We know a Ford Bronco Hybrid is on the way. Ford's former CEO Jim Hackett said as much in 2019, and this new sighting of a heavily camouflaged Bronco adds all kinds of fuel to the hybrid theory. And this time around we aren't just talking about strange cables.
We'll start with that, however. Clearly visible beneath the passenger front door of this prototype is a bundle of thick orange cables. We've seen these cables twice before on Bronco test vehicles, most recently on a beefy version that could've been a hardcore Warthog / Raptor model. Our spy sources have seen these orange cables on other Ford vehicles with hybrid powertrains, but this time around there's an additional clue in the camo wrap itself. The photos are clear enough to see some of the symbols in the black dots, and mixed in with small images of tents, mountains, and flags are occasional lightning bolts. That's very interesting.
This prototype obviously isn't beefy like our previous sighting. In fact, this Bronco looks remarkably street-focused with skinny tires that we think are mild Bridgestone Duelers. Such a spec would likely favor lower rolling resistance and as such, better fuel economy. And if the Bronco hybrid uses the same twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 hybrid setup as seen in the Explorer PHEV – which rumors suggest it will – the tires would help the SUV when it comes to electric-only range.
Let's stick to the subject of electricity a bit longer, as it could also explain the heavy camouflage on this test vehicle. Unless it's a ruse, the roof on this prototype looks a bit taller. Our sources theorize it could hide a rooftop-mounted camper and solar panels to help keep things charged up. One benefit to a plug-in hybrid off-roader is a mobile power source already built-in for weekend camping adventures, and it seems like a no-brainer for Ford to offer such a setup on the Bronco.
Gallery: Ford Bronco Hybrid Spy Photos
Whatever is hiding under there, we still aren't sure when a reveal might happen. With the standard Bronco just now reaching dealerships, we still have the Bronco Raptor as well as the hybrid waiting in the wings. With production delays due to the microchip shortage still a problem, it's possible we won't see the Bronco hybrid until 2022.