Ford Authority

Early Ford Mustang Hybrid Mule Spied In New Pictures

The current, sixth-generation Mustang S550 is slowly nearing the end of its lifecycle, as an all-new, seventh-generation Mustang is on its way. We already know a few things about the next-gen pony, like the fact that it will ride on FoMoCo’s all-new, rear-drive CD6 platform shared with the all-new 2020 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator crossovers. We also know that the next-gen Mustang will have one hybrid and one battery electric variant as part of its lineup. Our spy just caught a (very) early prototype of the latter, so here’s our first look at the next-gen Ford Mustang Hybrid.

The vehicle seen here is wearing light camo on the front and rear ends, but looks nearly identical to the current S550 Mustang with two notable exceptions. The first is a revised front bumper cover with relocated amber marker lights, and the second is a set of strange exhaust pipes for EPA emissions testing purposes.

Sources deep within The Blue Oval tell us that this is an early powertrain development mule of the next-generation Mustang Hybrid, which makes us wonder about what’s under the hood. The most obvious option would be the powertrain from the 2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid, which features a 3.3-liter V6 engine mated to a hybrid system producing a combined system 318 horsepower delivering an EPA-estimated range of over 500 miles between fill-ups. Shifting duty is done through Ford’s 10-speed modular hybrid transmission.

In the Explorer Hybrid, Ford specially-designed a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery set and tucked it into the chassis below the second-row seats. As a result, the vehicle does not sacrifice passenger space or cargo volume.

We’ve also heard from sources familiar with the matter that the Mustang Hybrid might be available in two versions: a regular model and a high-output one. The model might launch with the regular-output version first, followed by the high-output model down the line. Expect the next-, seventh-generation Mustang for either the 2021 or 2022 model years.

In the (extremely remote) possibility that we and our sources have misidentified this Mustang prototype, then it could be a refresh of the current, sixth-gen model. In that case, this would indicate that the S550 Mustang is up for a second refresh, as the pony car received its first facelift for the 2018 model year.

Subscribe to Ford Authority for ongoing Mustang news coverage.

Ford Authority founder with a passion for global automotive business strategy.

Subscribe to Ford Authority

For around-the-clock Ford news coverage

We'll send you one email per day with the latest Ford updates. It's totally free.


  1. Raymond Ramirez

    A plug-in hybrid Mustang will have the best of both worlds! But the electric version can still perform better than a gasoline only version. The headlights gives it more of a Mako shark look.

