Ford admits it will need to educate Australians on the benefits of plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) ahead of the arrival of its all-new Ranger PHEV variant.
The blue oval brand recently revealed its plans to add the new model to the range by early 2025, which will combine a 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with a small electric motor and battery system. The battery will be big enough to provide the Ranger ute up 45km of driving range on electric power, at which point the petrol engine will be used to help generate more charge for the battery.
PHEVs have split opinion in the car industry, with some brands arguing they are the best of both worlds as they provide some zero emissions motoring as well as the range of a conventional petrol or diesel car. Others, though, dismiss PHEVs as a so-called ‘bridging technology' between conventional petrol and diesel powered cars and full battery electric vehicles (BEV), and one that has arguably been passed by modern, long-range BEVs.
Ford is obviously in the former camp, with local CEO and president Andrew Birkic adamant that PHEV is the right solution for Ranger buyers. However, he does admit that the company will need to educate would-be buyers on the benefits of a PHEV and the best way to use them.
“It's a really, really interesting point,” Birkic told Torquecafe. “If you look at the data clearly BEV has taken off at a rate of knots and there's just not the breadth of PHEV cars in the market to do that. But I think there's an opportunity for a greater education program.
“Yes, we've heard stories of people charging them once and then they just use the ICE. It's going to come down to each individual person and as the education around this increases I think you're going to see a shift.
“At the end of the day, yes we have great emotional vehicles, but we think we're a practical, down-to-earth brand. If you look at the trucks we sell, we sell to the agricultural sector, to fleets that work in forestry, tradies. We are a pretty practical brand.”
Ford hasn't confirmed final specifications for the Ranger PHEV but has confirmed it will have the same maximum braked towing capacity as the rest of the range (3500kg) and will feature Pro Power Onboard; power outlets that will allow owners to power small appliances and tools from household outlets.