Ford is preparing to shake up the top-selling ute class with the new 2025 Ford Ranger Plug-in Hybrid – the first PHEV powertrain for the category that promises to offer the most muscular performance ever seen in the Australian-developed Ranger, as well an EV-only driving range and other benefits.
Crucially, Ford executives have also confirmed that Ranger’s 3500kg towing capacity, circa-1000kg payload and 800mm wading depth won’t be compromised with the plug-in hybrid powertrain option that was developed Down Under and should be well suited to Australian driving conditions – both on-road and off-road.
Due for release in early 2025, the Ford Ranger PHEV features a 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine and a single electric motor mounted within the transmission housing, allowing for zero-emissions off-roading and all-wheel drive grip when in EV mode.
No other powertrain specifics have been revealed at this stage, with production not slated to start until the fourth quarter of next year.
However, previous reports have suggested a maximum torque figure of around 800Nm – far more than the current 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel (600Nm), 2.0-litre four-cylinder biturbo diesel (500Nm) and 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo petrol found in the range-topping Ranger Raptor (583Nm).
Ford executives have confirmed a targeted electric-only driving range of at least 45km for the Ranger Plug-in Hybrid, while a newly developed heavy-duty rear suspension set-up has been developed to manage the additional weight of the lithium-ion battery pack which is located under the tub in a bespoke safety cell.
The new suspension will be joined by a reinforced rear frame, recalibrated power steering system and a bespoke tune for the internal combustion running gear to help the Ranger PHEV manage a traditional load in the tray as well as its new motive hardware.
Like other plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, the Ranger PHEV will feature vehicle-to-load (V2L) functionality – dubbed ‘Pro Power Onboard’ – which provides owners access to battery power via a pair of three-pin power points in the tray and another within the cabin.
This will allow tradies to plug in their power tools and for recreational 4×4 off-roaders and caravaners to use the three-pin sockets to support a broad range of accessories and appliances.
A maximum output for the system is yet to be confirmed but material seen by carsales during the product presentation suggest it will be good for at least 1500W.
The charging port for the battery will be located next to the fuel filler.
Speaking to Australian media at a pre-reveal event for the Ranger PHEV, Ford executives said they believed a plug-in hybrid system was the best compromise between the various forms of electrification – including 48V mild-hybrid, which is coming to the Toyota HiLux soon, and full-electric, as seen on the LDV eT60 – especially for Aussie customers.
“Our goal, as always, is to provide our customers with next to no compromise – a solution that delivers 3.5-tonne towing, impressive payload, the go-anywhere, do-anything capability that our customers expect, including remote off-road use without the dependence on charging infrastructure, and to future-proof the Ranger around the globe we need to meet ever-tightening emission regulations and comply with EU green zones,” said Ford’s global truck chief strategist Matt Reilly.
“The only technology that currently meets all of these needs is PHEV.”
Helping drivers enjoy this no-compromise package will be a suite of 10 different drive modes comprising the established Normal, Eco, Tow/Haul, Slippery, Mud/Ruts and Sand with EV Auto, EV Now, EV Later and EV Charge.
These EV-specific modes do exactly as the names suggests – autonomous switching between petrol and electric power, full-electric, battery-saving and battery-charging respectively.
Trim levels for the Ranger PHEV and pricing premiums over equivalent internal combustion variants are still to be confirmed, but the reveal images showcase a high-end Ranger Wildtrak Plug-in Hybrid.
Expect the Ranger PHEV to launch at the top end of the range, although fleets were named in the presentation as a major target audience, so a more affordable variant may be offered.
The Australian engineering and design of the Ranger is one of the ute’s greatest strengths, and the PHEV version has undergone the same development.
“All of the physical vehicle testing has been conducted in Victoria at our proving ground,” Reilly said.
“Obviously we get some support from our global engineering counterparts, but we are the lead for the engineering and all that testing has been done in Australia.”
It’s not yet clear whether the Ranger Plug-in Hybrid will be produced alongside ICE variants in Thailand, or whether it will be sourced from another factory – such as in South Africa, where the related Volkswagen Amarok is produced.
A PHEV version of the VW Amarok is also anticipated, using the same powertrain as Ranger, but there’s no confirmation yet that a plug-in hybrid version of the related Ford Everest SUV will be developed.
While there is only mild-hybrid power confirmed for HiLux at this stage, Toyota is expected to offer a battery-electric version with its next-generation ute due in a few years’ time.
Both hybrid and EV versions of the new-gen Mitsubishi Triton are also in the pipeline.
Ford says its battery-electric technology isn’t ready – or suitable – for the local ute market, so while the Ranger will be the first in class to score a PHEV system, it could be one of the last to go full-electric.
LDV has already entered that market with the eT60 and will launch an all-new replacement next year, while the electric version of the Kia Tasman is set for a 2026 global launch – two years ahead of the Triton EV due in 2028.
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