Ford is planning to introduce a petrol plug-in hybrid option for the Ford Ranger ute in Australia by late next year or early 2025. This will make the Ranger the second plug-in hybrid vehicle in the segment, following an upcoming ute from BYD. Despite predictions that plug-in hybrids would serve as a stepping stone to fully electric vehicles, they have been slow to gain popularity among Australian car buyers. Plug-in hybrids accounted for just 0.7% of new car sales in Australia so far this year. In contrast, hybrid cars and electric cars combined accounted for around 15% of sales.
Ford executives believe that the plug-in hybrid technology could find favor among customers who use power tools or need electrical support while camping. The Ford Ranger PHEV offers a maximum driving range of 45km on battery power alone and over 600km with the petrol engine in ideal conditions. Ford says that 48% of Ranger owners travel less than 40km a day, which is within the electric-only driving range of the plug-in hybrid. The suspension has been upgraded to ensure payload is not compromised by the added weight of the plug-in hybrid technology.
The price for the plug-in hybrid variant has not been announced yet, but it is expected to be higher than the equivalent diesel models. The plug-in hybrid Ford Rangers are likely to be sourced from South Africa, which attracts a 5% import tariff, unlike the Thai-sourced Ford Rangers which are exempt from import tariffs due to the Free Trade Agreement with Australia. The Ford Ranger plug-in hybrid will feature three hybrid modes: Automatic, Now, and Later. It will also have three 10-amp household power sockets – two in the ute tray and one in the cabin – for power tools, camping equipment, and running appliances such as fridges or laptops.
Overall, the introduction of a petrol plug-in hybrid option for the Ford Ranger is an important step towards electrification in the ute segment, offering a greener alternative while still meeting the needs of customers who require longer driving ranges and additional power for various applications.