Battery bakkies in Ford's future

Ford Ranger

Commercial vehicles at Ford are going to be battery-driven soon after a recent electrification announcement.

Like many of its rivals, Ford is realizing that its future vehicle portfolio must electrify. The American automotive company, which markets the world’s most popular vehicle – its F-150 bakkie – has announced sweeping changes to its business. Most of these strategic inputs will focus on transforming Ford’s product portfolio into one which only markets electric and hybrid vehicles, in future.

Ford has announced some very ambitious dates to achieve its objectives. The first date is 2026, by which Ford wants its European division to only sell electric passenger vehicles.

A crucial asset in Ford’s aim to achieve this will be the modernisation of its Cologne assembly plant in Germany. With a highly-skilled labour force and access to Europe’s most stable and established technology supply chain, Ford is spending R15bn on making the Cologne plant better – which is interestingly, a similar amount to what is currently being invested in the company’s South African facility at Tshwane.

The Cologne factory will produce Ford’s first high-volume all-electric vehicle, due to launch in 2023. With South Africa sourcing precious little Ford passenger car product from Europe the likelihood of this electric passenger car being offered on sale locally, is very low.

What is a lot more important about Ford’s new business announcement, for South Africans, is the expectations for its commercial vehicle division, which includes bakkies. Europe is a significant export market for South African built Rangers and Ford wants its entire van and bakkie portfolio there to be either electric of hybrid by 2024.

The expectation is that 66% of Ford commercial vehicle sales will be full electric or hybrid by 2030, although that would require an enormous market shift in America and South Africa, regarding F-Series and Ranger powertrains options.

Decoding this latest shift in commercial vehicle strategy from Ford, it seems all but a done deal, that the next generation Ranger, will offer a hybrid powertrain of some sort.

Further Reading

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Ford Ranger FX4 (2021) Price in SA

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