2021 Ford Bronco Hybrid Is Definitely Happening, Rivals Jeep Wrangler PHEV

2021 Ford Bronco Hybrid confirmation 1 photo
Photo: Ford
Following a number of reports that have popped up on social media and enthusiast forums over the weekend, it’s important to highlight that they’re true. The Bronco Hybrid will indeed happen, and the transcript from the Ford Motor Company's Annual Meeting of Shareholders from May 2019 confirms the recently resurfaced powertrain option.
Electric Vehicle Web is “expecting details to be spelled out on the Bronco Hybrid during the unveil” on July 13th, without explaining from where this hunch originates. Now let's move to a year-old quote from Jim Hackett.

“We're adding hybrid electrics to high-volume profitable vehicles like Explorer and the new exciting Bronco,”
said the head honcho at the meeting. “We're also setting the stage for a BEV rollout in 2020 and 16 BEVs by 2022.”

You can read the transcript at your own leisure as a PDF at the end of this story, and having validated the said reports, it's time we delve into the Bronco Hybrid. The first question is, why does Ford need a hybridized off-roader?

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles confirmed two years ago at the Capital Markets Day conference that every model will be electrified, including the Wrangler. A plug-in hybrid powertrain – marketed 4xe for the Renegade and Compass – will roll out in the first instance. However, “the most capable Jeep ever” will be the Wrangler Rubicon EV according to global president Christian Meunier.

It’s hard to tell if the Blue Oval planned to hybridize the Bronco before this announcement, but it’s obvious that Ford didn’t want the JL and JLU to carve out a niche of their own. As such, it’s possible that development has started in 2018 immediately after the Capital Markets Day event.

The second question that must be answered is, will it be a hybrid or a plug-in hybrid? With all due respect, chances are it’s the latter configuration.

The 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 is rumored as the next level up from the 2.3 in the Bronco, and more recently, hearsay suggests that Ford will actually use the 3.0-liter engine. The twin-turbo V6 PHEV has already debuted in the Explorer Plug-In Hybrid as well as the Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring.

From 3.0 liters of displacement and an e-motor, the Explorer develops 444 horsepower and 620 pound-feet of torque (450 PS and 840 Nm). The Aviator features different numbers to set itself apart from the Ford-badged sibling, namely 494 horsepower and 630 pound-feet of torque (501 PS and 854 Nm).

Another difference is the capacity of the lithium-ion battery – 13.1 kWh for the Explorer and 13.6 for the Aviator. However, there is an “unknown variable” that needs to be highlighted, only a rumor for the time being.

Citing “confidential plans,” Car Expert reported last month that the next Ranger is getting a plug-in hybrid EcoBoost centered around the 2.3-liter engine. Because the mid-sized pickup truck and Bronco are joined at the hip, the four-cylinder turbo should be taken into consideration as well.
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 Download: Ford Annual Meeting 2019 transcript (PDF)

About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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