Ford Motor Co. is pushing forward with plans to bring 13 new electrified Ford car and truck models, including a hybrid version of the Ford F-150 pickup truck, to the market over the next five years.
It is already testing the hybrid version of the truck near Ford’s headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., and from the look of these photos, a rechargeable, plug-in version of the F-150 could be coming.
Previous photos have revealed the hybrid system has long been in the works, and a plug-in may also be based on the charge point seen through the camouflage, suggesting a Ford Energi model, a version that will be able to run some distance just on electricity.
A noticeable difference on this mule is that it appears to have a narrower track width then the current F-150. In 2014, Ford showed off a modified Fusion lightweight concept that featured narrower tires, and that’s what we could be seeing here. We also could be seeing narrower axles.
This particular F-150 Hybrid mule was using a four-cylinder engine, rather than a V6, to team with the electric powertrain based on the sound of the prototype. Being able to function at low speeds on electric power only, the prototype was able to accelerate quickly, in city and highway driving.
Count on the hybrid getting the 2.3-liter Ecoboost four-banger found in the Mustang and other Fords, where it’s capable of as much as 310 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. A 10-speed automatic is the likely transmission, but sources have hinted at a new transmission dedicated strictly to the hybrid truck.
Ford is developing the electrified truck as it begins testing a fleet of 20 plug-in hybrid vans in partnership with commercial fleets serving London. The move is part of the British capital’s efforts to lower vehicle emissions in its crowded center.
The project will team Ford with Transport for London, the city transit agency, and a variety of private fleets, which will use prototypes of Ford’s recently announced plug-in hybrid Transit Custom vans.
Ford has said that retail versions of the Transit Custom PHEV will be sold throughout Europe starting in 2019.
Editor’s note: Photos and story by Brian Williams for Trucks.com.