An electrified version of the Ranger could be offered in Australia by the end of 2024
Ford’s announcement that the Escape midsize SUV would be killed off in Australia by the end of 2023 could be very good news for fans of the Ranger ute.
The Escape, and more specifically its PHEV variant, made up one of five electrified vehicles confirmed to arrive in Australia before the end of 2024.
That midsize SUV’s withdrawal from the Australian market opens up a crucial fifth electrified model slot that is likely to be filled by a plug-in hybrid Ranger.
The first fully-electric vehicle to arrive will be the E-Transit, with the smaller E-Transit Custom and Mustang Mach-E midsize SUV to come later in 2023. No specific timeline has been set for the electric Puma but it will arrive before the end of 2024.
Ford maintains that all five vehicles will be ‘electrified’ meaning that hybrid options will also be on the table – and all signs point to a plug-in hybrid version of the Ranger.
When Chasing Cars asked Ford Australia and New Zealand president and CEO Andrew Birkic if the departure of the Escape PHEV would open up space for a fifth vehicle he replied that “we may have more news to come, we can’t give everything away”.
But Ford’s ute collaboration partner Volkswagen has already spoken to Chasing Cars about well-progressed plans to release a hybrid version of the Ranger’s direct relative, the Amarok.
The well-publicised relationship between the T6.2 Ford Ranger and the second-generation Volkswagen Amarok has seen information trickle out from both sides of the partnership, and a new Blue Oval-badged PHEV appears very much on the cards.
At the launch of the Ranger, Ford was clear that the T6.2 Ranger platform was built with electrified drivetrains in mind.
Senior Volkswagen executives recently expanded on this drivetrain pathway, declaring that if the brand chose to build a PHEV variant of the Amarok, the 2.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine would be chosen over a diesel option.
This petrol engine is expected to be paired with a 25kWh battery that would motivate the Ranger PHEV for around 80 to 100km, the crucial distance required to meet tightening restrictions on what vehicles qualify as a PHEV in Europe for tax purposes from 2025.
While the US-market Ford Ranger is expected to be offered with the non-hybrid version of the 2.3-litre turbo petrol engine, the Volkswagen Amarok is currently alone in offering this engine locally, where it produces substantial outputs of 222kW/452Nm.
It’s likely that the introduction of one or more electric motors would see an increase in these outputs when the battery is fully charged, as we often see with PHEV vehicles. Volkswagen pairs the 2.3-litre turbo-petrol with a full-time four-wheel-drive system that would also likely carry across to the PHEV.
The electric drivetrain could see some compromises made to the outright towing capacity, with the PHEV version likely to sit closer to the 2.5-tonne rating of the Raptor rather than the 3.5-tonne capacity applied to the bulk of the range.
With many buyers still cautious about electric drivetrains in light-commercial vehicles, the Ranger/Amarok PHEV could serve as a stepping stone to the release of the previously reported fully-electric Amarok, and presumably, a Ranger Lightning twin.
The former is reported to pack a 100kWh battery pack providing 500km of range and could see release as early as mid-2025, but time will tell.
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