Powered by
Subscribe to the only car newsletter you’ll ever need

Next Ford Bronco Sport likely to be an EV as Ford SUV strategy revealed


The Mustang Mach-E’s platform could serve as the basis for the next-generation Bronco Sport and also provide a potential pathway for the SUV to Australia

The next-generation Ford Bronco Sport could finally have a pathway for an Australian release because of an important change to Ford’s SUV strategy that will promote electric powertrains.

Ford chief executive officer Jim Farley recently confirmed in an earnings call to investors earlier this month that the brand would no longer be designing and producing future two-row crossovers which are powered by internal combustion engines.

Ford Bronco Sport 2022 rocks
Ford boss Jim Farley says the brand won’t produce any new combustion-powered two-row crossovers

In the American context, ‘crossover’ refers to unibody, car-based SUVs such as the Ford Escape and Bronco Sport, rather than body-on-frame off-roaders like its big brother, the Bronco or the Everest.

The Bronco and Bronco Sport have previously been ruled out for Australia as both are currently only built in left-hand drive, despite widespread perceived demand for the duo locally.

However, it’s far easier to produce fully-electric vehicles in either left- or right-hand drive due to the absence of mechanical componentry like engine blocks and transmissions that can make alternating steering wheel options difficult.

Ford Bronco Raptor 2023 front end
It’s not as hard-edged as the real Bronco, but the Bronco Sport is still easy to like

Mustang Mach-E Platform likely to underpin Ford America’s SUV range

Ford America’s first dedicated electric vehicle was the Mustang Mach-E SUV midsize SUV which is underpinned by the GE1 platform. 

To date, the Mach-E is the only vehicle to sit on this platform, but it’s almost certain that more will be built upon it due to the investment already made to develop it and Ford’s aggressive push towards electrification.

The current-generation Bronco Sport is built upon the same ‘C2’ platform as the Escape which is sold in Australia, but sadly only the latter is offered in Australia in right-hand-drive.

Ford Mustang Mach-E GT 2022 front drift
The Mustang Mach-E is offered in left-and-right-hand-drive

A key point of difference between the Escape, which has seen limited success in Australia, and the Bronco Sport is the latter features a more rugged design and off road capability than a traditional unibody midsize SUVs, similar to the Subaru Forester.

Given the current average vehicle life cycle of around five to seven years for Ford midsize SUVs, it’s expected that a second-generation Bronco Sport will appear between 2025 and 2027.

Electrification could help bring Bronco Sport to Australia

One of the benefits of dedicated electric platforms is they are easier and more cost-effective to engineer for both left- and right-hand-drive markets.

Australia has historically missed out on many highly-sought after products from North America due to the exorbitant costs associated with engineering and building right-hook products but EVs could ease this barrier.

An example of this can be found with the Mustang Mach-E, which has already been confirmed for fellow RHD markets such as the UK and New Zealand, with Australia expected to follow.

Ford Bronco Sport 2021 water
Despite sharing a platform with the Escape, the Bronco Sport is only built in LHD

And of course, if the second-generation Bronco is built upon this same platform, local introduction would appear to be that much easier again.

Ford Europe has confirmed its own line-up of nine electric vehicles; consisting of a range of work vans, people movers, electric Puma, the aforementioned Mach-E and two SUVs based on Volkswagen’s MEB platform thanks to an agreement between the two brands. 

One of the two was recently teased in a video released by Ford, and is expected to be revealed in full on March 21.

Ford Australia’s future EV plans firm

As mentioned previously, the Mustang Mach-E is expected to become one of five electrified vehicles promised for Australia alongside the E-Transit, E-Transit Custom and the Escape PHEV before 2024.

The fifth and final position could be filled by one of the two MEB-based SUVs bound for Europe, though Ford has previously cast doubt on the idea.

Ford Europe EV lineup
Ford Australia will source several EVs from its European division

Electrified versions of the Ranger are another possible contender for the final position, with Ford Australia making it clear during the launch that the ute’s updated T6.2 platform was built with electrification in mind to supply future projects.

While a fully-electric ‘Lightning’ version is likely to arrive in the future, it’s more probable that we will see a plug-in hybrid version arrive first, to better suit Australia’s current conditions and still limited charging infrastructure, when compared to other western nations.