Patent

We Could Be Seeing A Hybrid Version Of The Ford Explorer As Soon As 2018

Still no word on when the hybrid Mustang will be out to infuriate purists.

Ever since Ford announced its massive policy shift to become a purveyor of sustainable transportation and go beyond the role of an automaker, the world has been awaiting the ultimate canary in the coal mine, a hybrid Mustang, to signal that the inevitable was coming. Along with the Mustang, Ford has announced that a dual gasoline and electric powertrain was coming to the F-150 pickup truck, but it’s a patent found by Autocar that raises eyebrows this time because it could signal the beginning of the era of change.

The trademark filing in question details how the “Energi” moniker will make it to the Europe only Ford Kuga, the Transit, and the Explorer. While Ford does sell the Transit and Explorer in the US, the UK Kuga comes to America in the form of the Ford Escape. It’s unclear whether or not Energi variants will make it to America, but given the trend outlined by Ford CEO Mark Field’s vision for the company, we’d certainly expect that to be so. The trademark gives no timeline outlining when the vehicles will make it to market, but given that the hybrid F-150, Mustang, and a standalone electric SUV are slated for a 2020 release, it’s not implausible to expect these electrified cars to come to the UK and possibly the US before that.

At current, the Explorer is six years old, right on the cusp of a car’s typical point of obsolescence when automakers are finalizing design and production logistics for the follow-up model. The brand new Explorer would be the perfect point for Ford to jump into the hybrid game, and given that the Transit and Escape are four and five years old respectively, Energi-badged hybrid variants of those could follow. To further wring out some fuel economy, Ford will be one of the first automakers to mate its downsized and turbocharged EcoBoost engines with hybrid drivetrains, a trend that’s all but certain to begin with the upcoming hybrid push.

Once the all-electric Ford SUV is out packing 300 miles of range per charge, fully electric versions of the Transit, Explorer, and Escape would be wise models to bet on. Still no mention on whether or not Ford will commit the ultimate act of sacrilege: building an all-electric Mustang.

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