  2. van m bond jr

    I feel like this is a moment of history repeating itself, kind of like how the 2010 Mustang featured a new body with the old power train, I feel like this will be a 2020 mustang refresh before the new mustang drops in 2021. With the next generation mustang being on an all new platform, I don’t think it will share much with the S550 car. I’m sure anyone who has read any of my post know how much i deplore anything that has less than 8-cylinders, burns gasoline only and has a longitudinal based drivetrain. As much as i lament the thought of hybrid and electric vehicles and have nothing but utter contempt for such vehicles, I understand as the future hurls ever closer our roads will be plagued by more and more of these types of vehicles. My hope, however is that car companies continue to produce V8 powered rear wheel drive based vehicles for the population of us who do not share in the desire for hybrid and or electric cars, nor do we care that electric cars can be built for performance. There are still a lot of us out here that just want simple, fun vehicles that are easy to own and work on and enjoyable to drive. Something that these right lane hybrid/electric cars will never be. My fear is that the mustang, pretty soon, will cease to be a mustang. It will no longer be a muscle car, a pony car or even a sports car. it will become the icon for Eco-lovers, a skinny jeans, satchel wearing, rainbow coexisting, Starbucks and skinny water drinking vehicle that sits somewhere between the Toyota Prius & the Volkswagen Beetle. High on estrogen, low on testosterone. Mustangs, Camaros, Challengers, Chargers, Broncos & Pickup trucks were meant for V8 engines. These cars were not designed for fuel sipping, they were designed for fun. Granted I believe that yeah they should be able to achieve at least 28mpg on the highway, but these cars aren’t meant for fuel sipping right lane pacifist! If you want an economy car, go buy an economy car.
    Like i said, i do think that even though these cars are meant to have V8 engines, I do believe that you can have V8 engines without having gas guzzlers. a Corvette can get 30mpg with a 460hp 6.2L push rod V8 why can’t everything else? To me, honestly, there is no need for any V8 engine to exceed 6.0L in any scenario. Ford has shown us what it can do with 5.0L, 5.2L, 5.4L and even 5.8L of displacement and honestly it’s done wonders. Ford has shown us what it can do with 4.6L of supercharged V8 in the 03-04 Terminator Cobra so we have five amazing V8 DOHC Modular engines in the line up. Not only that, Ford’s ecoboost platform is absolutely amazing with a versatile 3.5L V6, a potent 2.7L V6, a 415hp 3.0L, a 350hp/350tq 2.3L turbo and a punchy 2.0L Turbo. Now although I’m not a big fan of conventional hybrid drivetrains, I will include the 10-speed hybrid in this equation to prove a point. now Ford has a collection of 10-speed automatics, including the 10-speed modular transmission, the regular 10-speed and now a 7-speed DCT. GM just produced a GM by Allison 10-speed (the reason i bring this up is because Ford & GM collaborated on the 10-speed gas auto) The last part of this equation is the new CD6 platform, which so far seems to be successful. With all of that, Ford could combine what it has done in each corner of the globe and bring everything together globally and have an awesome lineup.
    If ford were to pull out of china completely (since they’re loosing big time in the Chinese market) Ford would have more money to focus on a lot of it’s other endeavors. Yes the SUV and truck market are ramping up but the sedan and coupe market are still very relevant. Ford could use the CD6 platform for a lot of different vehicles. Ford could have the Focus, the Mustang, a Ford Falcon sedan & ute (since ford wants a truck smaller than the ranger) and the explorer all on the CD6 platform, the Ranger, the Bronco, the Everest, the Expedition, the F150, and the super duty on all truck platforms. All of these vehicles would utilize the 10-speed automatic or the 7-speed DCT in some way shape or form, eliminating the use of FWD drivetrains, saving the company money, The Focus would have a longitudinal drivetrain on the modular CD6 platform making use of all three transmissions with every model being AWD however the base would be a 2.0L Hybrid ecoboost, the Focus ST would receive the 350hp/350 torque 2.3L while the Focus RS would receive the 415hp version of the 3.0L Ecoboost V6 found in the explorer making it the fastest hot hatch on the market, dethroning the AMG hot hatch and completely eclipsing the Civic Type-R. Yes somewhere in these lineups would be the electric market vehicles and right lane commuter variants. The great thing is that ford wouldn’t be wasting time in “trial” periods because all of the vehicles I’ve mentioned already exist with Ford and so do the engines. All Ford would have to do is put everything together properly. Ford’s ecoboost line is a proven line already when it comes to compact and efficient power. The Coyote V8 is already proven and keeps getting better. Taking everything Ford has learned from the Coyote, the Roadrunner (Boss-302) the Voodoo and the predator, along with the ecoboost platform. an Ecoboost-Voodoo 4.6L V8 could certainly be a thing, not to mention taking the strength of the Predator 5.2L And incorporating that into naturally aspirated versions of the 5.0L, 5.2L, 5.4L and 5.8L V8 engines and putting them all under the Coyote designations would certainly prove to be a successful move and i’m quite certain that all of these engines would be more powerful than any of the current V8 powered muscle cars that use engines larger that 6,0L of displacement and with the right transmissions and power trains, they would be more fuel efficient too and could eclipse 30mpg in an Eco-mode. Plus I have a feeling that the new S650/CD6 platform is going to rival GM’s Alpha-2 platform which will be part of GM’s new VSS-R platform. With the above setup, Ford would be able to condense it’s platforms and eliminate a lot of unnecessary things such as front wheel drive transaxles. This should resonate well with the right lane commuter crowd because now it gives ford more capital for electric cars and small engine hybrids such as hybrid 1.0L 3-cylinder cars with 10-speed modular transmissions so you can get your 100mpg and reach a top speed of 75 mph. It also gives more capital for truck guys to have hybrid trucks with power to be able to hook up stuff right from the bed of the truck. My whole point is ford needs to balance between the right lane commuters and the rest of us left lane, back road, off road guys as well. Besides, without hybrids and electric cars, who would the diesel truck guys roll coal at? (:p)
    Lastly, With all of this that i mentioned, Ford Performance needs to go ahead and incorporate Roush, Mountune, Steeda, SVT and FPV along with more “aftermarket” collaborations for performance parts from Australia, Europe and North America. Not to mention, breathing some more life into Lincoln. Lincoln needs an Urban line as well. Now when I say Urban that doesn’t mean ghetto. What I mean is that Lincoln’s black label should have a dark side. Kind of “Street Bobber meets Cafe Racer” kind of theme with dark trim, high performance a kind of worn leather and denim interior feel but still with a premium that says Lincoln. Something that in a way goes after cars like Audi’s S-line or Jaguar and Land Rover with the 400hp 3.0L V6 as a base engine with the 450hp 3.0L Hybrid in the middle and a 650hp Ford GT derived 3.5L Ecoboost twin turbo V6 engineered for a “production” street car. Where Cadillac has focused its sights on maximum track effort, Lincoln would focus on the every day streets with cars that are capable but not focused on handling the track. OF course, these variants would be part of the black label trim options while the other variants would have normal pedestrian setups and hybrid and electric options. Of course, these are just my thoughts. Everything needs balance.

