This Ford Ranger has a greater payload capacity than an F-350.
Ford recently filed a patent for adding a third axle to its pickup trucks, but it appears to have been beaten to the punch by the British automotive componentry manufacturer Ricardo, which manufactures the dual-clutch automatic gearboxes for the Aston Martin Valkyrie and Bugatti Chiron.
Ricardo recently unveiled a 6x6 conversion for the 2024 Ford Ranger. It's called the Ranger HEX 6x6, and it's driven by an all-new hybrid powertrain. This news also follows in the footsteps of Ford introducing its own version of the Ranger hybrid based around the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine.
The Ricardo Ranger is powered by Ford's 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 diesel, not available in the USA. It produces 249 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque from 1,750 rpm. This engine powers the traditional four axles, while the third axle is driven by a Ford-sourced 282 hp electric motor. If it's the same electric motor used in the base Mustang Mach-E, it should provide roughly 320 lb-ft.
With an extra driven axle and an abundance of electric torque, the Ranger HEX 6x6 can haul a payload of 8,378 pounds, beating even the F-350.
This system is so innovative because it requires minimal work to the donor Ranger. According to Ricardo, it was "conceived as an overlay bolt-on system that does not require any alteration of the Ford Ranger base vehicle." That means the Ranger retains its robustness, and the system can be removed and reinstalled on a new vehicle, which is perfect for fleet operations.
The electric drive unit is fully self-contained. It comes standard with regenerative braking, and the owner can choose how large they want the battery to be. All high-voltage components are contained within a robust enclosure to make removal and maintenance easier.
The HEX comes standard with a lightweight, non-independent De Dion rear suspension design. Ricardo says it's tough, light, and provides better traction. In addition, the De Dion arrangement also allows the suspension and drive units to be decoupled to make the vehicle more efficient.
A De Dion setup can also be run as a dead axle, so you can order this Ranger 6x6 without the electric drive unit. In this case, you get a 6x4, which only makes sense if you want a larger payload.
Here in America, you'd upgrade to a Super Duty, but in the UK, where these models aren't available, a 6x4 Ranger with a "lazy axle" is the next best thing.
"We're delighted with this latest conversion. The HEX benefits from an existing, proven automotive platform, with added engineering and software-enabled features, offering customers a robust, fit-for-purpose solution that is flexible, durable, and doesn't lose any of the characteristics needed to perform in the toughest of environments," said Paul Tarry, Head of Special Vehicles at Ricardo. "The addition of a hybrid electric drivetrain means that this vehicle is helping to fulfill clients' sustainability objectives, allowing the benefits of future mobility, without loss of performance, and as an added advantage we are able to preserve the existing warranty on the base vehicle."
Ricardo did not provide a price nor where it would export the vehicle to. We're guessing it's going to be cheaper than a Hennessey VelociRaptoR 6x6. Considering the diesel engine and the existence of Super Duty models, we're guessing it's not coming to the USA.