Ask Nathan: Plug In Hybrid Ford Bronco, Groovy Electric Car, and Posting Negative Comments?

With the Ford Bronco Raptor coming, could a Plug in Hybrid Ford Bronco be far behind? (Image: TFLcar)

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • Will we get a plug in hybrid Ford Bronco>?
  • Help a brother get a groovy electric car?
  • Why do you post negative comments?
Bronco Raptor (Image: Bronco Nation)

The first question comes from a fan who wants to know if we will get a PHEV/plug-in hybrid Ford Bronco soon.

Q: (via Twitter @NathanAdlen) I was thinking that a plug in hybrid Ford Bronco makes sense.

(Paraphrased and edited) Not that I’m a fan of Ford’s quality with all the issues I had with my 2019 F-150 but I am still a Ford guy. After seeing all of your footage with the Bronco I was thinking about getting one. I was thinking that the mileage is terrible in a Bronco and that the Jeep Wrangler 4xe plug in is much more efficient. So if Ford wants to compete they need a plug in hybrid Ford Bronco too.

Does that make sense to you and Roman? You guys have owned a Bronco for a while and I trust your point of view. You also seemed to like driving the Jeep Wrangler 4xe.

— Zero-Zed

This is the European-spec Ford Explorer PHEV. Could this powertrain underpin a future Bronco PHEV? (Image: Ford)

A: We all agree that a PHEV/plug in hybrid Ford Bronco makes a ton of sense.

After living with the Bronco, we agree that it’s a lovable, capable brute. Unfortunately, it’s not exactly what I would call efficient. According to the EPA, the best a 2-door Ford Bronco can muster is 21 mpg combined. That’s both an automatic 10-speed and 7-speed manual’s rating.

Now, the at first blush, the Jeep Wrangler 4xe may not seem impressive on a gas-only combined mpg. It’s rated at 20 mpg combined; however, when you combine its battery-electric power with the gas engine, it’s rated at 49 mpg-e by the EPA.

I was able to drive it several miles using only electric power. If I had a light commute, say less than 20 miles per day, I could run the whole thing without using gas. Considering how inefficient the aerodynamic and mechanical drag is; the Wrangler 4xe surprises in many ways.

How can Ford compete? Ford already has a powerful PHEV powertrain that the Bronco could use. The (European) Explorer PHEV uses a 13.1-kWh lithium-ion battery, which allows it to run up to 25 miles (European cycle) on purely electric power. Ford has a 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 gas engine makes 350 horsepower, AND an electric motor that makes 100 hp. Bottom line, the Explorer PHEV is expected to make up to 450 hp and 620 lbs-feet of torque.

That would make the Bronco a powerhouse!

Recently, a few outlets caught a glimpse of what appears to be a Ford Bronco PHEV. It has a covered section that looks like it’s where a plug would be used. We’re also hearing a lot of chatter about a possible Ford Ranger PHEV. If that’s the case, it’s worth considering that the Bronco and Ranger share a similar platform and components.

There are only a few downsides:

Using (mildly) educated guessing, I foresee a few issues…

  • Price: It will be expensive, and I’m not even counting ridiculous dealer markups (which are common for Broncos). Based on other PHEV and hybrid options in the market, seeing an option charge consisting of $3,000 to $4,000 is logical.
  • Weight: The Wrangler 4xe carries an additional 800-lbs. On top of that, Jeep designers had no choice but to use the heavier 4-door platform for battery storage. I would imagine that Ford designers may have the same dilemma. Still, spy images of a prototype look like they may have space in the two-door version.
  • Availability: If you think waiting on your limited edition Ford Bronco was time consuming before, this higher-tech version may prove taxing. The potential wait could be lengthy.
  • Keep this in mind: All of this is conjecture. Ford has made no official announcements on any hybrid version of the Ford Bronco. Heck, we haven’t heard anything about the Ford Bronco Sport getting the hybrid/PHEV treatment either. With that in mind, we may have to wait a year or two before we get some sort of confirmation.

Back in November 2021, caught some images of what looks like a two-door Ford Bronco with a hidden plug-in hatch.

We will keep a close eye on developments – promise!

— N

The next question comes from a fan who wants a groovy van – and he might get his wish sooner than he thinks!

Q: (Paraphrased from my old friend from school’s text) N-APE! Brah, is there something on the horizon that is not as soulless as a Tesla?

I want something with a good mojo that doesn’t make me look like a corporate lackey. It has to have some soul, and feeds a spoonful of groovy to my cockle-filled heart. Slap me some good nachas, my simian-like brother!

(Yes, he talks like this..)

— M#3S

This is the shape of the upcoming Volkswagen ID.Buzz – all-electric minihippy-van (Image: Volkswagen)

A: First: you text like a middle school punk; despite receiving correspondence from AARP.

Still, I can dig what you’re laying down.

I have great news for you, Volkswagen may have you covered. JUST announced: the Volkswagen ID.Buzz will be revealed on March 9, 2022 – which is two months from now. While we don’t have any specifications, we do know that VW has every intention to release an all-wheel drive version of the van, and will (most likely) target a 300 mile range. If their ID4 is any indication about power and range, the AWD ID4 makes 295 horsepower, so this electrified hippy van may make the same power.

The above image looks a lot like the concept we saw at the 2017 NAIAS in Detroit, MI. The front end deign is less future-tech, but the rest looks pretty damn close. As for the interior? Well, we know it’s flexible enough, and durable enough for a delivery version so…

The only other spunky, “groovy” EV rides I would suggest would be the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Mini EV, but that won’t work for you. You see, my hip friend – I know that you’re life revolves around several kids, dogs and (rarely ridden) mountain bikes. You need something with more space.

Actually, I kind of dig it.

— N

The last question comes from a fan who wants to know why I include negative comments to this weekly post.

You know there’s no reason to give trolls their spotlight on your post right? Nathan, just ignore them and they will scurry away like roaches!

You guys are already rock stars and you can totally ignore these jerks. I’ve seen you post some nasty and stupid comments in the past. Somehow you manage to answer their criticism with very little sarcasm. I don’t get how you can do it. Maybe it’s some form of passive aggressive responding exercise?

My point is that if you give them a platform to spew garbage, they will keep coming back. I have met you and Roman a few times now. I think the last time was at SEMA in 2017, and you were the nicest most genuine guys out there. So I guess I’m mad at some of these foolish viewers who trash you without knowing you. You know what I mean?

Any who, just keep up the great entertainment and please don’t take any of these trolls seriously. They can totally——————————————- and watch some other channel!


— C. Peralta

This Honda Passport TrailSport video got plenty of comments – and I used a few weeks back.

A: Thanks for that great email!

I get your point of view; however, there is another way to look at it (from my perspective). I would say that between 85-95-percent of the comments are either positive, or constructive criticism. We occasionally get nasty messages and comments that aren’t worth responding to. Then, there’s those comments and observations that I use as examples.

Rather than just bash their point of view, I truly try to see where they’re coming from. Sometimes it’s a cry for help, a moment of weakness, envy – or sheer stupidity. If it looks valid, and if the vibe is right – I’ll take a stab at it.

There were a few times where I posted comments that I regretted later on; exactly for the reason you mentioned – it gave haters a platform. Since the first “Ask Nathan” post popped up on (nearly a decade back), I tried to include folks who have something to say.

I want to show both sides to readers. This is a community filled with different opinions, and I am pleased that there is more than just accolades floating around the net.

Thanks again for the email!

— N

Our seven YouTube channels get thousands of comments daily. As such, we can only answer a few. It’s a challenge.