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Thursday / 20 June 2024
HomeNewsFord invests R5.2 billion into South Africa for semi-electric Ranger

Ford invests R5.2 billion into South Africa for semi-electric Ranger

Ford has confirmed that it will be producing the first-ever Ranger plug-in hybrid (PHEV) in South Africa, starting in late 2024.

In preparation for building the semi-electric double cab, Ford has pledged a R5.2-billion investment for its Silverton, Gauteng factory, which comes right off the back of a R15.8-billion investment that was announced in 2021 and only recently completed.

“The additional investment in the Silverton Assembly Plant for the Ranger plug-in hybrid takes our total manufacturing investment in South Africa over the past 14 years to around $1.72 billion, or nearly R33 billion,” said Andrea Cavallaro, operations director, Ford International Markets Group.

“It signals our commitment to the country, our employees, and our extensive supplier network.”

Hybrid-ready

The recent investment for the Ranger PHEV has gone into building a new battery pack assembly plant that is being constructed within the Silverton factory grounds, while the chassis plant in the adjacent Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone is also being upgraded to accommodate the unique chassis configuration for this model, including advancements to the robots, welding equipment, control systems, conveyors, and skids.

Furthermore, the vehicle assembly operations are being adapted to accommodate the electrically-incentivised Ford, specifically the trim, chassis, and final (TCF) line. Mainly, this will involve changes to the handling equipment, turnover fixtures, charging systems, leak detection and testing equipment, as well as a new repair area.

Along with these enhancements, the paint shop is being revamped to further improve paint quality and first-time-through (FTT) rating for all vehicles produced in South Africa.

The FTT score, which is the percentage of vehicles that make it through production the first time without being flagged for a potential defect, has improved by 50% in comparison to the previous-generation Ranger, and Ford aims to get it to an average of 96% across the total of 200,000 vehicles the factory produces per annum, the company previously told TopAuto.

“As with the current Ranger models, the new Ranger plug-in hybrid will be exported to Europe as part of our commitment to offer a wide range of powertrain options for customers in this important mid-size pickup segment,” said Cavallaro.

“For the first time in about two decades, the Silverton plant will also be supplying vehicles to Australia and New Zealand, as it will be the source market for the Ranger plug-in hybrid for these countries.”

Ford Silverton Assembly Plant

Ranger PHEV specs

The Ranger PHEV is equipped with the Ford’s 2.3-litre, turbo-petrol EcoBoost engine paired with an electric motor and rechargeable battery system.

The exact specifications of the partially-electric powertrain have not yet been revealed, however, the petrol engine by itself already produces a hefty 201kW and 420Nm, so expect the PHEV driveline to do more than this.

In fact, Ford said the hybrid bakkie “will deliver more torque than any other Ranger” that came before it – likely being north of 600Nm as this is what the V6 Wildtrak is currently capable of. 

Thanks to the battery-powered internals, the new Ranger can also be driven in pure electric mode for over 45km while still offering a maximum braked towing capacity of 3,500kg, the same as the rest of the Ranger line-up.

It will be equipped with the same four-wheel-drive system with selectable drive modes as its siblings, too, and come with a host of advanced driver safety and driver assist features, said Ford.

In addition, the Ranger PHEV will debut the Pro Power Onboard feature that enables customers to power their tools and appliances on a worksite or remote campsite by plugging them into power outlets embedded in both the cargo bed and the cabin.

Visually setting it apart from its stablemates are model-exclusive alloy wheels, hybrid badging on the flanks, and two ports above the left rear wheel – one for petrol and one for electrons.


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