A recent patent filing revealed that Ford could be working on a bolt-on third axle for body-on-frame pickups that could turn its trucks into 6x6s from the factory. However, there's no official word on whether it will actually come to market and, if it does, when that will be. So if you want a six-wheel-drive Ford pickup, Ricardo now offers a Ford Ranger HEX 6x6 hybrid conversion kit for the most extreme-duty workloads.
The beauty of this conversion is that it's an overlay bolt-on system that Ricardo says requires no chassis or structural modification to the stock Ford Ranger. So it maintains all of the structural rigidity and reliability of the Ranger, while adding immense capability. It can also be removed and used on a different vehicle, without compromising the original Ranger's structure.
Ricardo's HEX 6x6 kit gives the Ford Ranger an additional rear axle and a hybrid powertrain to help drive the additional wheels. The hybrid system is made up of a production Ford electric motor, which adds 281 horsepower to the European Ranger's 249-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 diesel. It also gets a De Dion rear suspension, which Ricardo says not only improves weight efficiency but improves traction, ride quality, and durability. Since the Ranger HEX 6x6 is a hybrid, it also has regenerative braking, to help add power back to the battery.
However, quite possibly the biggest improvement is its payload capacity. The Ford Ranger HEX 6x6 has a max payload of 8,378 pounds, which bests even the F-250 Super Duty. And thanks to the additional hybrid power and torque, the Ranger HEX 6x6 can carry all of that weight through rough terrain.
For customers who might need the heavy-duty workload but don't need the added off-road capability, Ricardo is also offering a cheaper 6x4 version with a "lazy" third axle. So it only has four-wheel drive but maintains the 6x6's maximum payload capacity.
Ricardo didn't announce how much this HEX 6x6 add-on costs but it's likely worth whatever the cost is for many customers. The Ranger is Europe's most popular pickup and is often used in hardworking environments. For many, having a hybrid 6x6 that adds functionality while maintaining fuel economy could be enormously helpful.
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