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Ford Teases January Reveal of New Plug-In SUV

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Ford recently blasted out news of a $4.5 billion dollar investment in “electrified vehicle solutions,” which aims to electrify existing models, adding 13 new plug-in vehicles to the Ford stable by the end of the decade. Looking at the news in light of its current offerings, and it’s likely that the core of this effort is comprised of adding plug-in hybrid powertrain options to existing vehicles as it has done with the Energi lineup. In addition, buried in the announcement was a very interesting tease of a big reveal coming to the 2016 North America International Auto Show.

Ford specifically shared a few teaser photos and a little teaser clip that I don’t think you’ll be able to watch just once. I’ve been over it a few times and still want to go back for a few more rounds to see what unique details I can pick out. The high-level specs seem fairly obvious — Ford is announcing a new plug-in SUV at the Detroit Auto Show on January 11th. The clip clearly shows the same plug-in port as the other Energi models, with the rotating door and location just in front of the driver’s door. I’m leaning towards it being a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), as it does not appear to have fast charging, just a normal J1772 plug. That lands this new creation in Ford’s Energi line, right next to the C-Max Energi and the Fusion Energi, which sell quite well compared to other plug-in cars in the US.

Wide Headlights!

Size-wise, this thing looks wide! I initially thought it might be an updated, plug-in version of the Ford Edge, but after comparing photos and stop-frame footage of the shrouded mystery vs the new Edge in parallel, this new plug-in is a lot wider! The official video is below, as well as a promo photo of the covered vehicle that is obviously a new full-size SUV that plugs in.

With the plug only being a standard J1772 port, it only makes sense for this to be a PHEV, as an all-electric SUV of this size would require quite a large battery to go any reasonable distance, which, in today’s market, would require a DC fast charging option. I would love to see an all-electric SUV from Ford, as 2016 is sure to be the year of the electric SUV — as the Tesla Model X ramps up to full production and starts arriving on streets en masse.

Notable exterior features include bold headlights that barely hang on to the outside corners of the car, pulling the visuals wider still. The posture is very aggressive with the height slightly above what a sedan might sit at, stretched to what must be near the maximum width for a standard lane. Front to back, the long hood eases back into a sloped windscreen. The profile below feels like the raised front of a Ford Fusion tacked on to the rear of a BMW X6. It has similarities with Ford’s Vignale Concept as well, but nothing stands out as a dead ringer.


The US SUV market is in desperate need of some mileage efficiency improvements, which makes the prospect of a plug-in hybrid electric SUV promising, though I’m not going to lock in my final position until I see some numbers. Specifically, we need as many electric-only miles as possible from a PHEV to maximize the gas-free miles that drive meaningful reductions in fuel use. 30 miles would be great, as that covers the majority of commutes… anything beyond that would be gravy.

Also on my wish list for Christmas from Ford, I would love to see a diversion from the typical integrated gas/electric drivetrain used in most PHEVs to more of a range-extended electric vehicle approach like the Chevy Volt. This approach builds all the fundamentals of an EV — including an all-electric powertrain supported by a gas-powered generator in the back, which exists only to charge the battery.

What are your thoughts? What do you think Ford has under the wraps? Here, I bet you can’t just watch it once:

All images and video credit: Ford

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I'm a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need. As an activist investor, Kyle owns long term holdings in Tesla, Lightning eMotors, Arcimoto, and SolarEdge.


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