Every year for the past three years, the Ford Mustang hybrid has dumped a new load of grist into the rumormill, and this week, Autocar is reporting that the Blue Oval’s electrified coupe will arrive with the next-generation model in 2022.
Ford has guaranteed the hybrid would make “V8 power and even more low-end torque,” and be a “very, very fun hybrid to drive.”
Many took the V8 comment as insinuation that the efficient-yet-fun Mustang wouldn’t house an eight-cylinder, perhaps adding one or two e-motors to the 2.3-liter EcoBoost.
The automaker’s initial plan announced in 2017 included the launch of a hybrid Mustang in 2020 but eventually, the electrified sports car was delayed for the next-gen model.
Autocar’s report quotes a U.S. patent filing by Ford from 2017, where the manufacturer is referring to a “twin-motor drive system for hybrid vehicle.”
The technical drawings of this filing reportedly show a V8 powering the rear wheels and two electric motors “mounted directly to opposing sides of the engine” taking care of the front wheels.
The format is similar to one that features in the current Ford Explorer, which has led other publications to suggest that the Explorer and next-gen Mustang (codenamed the S650) could share the same platform.
In the same way that becoming mid-engined was a big change for the Chevrolet Corvette, becoming AWD and hybrid is a 180 of sorts for the Mustang; a platform long known for its quintessentially rear-driven nature.
The adoption of these two tech measures would see it instead pivoting towards the same direction most of the world’s sports and supercars are facing.
But, it’s not to say that a rear-wheel drive non-hybrid V8 or four-cylinder Mustang won’t remain in the line-up.
Reports have indicated that more traditional models could still sit in the line-up underneath the floated AWD hybrid flagship.
The range may even be split for different markets, depending on each respective region’s efficiency and emissions standards.
Going down a YouTube wormhole led to the obligatory conspiracies, but also to a video from Matt Maran Motoring. Maran’s ideas about the Mustang hybrid are all conjecture, naturally, but he makes some thoughtful points.
The summary is that since the Bullitt retires next year, to be replaced by the Mach 1, an electrified Mach 1 would make a natural tie-in with the battery-electric Mustang Mach E. Plus, a leaked VIN decoder sheet appears to show the Shelby GT350 retiring as well.
With $49,000 Bullitt & $61,000 Shelby GT350 gone, there would be a fat MSRP hole on the performance coupe side between the $41,000 GT Premium and the $74,000 Shelby GT500. Enter the Mach 1.
Going further,the two incarnations of the Mach 1 starting in 1969 and 2003 have been performance packages, not the top-tier Mustang on sale at the time.
The vintage Mach 1s even offered multiple engine choices.
Why couldn’t Ford put a V6 hybrid into a Mach 1 as well as a V8? There’d be two price points to fill that MSRP hole, and not only does that keep the Mach 1 tied to its performance package roots, it makes the connection to the Mach E and it leaves the GT trim an all-V8 affair, forestalling complaints from purists about more dilution of the Mustang brand were the GT to house a V6.
This is purely speculation at this point but if it turns out to be true, it’ll be very interesting to see whether the Blue Oval will also offer a more affordable non-hybrid V8 and four-cylinder powertrains for the next-gen Mustang.