Ford CEO, Mark Fields, made two important announcements on a recent NPR interview with Ari Shapiro. First there was news about Ford entering the mobility business. Ford is considering competition in the space currently occupied by Uber and Lyft. However, the piece of news that truck buyers will be interested in has to do with a hybrid F-Series trucks.
Mark Fields said that the company is preparing a rear-wheel drive hybrid [F-Series] truck before the end of the decade (2020). You can read the complete interview transcript here.
This announcement comes on the heels of a recent report that Ford and Toyota were collaborating on a hybrid power train for their trucks, a relationship that Ford backed out of in favor of using their own hybrid technology.
Electrification of the F-Series trucks starts to make more and more sense. The F-150 is already aluminum, and the Super Duty will soon utilize all-aluminum body construction. This weight reduction can allow for addition of battery packs for electric propulsion. Battery and electric motor technology continue to evolve and improve at a great pace. There is an on-going need for improved efficiency in trucks. And the demand will increase as the price of fuel will inevitably go up. EcoBoost turbocharging technology has brought a limited efficiency benefit to the F-series lineup, and an electric hybrid system is a natural step towards greater efficiency. Not to mention that electric motors are torque rich.
Many commercial customers choose CNG powered trucks for improved emissions and operating costs. There could be a demand for hybrid trucks for the same reasons. And this is not limited to the light duty F-150. Super Duty trucks can and should be part of this equation.
It will be interesting to see which main-stream manufacturer will come to market with a hybrid pickup first.
Here is another example of a hybrid electric plug-in pickup truck, the Chevy Silverado based VIA pickup from the 2013 LA Auto Show.