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Ford Mustang to go hybrid

Pony up: Ford has confirmed a hybrid version of its Mustang among 13 new electrified models due by 2020.

Mustang hybrid to get more torque than Ford's V8 Mustang GT in electric push

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Ford logo4 Jan 2017

FORD’S iconic Mustang is set to get a hybrid version with more torque than the current V8 Mustang GT as part of a 13-model, $US4.5 billion ($A6.23b) electrification push announced in Detroit by president and CEO Mark Fields.

The petrol-electric sportscar is on the agenda for Australia where the local Blue Oval subsidiary has told GoAuto that the new variant would give the company a fresh showcase for Ford’s latest technology.

Also in the pipeline for global markets – presumably including Australia – is a full-electric small SUV with a range of “at least 300 miles” (482km).

An autonomous hybrid vehicle designed specifically for ride-sharing duties is also coming from Ford within the next five years, along with hybrid versions of the Transit van for Europe and F-150 pick-up for the United States and Middle East.

Ford says it is concentrating on electrifying its most popular, high-volume commercial vehicles, trucks, SUVs and performance vehicles “to make them even more capable, productive and fun to drive”.

The North American company has been comparatively slow to the electric vehicle and hybrid market, especially in Australia where it offers no such variants.

Mr Fields’ overnight announcement suggests Ford has decided that the time is right to get on with electric and hybrid new models, joining the rush to have such products ready by 2020 when other major companies such as Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz are set to jump head-long into plug-in vehicles.

“As more and more consumers around the world become interested in electrified vehicles, Ford is committed to being a leader in providing consumers with a broad range of electrified vehicles, services and solutions that make people’s lives better,” he said.

“Our investments and expanding line-up reflect our view that global offerings of electrified vehicles will exceed gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 15 years.” Ford Australia product communications manager Damion Smy stopped short of confirming these products for Australia, but said they would be considered.

He said the Mustang hybrid would provide an opportunity to showcase Ford’s latest technology while offering fuel economy gains over the conventional Mustang.

While power, performance and fuel economy figures have yet to be announced for the hybrid Mustang, Ford has promised it will have the same power but more torque than the 306kW/530Nm 5.0-litre V8 Mustang GT.

Ford has indicated it is working on hybrids that link electric motors with its EcoBoost turbocharged engines, raising the possibility that the Mustang’s acclaimed 2.3-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder engine might be set to get an electric boost.

Mr Smy suggested Ford’s planned full-electric EV SUV might take longer to get to Australia, saying that Australia’s lack of charging infrastructure currently worked against such products.

However, he said that as electric vehicles came on stream globally, the opportunity to incorporate them in the Australian line-up would be there.

“With the increased prevalence of EVs, there will be the opportunity for us to get them into showrooms,” he said.

The hybrid Mustang will be built alongside the combustion-powered Mustang at the Flat Rock plant in Michigan where Ford says it will invest $US700 million ($A970m) and create 700 new jobs to cater for electrified vehicles.

The investment comes at the expense of a $1.6 billion (A2.2b) plant in Mexico that has been cancelled in wake of US president elect Donald Trump’s threat to introduce tariffs on cars imported from Mexico into America (see separate story).

So far, Ford has detailed seven of the planned 13 electrified vehicles: - An all-new fully-electric small SUV, coming by 2020, engineered to deliver an estimated range of at least 300 miles (482km), to be built at the Flat Rock plant and sold in North America, Europe and Asia.

- A high-volume autonomous vehicle designed for commercial ride hailing or ride sharing, starting in North America. The hybrid vehicle will debut in 2021 and will be built at the Flat Rock plant.

- A hybrid version of the best-selling F-150 pick-up available by 2020 and sold in North America and the Middle East. It will offer powerful towing and payload capacity and operate as a mobile generator.

- A hybrid version of the iconic Mustang that will deliver V8 power and even more low-end torque. The Mustang hybrid, built at the Flat Rock Plant, debuts in 2020 and will be available in the North America to start.

- A Transit Custom plug-in hybrid available in 2019 in Europe, engineered to help reduce operating costs and emissions in even the most congested streets.

- Two new, pursuit-rated hybrid police vehicles. One of the two new hybrid police vehicles will be built in Chicago.

- Apart from confirming the EV program, Ford also has foreshadowed autonomous vehicles and wireless charging technologies.

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