It takes all of five seconds in an electric van to see the advantages for commercial vehicles of EV power. It’s so much quicker, easier, and quieter than diesel. But, crucially, they won’t go as far, which is problematic if work takes your van outside the city. A PHEV ought to work as a really nice compromise, for now, for those done with diesel but not yet able to embrace EV. So Ford is going to build one: the Ranger Plug-In Hybrid.
It's a rare breed, the plug-in pick-up, so it’ll be interesting to see how buyers take to the Ranger. It’s going to be powered by a 2.3-litre Ecoboost petrol and battery combo; there’s no word yet on battery capacity, let alone charging, but the aim is for around 28 miles of electric range. Which ought to be enough for whichever low emissions zone is encountered. Driving modes will be configured to allow charge to be stored for when it’s required later in the journey.
To all intents and purposes, the PHEV is going to be a lot like any other Ranger as a commercial vehicle. Ford is aiming for the same 3,500kg maximum braked towing capacity, plus four-wheel drive ought to take it as far off the beaten track as the next project requires. And if that all sounds a little vague for now, that’s because it is - the Ranger plug-in won’t go into production until the end of next year, with sales kicking off in 2025, so there are still a few details to be finalised.
What has been confirmed, however, is Pro Power Onboard as an optional extra. There will be power outlets in the cargo bed and cabin, meaning ‘high-draw’ power tools and appliances can be plugged into the truck as opposed to having to lug around a generator as well. Customers will also be able to take advantage of the Ford Pro ‘ecosystem of solutions’, which will help with finding chargers, keeping software updated and so on.
“Our customers want electrified vehicles that deliver strong performance and affordable cost of ownership without compromising what they love about their truck,” said Hans Schep, general manager of Ford Pro in Europe. “The Ranger Plug-in Hybrid is a best-of-both-worlds solution for work, play, and family – offering customers zero-tailpipe emission EV driving for short trips, or hybrid performance that delivers incredible off-road, payload and towing capabilities. And, with Pro Power Onboard for the first time, Ranger owners can power their work sites and campsites easily.” Wonder if the same battery could provide a boost for the Raptor in time - it is a little down on power, after all…
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