Ricardo reveals conversion program prototype for Ranger HEX 6x6 truck, featuring a 3.0-liter diesel engine paired with an electric rear drive system.
The electric drive system boosts the Ranger's output as well as increases traction, but a payload of 8377 pounds is perhaps the more impressive figure achieved in the process.
The conversion has been engineered as an overlay bolt-on modification that requires no alterations to the platform of the base vehicle.
Quite a few modern aftermarket truck modifications can increase the ride height or add power. But few can dramatically increase a truck's payload while also greatly improving traction over rough terrain.
Ricardo's Ford Ranger HEX promises to do just that, all while adding a hybrid electric drivetrain in the process.
The engineering consultancy firm has unveiled this unique Ranger conversion, pairing a 3.0-liter diesel engine with an electric rear-drive system that provides an additional 280 hp, over the 249 hp already produced by the engine. Out back, the De Dion rear suspension that serves up extra traction can also be decoupled for energy savings, becoming a 6x4 system.
"The electric drive is designed as a self-contained through-the-road hybrid system. Braking energy is harvested under deceleration to charge the battery pack," the company notes. "This energy is then used to provide electric torque under acceleration to mitigate the usual drop in performance whilst carrying a high payload."
The main event is perhaps the increase in payload, with this version of the Ranger offering an 8377-pound payload capacity, compared to the standard Ranger's 1905-pound capacity.
Ricardo has been able to achieve this while keeping the Ranger's wheelbase manageable, even though it would have been amusing to see a heavy-duty aluminum bed that was twice as long, with a corresponding stretch of the wheelbase. But that would have made the truck far less usable in its intended application, which is military.
In addition, the conversion itself has been designed as an overlay bolt-on modification that requires no alterations to the base vehicle, even preserving its existing warranty.
"The HEX benefits from an existing proven automotive platform, with added engineering and software-enabled features, offering customers a robust, fit-for-purpose solution that is flexible, durable and doesn't lose any of the characteristics needed to perform in the toughest of environments," said Paul Tarry, Head of Special Vehicles at Ricardo.
One number Ricardo does not mention is the towing capacity, which we suspect would be one of the more important selling points of this truck. And pricing for this conversion program has not been announced just yet.
As much as the Ranger Raptor fills the role of the burly Ranger performance truck/beast, we can't help but suspect that a 6x6 Ranger would see some demand stateside, especially if it were an affordable factory option. Nobody said truck purchases are always logical or have to be used off-road daily.
Would there be demand for this conversion if it were offered stateside, or is the Ranger Raptor far better suited to the US market? Let us know what you think.