Ford, Are You Subtly Trying to Kill Off the Electrified Mid-Size Pickup Truck Sector?

The first-ever electrified Ford Ranger, a PHEV version, was recently unveiled for Europe. Now, a new report states that it won't be coming to America! Dear Ford Motor Company, seriously, are you kidding me?!
Ford Ranger PHEV vs Tacoma i-Force Max 10 photos
Photo: Ford / Toyota
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I sure hope so it's just another mix-up involving the human element – kind of like what happens with the recently launched Volkswagen Tiguan. The latter was introduced, of course, for the European market first, and news outlets hurried to find out if it would come to the United States, too. According to various reports citing Ford spokespersons, it won't.

But there's a catch because the FoMoCo managers acknowledged the previous rumors that America might get China's Tayron with just the model name's rebranding. However, that's not the case, as the company issued a media advisory clearly stating that the US version will be based on the long-wheelbase Tiguan model slated to arrive early next year.

Anyway, back to their partners at Ford, we all know the two companies have shared the costs of making the latest Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok mid-size pickup trucks. The former is Europe's most successful workhorse, so the VW Amarok is obviously benefiting from the hype. As such, it is no wonder that Ford is the first brand to introduce an electrified version of their common vehicle.

Dubbed as the 2024 or 2025 Ford Ranger Plug-in Hybrid, this is the same T6.2 Ranger customers have already fallen in love with – only with inaugural electric assistance and an optional Pro Power Onboard. It's going to be easy to plug into the mains the new Ranger PHEV; just be sure to check the port first because Ford went against the current and placed both the fuel cap and the recharge port on the same (left) side of the truck.

That's just one of the interesting things about the Ranger Plug-in Hybrid going into production late next year for early 2025 deliveries. The other is that Ford promises it will have more torque than any other Ranger even though it uses the base 2.3-liter EcoBoost gasoline engine, and there are also Ranger diesels and the mighty Ranger Raptor in the lineup. However, of course, we do not yet know all the technical specifications – other than the 45 km/28-mile EV range and the maximum braked towing capacity of 3,500 kg (7,716 lbs), the same as any other Ranger.

Ford Ranger PHEV vs Tacoma i\-Force Max
Photo: Ford
Unsurprisingly, Ford chose to introduce the Ranger PHEV in Europe first, even though it's not produced locally. In fact, it's assembled everywhere else but on the Old Continent – with manufacturing locations in Thailand, South Africa, Argentina, Vietnam, China, and also the United States for the North American version. So, I am genuinely astonished to hear about Car and Driver's recent report that Ford won't bring the Ranger PHEV to the US.

Apparently, the motivation is that Ford already has enough electrified offerings there – namely, the full-size F-150 PowerBoost (hybrid) and Lightning (fully electric). Now, if that's true – and it remains to be seen until 2025 – my only question is: "Ford, are you freaking kidding me?" A related, rhetorical one would be: "Hey, FoMoCo, are you trying to kill the electrified mid-size pickup truck segment?" My conundrum is simple, though, and based on Ford Ranger's lackluster performance across the US market.

During the first six months of the year, Toyota's Tacoma – unsurprisingly – remained both king and queen of the sector even though everyone and their mother knew that the N400 all-new 2024 Tacoma was coming out this year. The Japanese automaker copiously dominated the segment with almost 117k deliveries. At the same time, the second-placed Nissan Frontier only got a little over 34k units to its name, followed by the unibody Honda Ridgeline, Jeep Gladiator, and only after them by the Ford Ranger. Only the GMC Canyon sits between the Blue Oval and the shameful last place in the sector, by the way.

Now, the equation is simple – can Ford turn the tide in America when considering the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon plus Toyota Tacoma are brand new, and Jeep recently updated the Gladiator? Most likely, it could easily fight for second place with the Frontier and the rest of the pursuing pack because the T6.2 Ranger is a lot more compelling and competitive than the outgoing model. Plus, it also rocks the mighty Ford Ranger Raptor with an EcoBoost V6 shared with the Ford Bronco Raptor.

But, in my opinion, it wouldn't stand that much in the mid-size pickup truck crowd – simply because the already excellent Toyota Tacoma now has another ace up its sleeve, the 326-horsepower i-Force Max hybrid powertrain. And they could easily upgrade from the four-pot to a Sequoia or Tundra i-Force Max level with the V6 and 437 horsepower to show the Ranger Raptor who's boss! As such, Ford would benefit significantly from offering an electrified Ranger PHEV that is competitively priced in the same ballpark as the Tacoma i-Force Max. That way, it would be even better because it's a plug-in, not just a hybrid. And it also wouldn't step on the toes of the F-150 versions because one is a regular hybrid and the other an all-electric Lightning.

Well, there's also one scenario that could be worth exploring if Ford is adamant about making the Ranger PHEV a forbidden fruit in America – maybe they are contemplating the option of making the F-150 a plug-in hybrid! Overall, I hope the report turns out to be bogus – and Ford doesn't swim against the great opportunity of dropping a PHEV Ranger on top of Tacoma's hybrid ethos!

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About the author: Aurel Niculescu
Aurel Niculescu profile photo

Aurel has aimed high all his life (literally, at 16 he was flying gliders all by himself) so in 2006 he switched careers and got hired as a writer at his favorite magazine. Since then, his work has been published both by print and online outlets, most recently right here, on autoevolution.
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