By on June 29, 2017

2018 Ford Mustang GT V8 - Image: Ford

Ford Motor Company, in a tremendously public product planning moment, revealed at the beginning of 2017 that the automaker would produce an F-150 Hybrid, Transit plug-in hybrid, and a Mustang Hybrid by 2020.

Then-CEO Mark Fields said at the time, “Ford is committed to being a leader in providing consumers with a broad range of electrified vehicles.” But now that Ford revealed plans for the 2020 Mustang Hybrid, the Blue Oval has a three-year gap in which to talk about a car that doesn’t yet exist.

How to talk about it now, three years prior to launch? Ford Canada is placing promoted ads on Twitter that are endlessly popping up in my feed.

The Mustang Hybrid is not shown. But the future earns a prominent mention.

For the Michigan-built 2020 Mustang Hybrid, Ford promises, “V8 power and even more low-end torque.” Not surprisingly, this early ad campaign for the Mustang emphasizes swiftness.

“0-100 Real Quick,” the silent five-second clip says, using the rough equivalent of 0-60 mph for a Canadian audience.

It’s not surprising that Ford would seek early on to condition its audience to connecting hybrid with speed. The vast majority of the car-buying public has not had direct exposure to hybrids, yet believes the green/eco/Prius nature of early hybrids instrinsically renders performance inadequate.

In fact, you can see that kind of response in many of the Twitter replies. “If I could ever afford one, it would only ever be a 5.0,” says @rjshea14.

“Um…. no,” @supergunner_49 succinctly responds.

“Mustangs should never be hybrids,” @jimduncan16 tells Ford.

But Ford has three whole years in which to alter the beliefs both of traditional Mustang clientele and potential Mustang buyers. With McLaren, Ferrari, and Porsche all electrifying — to one degree or another — the P1, LaFerrari, and 918 Spyder, it seems reasonable to conclude that a mere Mustang could get away with hybridization as well.

Given the vast time span that must be traversed before the Mustang Hybrid appears, we asked Ford Canada whether this campaign was a subtle product announcement, perhaps an indication of a different timetable.

It isn’t. Rather, Ford is just beginning to move the needle. “The [Twitter] post is part of our Primary Brand Campaign developed to generate conversation around Ford’s innovation today and tomorrow,” Ford spokesperson Rosemarie Pao told TTAC. “The purpose of this specific post is to generate conversation of Ford’s future innovation related to electric vehicles, including the development of hybrid version of the iconic Mustang.”

Of course, with the Mustang Hybrid representing such a sea change for a car with so much history, we certainly don’t expect to see Ford limiting its Mustang Hybrid conversation efforts to a relatively subtle promoted ad on Twitter.

Ford’s marketers have three years to tell you about this car. And they will keep on telling.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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29 Comments on “Get Ready to Hear About the 2020 Ford Mustang All The Time for Three Years...”

  • avatar

    A Mustang V8 hybrid sounds cool, otherwise a complete fail in the making unless oil spikes.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Well, to be clear, they said V8 power, which technically even the 2.3-liter turbo achieves, not an actual V8 in a hybrid configuration. I’m not too fond of the 2.3 because you have to stay in the boost to get performance—such that the 5.0 actually gets better fuel economy at times—but a 4-cylinder performance hybrid could be just the ticket.

      • 0 avatar

        ” I’m not too fond of the 2.3 because you have to stay in the boost to get performance—such that the 5.0 actually gets better fuel economy at times—but a 4-cylinder performance hybrid could be just the ticket.”

        That hasn’t been my experience at all. My absolute worse mileage ever for a fill up has been about 16mpg, and that was a nasty combination of “drive aggressively between traffic jams after sitting in line to drop my daughter off at school, and don’t forget to wait in line to pick her up after school as well”. In short, the absolute worse situation I could image for gas mileage.

        Outside of that one nightmare fill up, I average around 17-20mpg with a mix of “driving nice and calm, but occasionally put my foot down so that I can enjoy having a sports car”.

        But highway is where it really shines. I consistently get 30-32mpg on the highway at 70-80mph, with a peak of 35mpg when going down a flat rural Indiana highway at 60mph. Around 90 mph is where gas mileage starts to drop.

        Overall, I have been quite pleased with my EB Mustang. It gets acceptable mileage for a relatively powerful car, and I personally have never had an issue with turbo lag. The little turbo spools up quick. The net effect is that throttle response is just a half-step behind your foot. And switching it to Sport mode even solves that. My only quibble is that I wish it had a better intercooler. It’s not bad, but I see some scary intake air temperature readings on my dash from July to early September in Texas. I think the highest I have ever seen was almost 150F.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          And I absolutely wouldn’t try and invalidate your experience, but neither my friend nor I could do better than 26 instant MPG in any conditions while driving his 2015 Mustang EcoBoost Premium w/ Performance Pack, and I borrowed it for days at a time. Maybe something was wrong with it.

          • 0 avatar

            Nothing was wrong with it Kyree. These are cool little cars, but the ‘eco’ part of eco-boost is sort of imaginary across the line.

