Even though it’s been nearly a month since its reveal, there’s still palpable buzz around the upcoming Ford Bronco. Specifically, we’re seeing intense discussion and some visual indication of how the Blue Oval plans to take on the Jeep Wrangler. Not just in terms of off-road capability, but also in terms of future-proofing the brand as automakers aim to electrify their lineups.
The Jeep Wrangler has its 4xe plug-in hybrid variant coming, but what about the Bronco? Current Ford CEO Jim Hackett did discuss the company’s electrification plan, including rolling out more than a dozen battery-electric vehicles and hybrid-electric variants of its most popular models. The brand new Ford Bronco would hit both marks in expanding the hybrid portfolio and offering buyers a direct, tit for tat response to the Wrangler 4xe.
Now, we have new information suggesting exactly how the Bronco Hybrid will take shape. Reports to date have suggested the body-on-frame SUV will borrow hybrid powertrain components from either the F-150 or Explorer Hybrid. According to our source, those earlier reports are broadly accurate.
We reached out to Ford for comment, and a company spokesperson replied that they do not comment on future product. That is typical for these sorts of stories, so we will have to wait and see whether time and Ford’s own development teams flesh out this information with an actual vehicle.
Here’s how a Bronco Hybrid could work
As it stands, the Ford Bronco Hybrid will use the company’s new modular hybrid transmission. It’s the same 10-speed unit mated with an electric motor that Ford currently employs in the Explorer Hybrid as well as the Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring, and will use in the F-150 Hybrid. Note that this is a “modular” transmission, which means that the gasoline engine bolted to it could vary from vehicle to vehicle. That is the case with the Bronco Hybrid which is currently in development.
While the Explorer Hybrid uses a 3.3-liter V6 engine and the F-150 Hybrid uses a 3.5-liter powertrain, the Bronco Hybrid will reportedly go a different route. Our information suggests the SUV will use a 3.0-liter V6 engine. The twin-turbo EcoBoost unit currently sees service in the Ford Explorer ST and the Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring, with the latter seeing up to 494 horsepower. On its own, the engine produces 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque in both those cars.
Could a Bronco Hybrid make more than 450 horsepower?
To be clear, our source did not mention specific output, or any further figures beyond the engine’s displacement. We are not suggesting that the Bronco will have Aviator levels of power, based on the information w e currently have. Both the Explorer and F-150 Hybrid models use a 35-kW (47 horsepower) electric motor sandwiched into the 10-speed automatic transmission, and it’s likely the Ford Bronco Hybrid will do the same. The Explorer Hybrid manages 318 horsepower and 322 lb-ft of torque the way it’s configured, while we could expect a decent power bump from a more powerful engine.
Mind you, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon that’s currently in development manages 450 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque. We don’t have an idea how the plug-in hybrid Wrangler 4xe will manage yet, but a 400 horsepower V6 and 47 horsepower electric motor would put the Bronco Hybrid in the same ballpark for best-in-class power.
There is currently one catch
Unfortunately, it may be awhile before we actually see a Ford Bronco Hybrid. Our source also stated that the model has been delayed. That’s hardly a surprising outcome given the current global situation and the explosive demand for the gasoline-powered Bronco. However, the electrified version may not see daylight until the 2022 model year. Before that, we may see Ford’s official unveiling in 2021.
Our source also disclosed more information on a Ford Maverick Hybrid pickup as well. Check out the video below and stay tuned to TFLtruck.com for more details.
Right now, the 2021 Ford Bronco is available to reserve with two gasoline engines. The lower trims have a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder shared with the Ranger pickup, that produces 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. A larger 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 is also available with 310 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. More on the earlier available Bronco below: