Based on what little we know now, I would suspect the answer is no. Car and Driver confirmed as much anyway, but I think Ford is making a big mistake. Before I launch into why I think that, let’s look at what Ford has revealed about the specs of this new PHEV vehicle. First, the estimated range on battery, as per the WLTP we assume, is over 28 miles/45 kilometers. This may suggest that the Ranger will use the same or similar battery pack as the Ford Escape PHEV, which has a 14.4 kWh battery (which in the Escape PHEV is good for an EPA rated 37 miles of range). Personally, I think the range in the US (if the Ranger PHEV were to show up here) would be more like 25 miles, according to the EPA. It will use Ford’s turbo charged, 4 cylinder 2.3 liter EcoBoot engine, and according to Ford and carscoops.com will have more torque than any other Ranger model and will not compromise on payload, off-road capability or towing capacity in comparison to any of its fossil fueled iterations, including the global diesel models that we also don’t get in the US. And perhaps even more importantly, the Ranger PHEV will offer Ford’s Pro Power Onboard system with multiple power outlets near the tailgate. That feature in particular will be appealing to customers everywhere that might want to use the vehicle on worksites, for camping or backup power generation scenarios. Also of interest, Ford has placed the battery charging port next to the gasoline fueling port in the rear of the pick-up, directly above the driver side rear wheel (in what would be the US market vehicles). This is an unusual placement and it seems like it would mean drivers need to back into charging spots, or perhaps use pull-throughs, to reach the charging port.
I opened this piece by stating that I think this PHEV won’t be bound for the US, and other media sources have confirmed that. But Ford will be ceding market share if this proves to be true and missing a real opportunity to capture a currently untapped market. First, Ford needs more plug-in vehicles in order to meet its emissions reductions targets and is planning on quadrupling production of its [standard] hybrids (HEVs) according to cnbc.com. I’ll clarify that standard hybrids do not plug-in, however since Ford could more easily bring the same hybrid system to multiple markets, and since there is no electrified Ranger model on sale in the US currently and Ford has no answer to mid-sized electric pick-ups on sale or forthcoming from its rivals in the US market, the PHEV Ranger would basically be a no-brainer for them. Further, I think Ford may be less likely to bring the PHEV format to the F-150, even though Car and Driver claimed Ford was doing exactly that (and then provided a link that made no such confirmation) since there is already both a standard HEV and fully electric (EV) version of the F-150. I also think Ford should save the PHEV format for the Ranger, rather than the F-150, as it would both help Ford stand out/attract attention and because in the smaller platform it could achieve better efficiency than in the full-size platform (the “more bang for your buck” scenario). Second, there are some clues in the marketing videos Ford has shared, as seen in the carscoops.com article, namely the US style outlet in the Pro Power section of the truck bed. While that could simply be an artifact from video production and by no means guarantees a US (or Canadian) market target, it does suggest that Ford is considering it.
I don’t know about you, dear readers, but I think Ford needs to bring the Ranger PHEV to the US because PHEVs make excellent camping vehicles, because they would have little to no competition for the market segment and they are also a better use of limited battery resources during the first generations of plug-in vehicles (until we can develop more energy dense batteries capable of 2-3x the range from the same space).
What do you think? Would a Ranger PHEV be a hot seller in the US market, or more of a dead end? Would it make more sense as an EV pickup than the F-150 (at least until we develop more energy dense batteries)?
Images courtesy of Ford.
Justin Hart has owned and driven electric vehicles for over 15 years, including a first generation Nissan LEAF, second generation Chevy Volt, Tesla Model 3, an electric bicycle and most recently a Kia Sorento PHEV. He is also an avid SUP rider, poet, photographer and wine lover. He enjoys taking long EV and PHEV road trips to beautiful and serene places with the people he loves. Follow Justin on Torque News Kia or X for regular electric and hybrid news coverage.