It appears to be a matter of when, not if, the Ford Ranger will go electric, but Ford’s senior global leadership is not yet ready to divulge any details on timing. However, we’re getting a clearer picture of what to expect when it eventually arrives.
In a series of interviews with some of Ford Motor Company’s top executives, CarsGuide got a clearer picture of the long-rumored plans for an all-electric Ranger.
While the hybrid version of the recently launched Ranger and Everest models is almost confirmed and will hit the showrooms soon, the all-electric version is likely to take longer.
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John Lawler, Ford’s global chief financial officer, said the Ranger is an important model for the brand as it is sold in 180 markets worldwide, but he did not say when the electric version would hit showrooms. One of the key reasons for the slower implementation times is that the markets where the Ranger is popular, including Australia, are not moving towards electrification as quickly as the US and Europe.
“I’m going to disappoint you because I’m not going to give you a time frame,” Mr. Lawler said. “I can say the Ranger is a cornerstone for us globally, but most markets where it’s number one or two aren’t moving to electrification that fast, but there are markets that are. here [in the US]Ranger is a big part of our business, [as it is in] Australia and others [markets].
“I’d like to say that we haven’t announced anything, other than I really like where we’re going with the people we’ve brought in to work on Model E in terms of engineering and design, and the freedom that an engine doesn’t have. etc. from the point of view of design are opened, are there opportunities. So we will do that, whether it’s the Ranger or other opportunities to introduce and expand BEVs around the world. Watch this space.”
Most importantly, Mr. Lawler revealed that the factory in Thailand that makes the Ranger and Everest is set to become an EV hub for Ford, raising the prospect of an electric Ranger eventually.
“Thailand will become a center for the production of zero-emission cars,” he said.
He added: “Ranger is a huge opportunity for us and it’s a cornerstone for us [in international markets]. This is incredibly important to us. We are excited about the possibilities.”
Trevor Worthington, vice president of Ford’s internal combustion vehicle programs, which means the Ranger is part of his remit, confirmed CarsGuide A previous report suggested that the T6.2’s new struts were designed to house not only a plug-in hybrid powertrain (which accounts for its extended wheelbase), but could even allow for an all-electric powertrain.
“What we’ve tried to do is create vehicles where we provide alternatives,” Mr Worthing explained. “What we’ve tried to do with this generation of Ranger and Everest is that because of the architectural work that we’ve done with the longer wheelbase and increased track, what if the future is PHEV, BEV or whatever, hydrogen, lithium, rocket fuel – we have an architecture that will meet the needs of customers.”
However, he will not be involved in confirming which variant is the future Ranger.
“I don’t really know which way to go,” Mr Worthington said. “I know what we’re working on, but we won’t talk about it.”
Importantly, though, if you’re expecting the electric Ranger to just be a run-of-the-mill car with diesel engines replaced by electric motors and batteries, you’d be wrong. That’s not Ford’s approach to electric cars under new Model E business chief Doug Fields, a former Tesla and Apple engineer who insists on pushing the boundaries of design for all new electric cars.
Darren Palmer, vice president of electric vehicle programs for the Ford Model E, made it clear that any electric version of the Ranger would have to be an “insanely awesome” car, not just a new version of the diesel version.
“My boss tells me, both [Ford president and CEO] Jim Farley and Doug Fields, “if it’s like today but a little bit better, it’s canceled,” Palmer said. “We use it all the time in meetings: ‘If it’s like today but a little better, cancel.’ We won’t do that, it’s not a winning formula. Ford’s winning formula is to pick segments that our customers love and then figure out how to make them insanely great so they can do things they’ve never done before.”
This will likely mean a major body and underpinning redesign in the same vein as the F150 Lightning, which has a 400-litre front luggage compartment under the hood, bi-directional power and other features not available on the petrol and diesel engines. powerful version of the F-150.
That likely means a major design change, and it probably won’t happen until the new Ranger’s mid-life facelift, which isn’t expected until the second half of this decade. But it also means the all-electric Ranger could hit Australian showrooms before the end of the decade, possibly as early as 2028.