later in Australia in May 2022. The U.S. model’s internal coding is Ford P703N, with the ’N’ letter likely denoting North America. It will arrive as the 2023 Ford Ranger.

Production of the P703N Ranger will begin at the Michigan Assembly Plant on May 1, 2023, and the launch is programmed on July 3, 2023. Ranger6G.com also claims to have seen the EOP (End Of Production) date of the U.S.-spec next-gen Ranger – April 2031.

The current Ford Ranger lineup in the United States kicks off at USD 25,980, so expect prices to remain more or less the same when the T6.2 goes on sale. However, where the previous Ranger Raptor – the sporty variant of the pickup truck – is not available in North America, reports suggest the all-new Ranger Raptor introduced on February 22, 2022, will make it to the U.S.

On the Ford Ranger electric

On February 17, 2021, Ford announced that all commercial vehicles in Europe would be zero-emissions capable – all-electric or plug-in hybrid – by 2024. The company expects two-thirds of commercial vehicle sales in the region to come from PHEVs and EVs by 2030. Given that the Ranger is Europe’s best-selling pickup truck, a pure electric powertrain (besides hybrid) should be a priority for the model. In 2020, the Ranger enjoyed a record 34.9% share in Europe’s pickup truck segment, and in 2021 (by Q3), that had increased to 42.5%.

Ford Ranger Electric teaser
Ford has confirmed that the new Battery Electric Vehicle architecture would underpin mid-size pickup trucks. The Ford Ranger electric could go on sale by 2025. Image Source: Vimeo/Ford

On May 26, 2021, Ford’s announcements at the “Delivering Ford+” themed 2021 Capital Markets Day may have uncovered the first detail of a Ford Ranger EV. The company revealed that it plans to introduce BEVs with RWD/AWD drivetrain layout on a new dedicated BEV platform. Hau Thai-Tang, Chief Product Platform and Operations Officer, Ford, confirmed that the platform would spawn a mid-size electric pickup truck. Ford markets the Ranger as its mid-size pickup truck in the United States.

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 Ranger Electric design

Ford may have started the groundwork for the Ranger EV, but it will likely take about two years before the company shows a prototype to the media. In the meantime, we have presented our imagination of a Ranger electric in an exclusive rendering (below).

Ford Ranger Electric rendering
TopElectricSUV.com’s rendering of the Ford Ranger electric inspired by the F-150 Lightning.

Inspired by the 14th-gen F-150 Lightning, we envision the Ford Ranger Electric with a slightly high-tech appearance at the front. The C-shaped LED DRLs are linked with an F-150 Lightning-style light strip above the upper grille. A closed radiator grille supports drag reduction and improves efficiency, and so does a specially designed bumper. A charge port above the front wheel arch and the alloy wheels featuring a special, aerodynamic design complete the look.

Ford EV sales soar in the United States

In 2021, Ranger’s year-to-date (January-December 2021) sales in the U.S. dropped by 6.6%. Compared to 101,486 units sold in 2020, Ford managed to sell only 94,755 units in 2021. Between January and May 2022, cumulative sales dropped 44% year-over-year to 28,732 units (January-May 2021: 51,270 units). In May 2022 alone, Ford sold 5,983 Rangers in America, and that marked a steep 58.2% decline from May 2021 (14,303 units).

On the other hand, EVs continue to peak in the U.S. In May 2022, Ford sold 6,254 electric vehicles in the country, registering a 222% year-over-year growth.

Ranger ICE model will run alongside the BEV & Hybrid

James Farley Jr., President & CEO of Ford, told The Verge Editor-in-Chief Nilay Patel on a Decoder podcast in 2021 that Ford is a leader in markets like South Africa, Australia, and Europe with the Ranger. Ranger customers in some regions do 700-800 mile journeys. The technology (and the charging infrastructure in these societies) needs to evolve to deliver an extended EV range without compromising the Ford Ranger’s affordability, capability, or usability. Hence, the combustion model will continue alongside the electrified Ranger versions for the foreseeable future.

Ford Ranger Hybrid FAQs

What is the Ford Ranger Hybrid release date?

The U.S. launch of the next-gen Ranger will reportedly take place in July 2023. A hybrid variant could join the line-up shortly after.

Which trucks would rival the Ford Ranger Hybrid?

The Ranger Hybrid will rival the Chevrolet Colorado, Toyota Tacoma, and Nissan Frontier in price.

What will be the price of the Ford Ranger Hybrid?

The Ford Ranger Hybrid is expected to cost around USD 30,000.

Featured Image Source: Ford