Although other automakers have offered hybrid pickups with little success, the 2015 Ford F150 could be the first hybrid pickup to really have an impact on the market if Ford decides to add their hybrid technology to the new lightweight F150, Patrick Rall reports and comments from TorqueNews.com.
Both Chrysler and General Motors have tried their hand at producing a hybrid version of their popular half ton pickups and some truck based SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade but neither of those companies saw much success from the hybrid pickups. The main problem was that introducing hybrid technology to these large, heavy vehicles has a fairly small positive impact on fuel economy numbers. That leads to small savings in fuel costs so the high price of hybrid technology is hard to offset with the savings at the pump and that all led to a quick demise to the majority of these full sized hybrid trucks. However, it should be noted that neither Chrysler nor General Motors have a particularly successful hybrid vehicle program. Chrysler has nothing to show in the way of hybrid vehicles and while General Motors has a collection of hybrid models, they don’t have nearly the popularity of the electric powered Chevy Volt.
On the other hand, Ford Motor Company has asserted itself as a leader in the world of hybrid technology so while Toyota still commands the hybrid market with the Prius – Ford is quickly catching up. Models like the Fusion Hybrid and the CMax Hybrid have proven to be great competitors for the Camry Hybrid and the bestselling Prius. This is a clear sign that the folks at Ford know how to put together a high quality hybrid vehicle, but there is still the issue of the weight with the pickup. That is where the advantages of the aluminum bodied 2015 F150 come into play.
The 2015 Ford F150 has a body that is roughly 700 pounds lighter than the 2014 F150 already on dealership lots around the country. As we speculated a few weeks back, that massive weight reduction could lead to a half ton pickup that has a curb weight under 4,000 pounds. That is still not a lightweight vehicle by any means, but the fact that the 2015 F150 will likely be the lightest half ton pickup ever could make a big difference when working on a hybrid pickup.
Take that lightweight nature of the 2015 Ford F150 and add technology from one of the world’s most advanced hybrid drivetrain programs and you have a hybrid pickup that could be the first to really make a splash in the consumer market. Say that Ford developed a hybrid drivetrain to work with the 5.0L V8, they could produce a pickup that can tow as much as the competitors while being significantly more fuel efficient. There is also the possibility that the 2015 F150 Hybrid could rely on an advanced hybrid system that is coupled with the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 so it would almost certainly be the most powerful and the most efficient truck in the segment – but that would likely bring about a very expensive drivetrain package that may be hard to counter in fuel savings.
Even if Ford Motor Company was to build a very light duty 2015 F150 with the base 3.7L V6, it would still pack enough power to do basic “truck stuff” while likely offering best in class fuel economy. Also, using this base engine would allow Ford to keep the cost down a bit and making the 2015 F150 Hybrid a good deal will go a big way in helping it to succeed.
The introduction of the new 2.7L EcoBoost V6 has many believing that there will not be a 2015 Ford F150 Hybrid, but if an automaker is going to build a successful hybrid half ton pickup, Ford Motor Company seems like the most likely to do so at this time. Ford is the top selling truck maker and one of the industry’s leading hybrid producers (tentatively second behind Toyota) so they seem to have the resources – it is just a matter of making a good business case for this fuel sipping pickup.