We’re just three days into 2017, and Ford has already put out what could be the biggest announcement of the year by declaring that it will build a hybrid Mustang by 2020. Ford’s future electrification plans go much deeper than that, but a the promise of a hybrid Mustang will be a divisive issue among performance car fans of every brand.
Indeed, the addition of a hybrid drivetrain to the iconic Mustang will be the first application to a mass-produced sports car from any of the major automotive brands. Sure, there are cars like the McLaren P1 and LaFerrari that utilize complicated hybrid drivetrains derived from Formula 1 technology, but those vehicles also come with seven-figure price tags.
The question becomes, then, what form does a hybrid Mustang take? There are essentially two options; pair it with a small turbocharged engine to offer V8-matching performance, or add it to a V8 model in lieu of a supercharger on, say, a GT500 model. Ford has slowly been inching its way towards a future V8 engines are few and far between, with the 3.5 liter EcoBoost motor now proving more popular than the 5.0 V8 in the popular F-150. Might the Mustang go down the same path?
Ford’s electrication plans go far beyond the Mustang, with a dozen other electrified vehicles in the pipes that include a F-150 Hybrid, a Transit Connect Hybrid, and an all-electric SUV with 300-miles of driving range. Ford plans to invest $700 million into its Flat Rock Assembly Plant, where the Mustang is currently made, to facilitate these electrification plans. This is part of Ford’s promised $4.5 billion electrification plan, with the Mustang Hybrid due out by 2020.
“Our investments and expanding lineup reflect our view that global offerings of electrified vehicles will exceed gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 15 years,” said CEO Mark Fields. It’s particularly interesting that Ford is making this investment despite the election of Donald Trump, who has promised to rollback the gas mileage and emissions standards passed by the Obama administration.
After watching Ford flounder through gas mileage lawsuits and half-assed compliance cars, it looks like the Blue Oval might finally take electrification seriously.