    1. John Q Public

      It’s too bad there is insufficient sales volume for those products to entice a mass production automotive company to build them profitably.

  3. vbondjr

    so the fact that audi, lexus, BMW, & mercedes benz sell cars like these on a regular basis would constitute as insufficient sales volume? Think about that for a second. Every single one of their cars is rear wheel drive based, even if they are offered with AWD. The profitability comes in because Ford would finally be offering cars like this at a more attainable price (volume) I guarentee ever single setup that i mentioned would be more profitable than any sedan/SUV ford has sold in the last 10-years. Why am i so confident about this? because it’s already a proven thing. Also look at what Dodge has been doing with the Charger and that car has been running strong since 2008 or somewhere in that area and it’s 2019. That’s at least 11 years of proof right there and if Dodge can do that you know Ford can do it and do it with smaller engines and more efficient drivetrains. The Chargers smallest V8 is a 5.7L V8 with 345ci of displacement. The largest engine i mentioned was a naturally aspirated 5.8L DOHC coyote variant of the Trinity V8 which had 355ci of displacement. I would put money on it that a naturally aspirated 5.8L DOHC V8 with a 10-speed auto would be more fuel efficient than the 5.7L Hemi and produce way more power. Think of this as well. Toyota has been selling the Tundra with a 4.6L DOHC I-Force engine and a 5.7L I-Force DOHC V8 engine for the last several years while Nissan has been selling the Titan with a 5.6L V8 DOHC for the past several years along with the new titan XD with the 5.0L Cummins Diesel V8. so there is an obvious market for V8 powered SUVs and pickup trucks all of them with just under 6.0L. Not to forget the Ram 1500 pickup with it’s 5.7L pushrod hemi V8. Also, Ford’s Taurus was a very well received and loved sedan that ford has been producing since 1989. In australia, that niche was filled by the Ford Falcon, a sedan roughly the size of a Taurus but with a V8 engine and a rear drive power train and that car was produced since the ’70s (technically it was there version of our Torino but better looking (IMO) and the versions that came after that were amazing. To put it mildly, yes there is more than sufficient sales volume for these products to entice a mass production auto company to build them profitably. If Ford pulled out of China, number 1, and stopped making boring, waste of time cars like the Fusion, the Fiesta and the Ecosport, Ford would be in a better spot financially. Ford Failed to produce a vehicle that would truly compete with the Camry and the Accord. The Taurus was the closest but it failed because Ford failed to do what it should have done in the first place with the Taurus. the Fusion was an absolute waste (just like the ford contour that came before it). The focus could have (and should have) been so much more and still could be. The Focus could (and should) be what the Impreza is to Subaru. As i’ve said before, it’s not that people dont want sedans and coupes, the problem is that people don’t want the mundane and boring crap that Ford and GM have been putting out for the last 10 years. Ford could easily save a ton of money by eliminating all of their front wheel drive vehicles and front wheel drive powertrains (trans-axles, CV axles, etc) make everything rear wheel drive based with some variation of the 10-speed auto or 7-speed DCT and call it a day. There is a large market for vehicles like the ones I’ve mentioned so it would be more than profitable to ford to engineer cars like these, not to mention, most of the car’s i’ve mentioned are (or were) already in production so it wouldn’t be any issue.

    1. John Q Public

      You make a convincing argument so why don’t Ford and GM follow your philosophy?

  4. the gooch

    Royal crimson and 5.0 and I’m buying in 2022. If its got some sort of electric/hybrid fwd to assist rwd then its a bonus

  5. Mike S.

    No axle nut behind the front wheel=no AWD. I really not see what is so hard to understand about this.


Leave a comment