Today, during its 100-year celebration in South Africa, Ford announced it is investing R5.2 billion into its Silverton Assembly Plant to produce the Ranger Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) from next year.
Ford will produce everything from the battery packs to the chassis and the engine at the plant. It has not been confirmed whether the Ranger PHEV will be sold in South Africa.
“The additional investment in the Silverton Assembly Plant for the Ranger Plug-in Hybrid takes our total manufacturing investment in South Africa over the past 14 years to around $1.72 billion, or nearly R33 billion,” says Andrea Cavallaro, operations director at Ford.
The company currently employs approximately 5,200 people in South Africa. According to a statement, its operations support around 60,000 jobs in the total value chain amongst supplier companies and contribute more than 1% to South Africa’s GDP.
Upgrading existing systems
The investment will help develop a battery pack assembly plant constructed within the Silverton plant for the PHEV system.
Its chassis plant in the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ) is also being upgraded to accommodate the unique chassis configuration for this model, including changes to the robots, welding equipment, control systems, conveyors and skids.
As expected for a next-gen bakkie, the vehicle assembly operations are being adapted to accommodate the PHEV. The trim, chassis and final (TCF) line will be updated to accommodate new handling equipment, turnover fixtures, charging systems, leak detection and testing equipment, and a new repair area.
The Paint Shop is being revamped to further improve paint quality and first-time-through (FTT) for all vehicles produced in South Africa. The plant has an installed capacity to produce 720 vehicles per day over three shifts, or 200,000 vehicles per year.
Not for South Africa
“As with the current Ranger models, the new Ranger Plug-in Hybrid will be exported to Europe as part of our commitment to offer a wide range of powertrain options for customers in this important mid-size pickup segment,” Cavallaro says.
“For the first time in about two decades, the Silverton plant will also be supplying vehicles to Australia and New Zealand, as it will be the source market for the Ranger Plug-in Hybrid for these countries.”
The Ranger Plug-in Hybrid will be fitted with a 2.3-litre EcoBoost turbo petrol engine paired with an electric motor and rechargeable battery system. The company reports that it can be driven in pure electric mode for more than 45 kilometres without using a drop of petrol.
“It will provide all the towing and payload capability customers expect of Ranger, along with Pro Power Onboard for the first time, enabling customers to power their tools and appliances on a worksite or remote campsite by plugging them into power outlets embedded in both the cargo bed and the cabin,” a statement details.
Other models confirmed
We may not be treated to a new Ranger EV, but the company has announced a lineup of other models South Africans can look out for.
This includes the all-electric Mustang Mach-E, the seventh-generation Mustang range (which will include the most powerful naturally aspirated Mustang ever – the Mustang Dark Horse); the all-new Territory five-seater SUV; and the next-generation Tourneo and Transit Custom. We’re also treated to two new non-EV Rangers: the Ranger Tremor and the Ranger Platinum.
All of the above models are planned for launch in South Africa in 2024, except for the Mustang Mach-E, which will make its way to SA roads in 2025.
Recharged is an independent site that focuses on technology, electric vehicles, and the digital life by Nafisa Akabor. Drawing from her 16-year tech journalism career, expect news, reviews, how-tos, comparisons, and practical uses of tech that are easy to digest. email@example.com