            17-20 average is what you get out of a Camaro SS, Challenger RT, and Mustang GTs.

            This isn’t a knock, I’ve been in a few EB driven vehicles and they’ve all been strong, torquey mills. But the gas mileage just hasn’t matched the promises. They should have named it SVO or something and left off the Eco designator.

          • 0 avatar

            17-20 out of a Camaro SS, Challenger RT, or Mustang GT? I honestly have a hard time believing that. In mixed city/highway traffic sure I could buy it. But my daily commute where I average 17-20 is done in 100% city, from traffic light to traffic light. On the rare cases where I do have a more normal highway/city mix, I get closer to about 22-24 mpg.

          • 0 avatar

            That is a little odd. Mine is an EB premium without the Performance Pack and with the 17″/55 profile tires. On major artery roads I drive about 45mph to 50mph between traffic lights in 5th gear when I am in “calm mode”. On a level road my instant MPG is about 35mpg or so, and about 25mpg on an uphill slope. What drags me down to 17-20 is that I am constantly having to stop for lights and re-accelerating back to speed. In my town major traffic lights are spaced about 1 mile apart with 1 to 2 minor traffic lights distributed between major traffic lights.

            Honestly, given my daily commute I would benefit enormously from a hybrid EB Mustang.

          • 0 avatar

            Go look at Fuelly and break it down by engine size and make your own decision – the i4 turbo makes better gas mileage, but it’s inconsistant and most people are only making a couple mpg more with some outliers who must only drive freeway compared to the v8s which are tightly clustered.

            Look at v6s too. When economy is the stated goal, it makes no sense to drop v6’s for i4-turbos. Packaging or whatever, sure that’s fine, but it’s usually sold as an economy thing.

          • 0 avatar

            I did look at Fuelly, but I usually take crowd-sourced mileage numbers with a big grain of salt.

            Last year when I had to make a sudden visit to the Northern Indiana area, I rented a V6 Mustang. It was interesting to see the difference between it and my EB. I wasn’t impressed with the fuel economy. I only got about 26 or 27 mpg in mostly highway driving versus the 30mpg that I get in my EB. I couldn’t speak to city driving since, well, there aren’t really any cities in the part of Northern Indy that I was visiting.

            I also wasn’t particularly enthused with the power delivery either. Traditionally, I have always preferred peaky engines that make their power all the way at the top of the redline. Think Honda VTEC engines. On paper, the V6 fits that bill quite nicely. But I confess that over the last year of owning my Mustang, I have gotten used to “all the torque I want almost anywhere in the RPM range”.

            No, I am very much on team turbo.

          • 0 avatar

            Currently at 110,000 miles on my 2011 Mustang GT w/ the 5.0, manual transmission and 3.31 gears and have averaged 23 MPG over that whole time. Worst tank ever was around 19 and that included 45 minutes of track driving at Road America. Still consistently get 25-27 on all highway tanks. Ford is one of the few companies that still offers a gearing option in cars and it makes a huge difference in the Mustang. Yeah, you’re quicker off the line with your 3.73s or 3.55s but for day to day driving, 3.31s work great and it’s especially nice when you can go 80mph and barely be above 2,000 RPMs still.

        • 0 avatar

          “My only quibble is that I wish it had a better intercooler. It’s not bad, but I see some scary intake air temperature readings on my dash from July to early September in Texas. I think the highest I have ever seen was almost 150F.”

          That’s not bad, I’ve seen higher IATs sitting in bumper to bumper traffic. I’ve also seen cases where the heat exchanger has pulled the discharge temp below what was being pulled in at the filter.

          Granted that was with a forced air to water system with a heat exchanger 3 times the factory piece but it was pretty neat to see.

          Another neat trick is to monitor IATs and see what amount of RPM vs speed produces the lowest temps during cruise. In my GT500 when the sorry Bosch pump would fizzle out and the heat exchanger system wouldn’t be doing much running around 2,000 rpm at a light load would produce better IATs than just letting the car mope along in 6th gear at an idle.

        • 0 avatar

          Agreed with @Devilsrotary86 – I test drove an EB pretty extensively and my biggest complaint was lack of turbo OOOMPH. It felt too much like a V6, and I’ve gotten used to the punch of a turbo.

          My first gen Genesis suffers terrible heatsoak at the intercooler, too. An aftermarket (or 2nd gen unit) solves/helps that problem though.

          As for the V8/Hybrid… I don’t get the whole bit where apparently, even if the fans option is available (V8) no one else should have a hybrid/turbo/whatever, because it’s not enough that the fanboi gets what they want, EVERYONE ELSE HAS TO WANT THAT TOO.

          The smartest thing Ford can do is sell the V8 as long as possible, but start phasing in other (medium- and high-performance) options as well.

          it used to be that the Mustang and Camaro V6’s were the go-to for affluent parents to buy their kids at sweet sixteen, for people who wanted something stylish, but didn’t care about the power.

