Ford says it’s unlikely to release a fully battery electric vehicle (BEV) version of the new-generation Ranger Raptor T6.2 in the near future, opting to keep the electrified version for more mundane Ranger grades like the Wildtrak and Sport.
While hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and BEV models have been confirmed to be in development or under consideration for the regular new-generation Ranger and Everest series, a Ford engineer revealed that the size and weight aspects of the BEV carry too many limitations that clash with the basic ethos of the Raptor version. .
The result would detract from much of what Ford Performance was trying to achieve in the Ranger Raptor, with the BEV version range, performance, handling, off-road capability, towing capacity, stability and safety all compromised.
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The main culprit is weight, as the BEV battery pack adds a few hundred extra pounds to a truck that can normally weigh more than two tons.
The outgoing Ranger Raptor, for example, already shows the scales at 2342kg (kerb); with future replacements expected to be heavier due to their extra weight, adding BEV technology could see the scales break the 3000kg mark.
In a weekend workhorse/toy like the Ranger Wildtrak, the numbers may not be insurmountable; but in a high-performance truck like the T6.2 Raptor, all those extra kilos dull performance and efficiency, flying ahead of Ford Performance vehicles.
Then there is the question of packaging and weight distribution within the existing T6.2 chassis frame, as it is designed to use the internal combustion engine (ICE) at the front, leaving the rear of the vehicle – and more specifically above the chassis rails but under the load body – as the only place to carry a heavy, bulky battery pack.
This means that using a BEV carries three more major disadvantages: first, the battery pack reduces physical load capacity; second, drastically cutting the Raptor’s towing capacity, significantly limiting its appeal to those with trailers and caravans; and third, increasing the center of gravity, disrupting dynamic balance and placing exponentially greater stress and wear on the suspension, brakes, steering, motor, wheels, tires and safety systems. Remember, Raptors are meant to be fast off-road rally machines.
Of course, other pure BEV trucks like the Rivian R1T use a so-called skateboard platform with the battery pack neatly integrated at the bottom in a lightweight chassis superstructure, avoiding most of the above-mentioned compromises while providing additional structural rigidity that helps improve dynamic performance.
Another BEV characteristic that will spoil the Raptor experience is how all that extra weight and higher center of gravity will adversely impact off-road performance, limiting its ability to traverse rough terrain compared to its ICE equivalent. It’s not clear if Ford would even recommend reaching speeds in the air that the new 292kW/583Nm 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 petrol version can manage. And it’s safe to assume wading through the river in the BEV isn’t possible either.
Additionally, the electric motor has to work harder, chew up more electricity, and thus reduce range, which in turn reduces the actual distance the Raptor BEV can travel before it needs to be recharged. And, of course, finding a DC charger in an isolated wilderness can be difficult or nearly impossible in many countries. Early reports from North America suggest that the real-world range for the F-150 Lightning EV towing a large trailer is a fraction of the US EPA’s official claim (514km).
That all said, hydrogen-powered EVs known as fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) that eliminate heavy battery packs should eliminate most of these problems in one step, as weight, packaging, mass distribution, and charging issues are then largely eliminated.
However, even FCEV technology is years away from becoming a commercial reality in lifestyle pick-up trucks, and will likely cost more than BEV technology, so don’t hold your breath on that one.
So while the Ranger BEV could still make sense to most buyers, the hardcore Raptor version is likely to be more difficult with the same technology. It seems Ford agrees, so expect to see the Ranger Raptor eventually adopt an electrified hybrid and/or plug-in hybrid combined with a large V6 petrol engine instead.
When will that happen? Nothing to say, but stay tuned because we’ll let you know as soon as we do.