New Ford Bronco Hybrid Revealed By Leaked Sync Software

Illustration for article titled New Ford Bronco Hybrid Revealed By Leaked Sync Software
Photo: Ford

Ford was surprisingly cagey about the potential for an electrified version of its all-new 2021 Ford Bronco. But now, just a few days after its big reveal, a leak seems to hint that a hybrid Bronco is on the way.

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Video “discovered” by Input Magazine allegedly showing the Bronco’s Sync system and its new animated control features. One screen shows a dial reading “EV Coaching,” suggesting that, at some point, a hybrid drivetrain was or is in development for the new Bronco.

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Further comments reported from Ford CEO Jim Hackett suggest those hybrid plans could be very solid, indeed:

One of the images includes mention of “EV Coaching” with a gauge labeled charge. That’s great news for consumers itching for an electric off-roader. But worrying for companies like Rivian, that hoped to beat the big names to the punch.

Further confirmation comes from a post on Autoevolution that quotes a Ford transcript from a shareholder meeting last year where CEO Jim Hackett said, “[W]e’re adding hybrid electrics to high-volume profitable vehicles like Explorer and the new exciting Bronco.”

Update, July 20, 2020: The video of the Sync system and a screenshot from the video have been removed in response to a copyright claim from Fantasy Interactive.

Further images from the leaked video confirm the interface is for the Ford Bronco model, not the Ford Bronco Sport. Ford has declined to outright confirm an electrified powertrain despite the leaked video, according to the statement Motor1 got:

“We’re excited by the interest in the all-new Bronco’s digital gauges and look forward to sharing more information later. As we announced Monday, the 2.3-liter and 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine lineup is best suited to support customers’ off-roading needs,” Ford spokesperson Sam Schembari told us.

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It would seem that Ford would like to stick the current (and very popular) narrative of the off-roading Bronco, and focus on traditional enthusiast features, like the manual transmission, removable roof, etc., on launch.

Maybe Ford’s planning to save the more sobering news for later, when the messaging can be focused on either street performance or efficiency, I’m guessing. The hybrid serves as a suitable answer to “What’s next for Bronco?” after a solid year or two of sales, and maybe some complaints about fuel economy.

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Ford has a few new hybrid systems kicking around the Ranger and F-150, so it’s not too surprising for the parts to end up on the Bronco eventually, too.

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DISCUSSION

I get the idea behind not wanting to “dilute” the roll out with too much stuff, and holding a little back for the next model year or two isn’t a bad idea (unless you’re Toyota and it’s the Supra), but I think they’re missing out.

If I could know for certain that a hybrid version of this was coming out in 2021 as a 2022 MY, and was going to be competitive with the RAV4/CRV, I’d convince the missus to hang on to the Yaris for one more year. It’s 13 now, what’s another year? But instead, we’ll go get the Toyota hybrid next week.