          Now, the four-banger destroys a V8 from fifteen years go, and the V8 is a supercar monster. There’s a market, much as the V8 fans hate to admit it, for a low power, high style Mustang. And that could very well include a hybrid or even *gasps* a pure EV.

          I know. Sacrilicious, right?

      • 0 avatar

        Metaphorically speaking, I’m not buying it.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Traditionally, Ford has been very, very good about making inroads with new market niches, which indeed describes the hybrid pony car. So I wouldn’t write it off.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, the EcoBoost F-150 backs that up, but they let the nay sayers say what they would say, and simply proved them wrong. The engine is durable, which they said it wouldn’t be. The gas mileage of an unloaded F-150 with an EcoBoost vs. an old 5.4L is better, but more than that, the torque (and torque curve, which is pretty flat) and power of the 3.5L EcoBoost trumps the 5.4L, as well as comparable V-8s in competitors.

      People have discovered its a damn good alternative to a V-8, as you see how popular its become.

      My cousin is a believer. He says when pulling, its easily better than his old 5.4L F-150 (which was a few generations ago, it was totaled when only a couple of years old) as well as the 5.3L Sierra that replaced it, which didn’t last long in the fleet before being replace with a 2wd 5.4L 2nd gen Expedition. His current F-150 is 4×4 Super Crew and when unloaded, it gets MPG the V-8s never achieved, and when towing something like his large tractor between his property on the river and his home (a decent distance), the F-150 is far better. To be fair, I don’t think he used the Expedition for towing, it was mostly his wife’s car. She has a 2017 Honda Accord Sport now, he bought on my recommendation for a new 4 cylinder midsize sedan.

      The EcoBoost in cars, I have less experience with. I actually advised my brother to buy the Fusion S 2.5L because he generally puts 300K or more on his commuters (Altima has less than 300k, bit the GMC sierra engine bit the dust due to lack of oil at 373k). I figured a turbo in that case would be less reliable than a N/A I-4. He drive both it, a Titanium (with a standard EcoBoost) and a 2016 Malibu and bought the Fusion S. So far, he absolutely loves it.

  • avatar

    So in 2020 we’ll be seeing videos of Mustangs silently and efficiently mowing down pedestrians when leaving cars and coffee?

  • avatar

    Hybrid everything is a reality for most traditional car manufactures. Part live-time R&D and part emissions/economy.

    But that ad feels like something you’d use as a sloppy example in Digital Advertising & Marketing 101. Profoundly uninspiring.

  • avatar

    Damn… I am thinking about Mustang all the time. 300 hp for $25K…

  • avatar

    Electric torque off the line and to reduce demand on the turbo: could work! Let’s just hope it doesn’t play out like Honda’s CR-Z, the perfect blend of non-hybrid mileage and Insight fun factor.

  • avatar

    I wouldn’t be shocked if they’re just trying to prime people for the death of the V8.

    Between this, the EcoBoost V6 GT, and the way they’re always talking up the EcoBoost F150s, something tells me they’re dropping the V8.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think they’re dropping the V8 totally in 2020. I do think they’re dropping the V8 version of the GT around that time though.

      I expect a $60K+ Shelby/Boss/Cobra V8 option to still exist.

      I also think the same thing is going to happen with the Camaro and Challenger (no V8 under the ZL1 or Hellcat level).

      • 0 avatar

        “I expect a $60K+ Shelby/Boss/Cobra V8 option to still exist.”

        Agreed there is enough of a mark-up to justify the expense of a unique engine. IIRC Ford doesn’t do much of any work on the 5.2 outside of assembling the engine itself. The block is cast and the PTA coating is a third party affair and the cylinder heads are probably the same since they have differing valvetrain geometry and are CNC ported through the flow path and have CNC’d combustion chambers. That the Voodoo V8 shares anything with the Coyote is probably just to reduce costs and ease packaging down the assembly line.

        For the regular Mustang GT owners just look to the trucks. Once the V8 disappears there it’ll be gone from the Mustang as soon as the supply of engines dries up. A V8 Mustang GT only exists due to truck owners insisting on having a V8 option. Once they turn their back on the V8 its days at Ford are over outside of the specialty cars.

        “I also think the same thing is going to happen with the Camaro and Challenger (no V8 under the ZL1 or Hellcat level).”

        Hard to prognosticate who would drop the run-of-the-mill V8 first. My guess would be GM leaving the scene last since they have a rabid fanbase that likes to stuff the LS in everything they can and their naturally aspirated V8s are competitive compared to their competitors forced induction offerings.

  • avatar
    Dan R

    Use the Fiesta three cylinder; turbo and supercharged.

  • avatar

    Why not just call it the Probe and give it a different look on a modified chassis? Yes it costs more in development, but you don’t have to make compromises on the gas-only Mustang.

    • 0 avatar

      Because it won’t be a compromise. Because it’s going to be 2020 and electricity is the future for cars. And because it’s not inconceivable that gas will go back up in price and electrics will be hot sellers by then either.

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