While very few out there have the money to purchase a 6×6 truck, all truck fans can agree that they look pretty extraordinary, with plenty of capability to boot. But up until now, we have yet to see a 6×6 with a hybrid drivetrain. Enter the Ricardo Ford Ranger HEX 6×6 conversion, a truck that looks amazing and saves on fuel economy.
Ricardo Ford Ranger HEX 6×6: Details
Ricardo, a global strategic, environmental, and engineering consulting company, has developed the Ranger HEX, a 6×6 vehicle conversion designed to offer a significant improvement in the payload of up to 3,800kg (7,936 lbs) over the harshest terrains. As we mentioned, the truck comes with a hybrid drivetrain to maintain performance and improve fuel consumption, though it’s unclear how well that will work if you tow such significant payloads.
The Ford Ranger HEX solution differs from conventional conversions as it has been conceived as an overlay bolt-on system that does not require any alteration of the Ford Ranger base vehicle, Europe’s number one commercial pick-up platform. This means that the Ford Ranger retains the standard vehicle’s quality and allows the system to be removed and re-installed on a different truck.
The Ranger HEX uses an electric rear drive system, which uses a production Ford drive unit to provide up to an additional 210kW of power, over and above the class-leading 186kW of power from the existing 3.0L V6 diesel engine. The De Dion rear suspension design is weight-efficient and robust, providing better wheel control for improved traction and ride. In addition, the De Dion arrangement decouples the suspension and drive systems to allow a range of drive units to be used or deleted for a cost-effective 6×4 variant with maximum payload using an undriven ‘lazy’ axle.
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. This energy is then used to provide electric torque under acceleration to mitigate the usual drop in performance while carrying a high payload. A selection of battery capacities is available, depending on customer requirements. All high-voltage components are contained in a single integrated enclosure for safety and ease of maintenance and repair. This sounds like a very cool system, but how much does it cost? Unfortunately, Ricardo hasn’t disclosed that information, but we doubt it’ll be cheap.