Ford Ranger plug-in hybrid undergoes extreme testing ahead of reveal date

Next generation hybrid pick-up to make global debut on 24 November

Ford has been putting its new hybrid-powered Ranger through intensive testing in extreme off-road environments ahead of its launch in 2023.

According to Ford, the heavily updated pick-up truck has covered around 6,213 miles (10,000km) of desert driving, 776,714 miles (1,250,000km) of customer driving and 388,357 miles (625,000km) of rugged off-road durability testing, all with a maximum load capacity.

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In addition, the Ranger has also undergone “thousands of hours” of computer and real-world simulations covering aerodynamics and the durability of components and structures.

The new truck will be fully revealed on 24 November via Ford’s YouTube channel but in advance the brand has revealed information on its real-world and virtual testing programme.

“It’s important that our customers are able to rely on Ranger to deliver years of dependable service,” John Willems, Ford Ranger chief program engineer, said. “So, we’ve gone to great lengths to subject next-gen Ranger to extreme tests, stressing it much more than a typical consumer would to help ensure it is ready to face everything life throws at it.

“Whether it’s tackling muddy bush tracks, coping with the rigours of extreme tropical weather, towing over alpine passes, or enduring temperatures of more than 50° Celsius, Ranger has to do it all.”

Even before the first prototypes hit the road for testing, Ford’s engineers subjected next-gen Ranger to thousands of hours of computer simulations and thousands more of real-world simulations in labs, covering everything from aerodynamics to component and structure durability.

“Computer simulations have helped us speed up development,” Willems continued, “while lab testing has helped us refine and test specific components. But there really is no replacement for real-world testing to really see how it stands up to years of customer use.”

Ford says some of the tests are deemed too rigorous for humans to endure, so computer simulations and robotics are used to replace humans in cases like the extreme ‘squeak and rattle’ rig where the pickup’s suspension and whole body is exposed to punishing test cycles that are repeated 24/7.

The new Ranger comes as part of Ford’s commitment to offer a zero-emissions-capable version of its entire commercial vehicle line-up in Europe by 2024, introducing a new plug-in hybrid powertrain option for the new Ranger.

Ford is remaining tightlipped on the Ranger's PHEV powertrain, but there’s the possibility it will be an electrified version of Ford's dependable and trusted 2.3-litre turbo petrol Ecoboost engine. The edition of electrical assistance could bump total output to around 362bhp and 502lb/ft. That would make it more powerful than any Ranger in the current range.