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Electric Bronco: What we know about Ford’s iconic SUV

The prospect of a battery-only Bronco generates excitement.

2024 Ford Bronco Raptor Code Orange descending a rocky grade with desert hills and vegetation.
Ford / Ford

It’s a given that Ford will create an electric Bronco. The details around capabilities, market segments, and timing are less certain, but Ford has dropped enough breadcrumbs about an electric Bronco, and other Ford battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) that we can piece together answers to the above issues with a healthy degree of confidence. As we learn more, We’ll continue refining this profile of the upcoming electric version of Ford’s recently re-born iconic SUV.

Why an electric Bronco matters

2022 Bronco Wildtrak with optional HOSS crawling over snow and rocks in the wilderness.
Ford / Ford

Ford Motor Company is pushing forward its development of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) while it continues to develop hybrids and sell ICE vehicles. Emphasis on market segments can shift during the momentous transition to electrification, as we observed in a statement by Ford CEO Jim Farley when he spoke of an all-star skunkworks team of top EV experts Ford hired to focus on developing low-cost BEVs.

Ford’s first BEVs were electrified versions of two of the company’s halo models — vehicles that best represent the brand. The F-150 Lightning was Ford’s first round with a battery-powered model of the pickup truck that has been the best selling truck and car for decades. The Mustang Mach-E GT is the electric rendition of Ford’s pony car. The wildly successful Ford Bronco, brought back in 2021 to take on the insanely popular Jeep Wrangler, is Ford’s third halo. So, of course, Ford will build an electric Bronco.

What Ford has said publicly about an electric Bronco

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor off-roadVelocity Blue drifting on desert sand.
Ford / Ford

Ford has not announced an electric Bronco or even confirmed it will develop such a vehicle. However, current and former Ford executives, engineers, and designers have referred to an electric Bronco directly and obliquely. As long ago as 2021, Ford CEO Jim Farley famously responded, “Why do you think we don’t?” on Twitter (now X) to a shareholder who complained that Ford had no plans for an electric Bronco. In 2023, Ford Global VP of Design Anthony Lo spoke about the challenges of aerodynamics and range in developing an EV Bronco during a Newsweek-sponsored panel discussion of designing future vehicles.

An electric Bronco’s power and range

2021 Ford Bronco white body with roof open crawling over large rocks in the outback.
Ford / Ford

The Bronco family has two models: the full-size, body-on-frame Bronco and the unibody Bronco Sport, based on the Ford Escape SUV. The two models have a similar profile, each with multiple levels of rugged sportiness and adventure. The Bronco Sport arrived at Ford dealers first in 2021, and I recall it was common for people to claim full-size Bronco sightings before the larger vehicle was available.

A Bronco Sport BEV may debut before the electric Bronco rolls off production lines, but the prospect of a battery-only Bronco generates excitement.

No one at Ford is talking about the Bronco EV power or range. However, it’s no longer the early days of minimally acceptable 200 miles of range per charge, and electric cars with high horsepower and torque are increasingly common.

Based on the 418 horsepower and 441 ft-lb torque ratings for the current Bronco Raptor and Lo’s comments about the challenges of developing a 400-mile range Bronco EV, let’s put a line in the sand to predict the Bronco EV will have at least 400 horsepower, 400 ft-lbs of torque, and a range close to if not above 400 miles.

When to expect Ford’s electric Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco 2-door speeding on a dirt road in the desert.
Ford / Ford

New technology products always take longer than planned. Ford hasn’t even confirmed they’re developing a Bronco EV. The most aggressive time estimate for an EV is the 2028 model year, but the 2030 model year is a safer estimate for an electric Bronco.

Why an electric Bronco is inevitable, and what may come first

2023 Bronco Sport Heritage Limited Edition Yellowstone Metallic parked on a dirt road with grassy hills and trees in the background.
Ford / Ford

As mentioned above, Ford needs to build an electric Bronco to compete with the Jeep Wrangler EV, which is expected in 2028. If Ford passes on building a Bronco EV, look for an exit from the field in the following years. Ford’s Farley spoke in earnings in March 2024 about shifting focus to lower-cost EVs first so that targeting may also render a battery-powered Bronco Sport before the larger model. It could still work in Ford’s favor to have a Bronco Sport EV sharpen appetites for the big guy.

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Bruce Brown
Digital Trends Contributing Editor Bruce Brown is a member of the Smart Homes and Cars teams. He also writes technology news…
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