Ford and Azure Dynamics To Build Plug-In Hybrid Super Duty Chassis Cabs


Ford and Azure Dynamics, a maker of hybrid electric and electric powertrain components for commercial vehicles, have announced that they will collaborate to produce F-Series Super Duty chassis cabs with plug-in hybrid technology by 2013.

The two companies currently collaborate on production of the Ford Transit Connect electric van and Ford E-450 hybrid step van. The new relationship will extend the partnership to F-350, F-450 and F-550 cab and chassis models aimed at business and fleet buyers, such as airport shuttle services.

A parallel plug-in hybrid powertrain will be used, said Patrick Liebler, Azure's spokesman.

Ford and Azure's agreement covers all Super Duty engines, including the 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V-8 and 6.8-liter V-10 gas engine, but "Azure will likely prioritize a specific powertrain application for the initial build," Liebler said.

All chassis cab trucks, regardless of make, have frame rails that are spaced exactly 34 inches apart. The distance from the back of the cab to the rear axle is also uniform, so upfitter applications can be easily bolted behind the cab and ported from one truck to the next without the need for custom fit or engineering. Azure is in the process of working with several upfitters to create new standards for battery placement on the frame, so they won't interfere with upfit products, Liebler said.

[Source: Ford, Azure Dynamics]


Huh, we just picked up a gas powered version in one of their van chassis cabs at work. Seemed pretty robust and impressive from the production unit I checked out. I can't wait to see what mileage benefit there will be (this is for a paratransit van). I can only imagine the benefit being greater with the 6.7, it's too bad that they don't produce that engine in a chassis Van type of configuration.

Plug in Hybrid WTF !!!

Wait until most of the vehicles are electric they will skyrocket the electricity rates and you will hope for the good old days of 3-4 dollars a gallon..(current Pres said he will sky rocket electricity rates under his plan)

My electric company is predicting electric rates will be DOUBLED within 10 years due to the new regs from the current administration.

I give them credit for trying but the price of the 6.7L power stroke is already high a plug in hybrid will probably cost between $60,000 and $70,000 or more.

@ Curtis - currently the USA government buys 1/2 of the hybrids GMC makes and is the largest buyer of Ford hybrids.

Green Government regulations artificially propped up by Green Government.

Government will buy most of them so who cares what the cost is?

I have never been a fan of electric or hybrid powertrains. Its like exchanging one problem for another. While we solve the non-renewable energy source of gaosline, emissions still increase because electricity leads to smoot, etc...

Why don't we just use every drop of gasoline until there is none left on this planet?

The only feasible solution is hydrogen powered automobiles. While they are immensely expensive, the byproducts are low emissions (wator vapor), and eliminating our dependency on definite sources.

Besides, for a super duty truck, does it make sense to sky rocket the price just to increase mpg's?

How long will it take to break even on gas savings?

When will automakers realize the price for better efficiency costs considerably more than just driving a gas guzzler.

Most people want to trade in old gas guzzlers for newer and more efficient automobiles when it actually is cheaper to just drive the old one.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

@Allistar Evans i see where you're going, but most people are playin out right retard and buying in to the government's go green scam. yah just can't fixs stupid

We could build more nuclear power plants, thousands of years of clean energy. Just need to keep good security and a VERY strong structure.

@ Chevy guy

Your comment coming from someone who can't spell simple words or have proper syntax in a sentence?

I too see where you are coming from and I'd like to help address some of your thoughts and concerns.

1. We have very large increasing returns to scale in energy production. i.e. an electric power plant produces far fewer emissions than virtually all internal combustion engines when measures on a pollution-to-kilowatt measure. It would actually decrease the emissions and pollutants even using our old coal power plants versus modern gas or diesel vehicles

2. Hydrogen does seem awfully promising except where does the hydrogen come from?! Diatomic hydrogen isn't typically found in nature, hydrogen is just too reactive on its own and tends to bond to other element/compound/molecules before it has a chance to bond with itself. This means to produce the clean hydrogen we have to use a large amount of energy to split it apart from something else and it typically comes from natural gas (at least in the US where it is plentiful) It is a similar fate of corn based ethanol. It takes as much if not more energy to make the ethanol than is produced by combusting it making it a net energy loser (reduced emissions benefits are debatable but also likely close to 1:1)

3. Most of these "plug ins" being discussed across the entire automotive world are typically with battery packs at or under 12-14 kW hrs and with the prices driving down towards the $250 per kW hr mark the increase in price is not likely to be as high as you are thinking. Probably more in the $4-5k range for these large chassis cab trucks and that IS less than the cost of replacing the 6.8 gasser with the 6.7 PSD by nearly half. Since most of these are going to be used on short trips (the example used is an airport transit vehicle) they can recharge the batteries after each trip and likely not run much on gas at all. This would provide some good savings

(using my Idaho electric rates of $.065 per kW hr and assuming 20k miles a year of driving and 15k of that on electric only {14 kW hr battery providing 20 miles of driving} the cost of fuel is $682.50 in electricity and $1,500 in gas {assuming 12 mpg on the 6.8 gas motor with fuel at $3.60 a gallon} for a combined cost of $2,182.50 a year versus say $6,000 for gas only. With a price increase over the gas motor alone of $5,000 the fuel savings would completely recoup the costs in just under 16 months)

I've seen these running around Ann Arbor Michigan already. Chugging down I-94 as stripped chassis.

At least with electricity, we have the ability to be self-sufficient.

This is a good move on Ford's part for sure but the future of commercial trucks will be CNG. Watch and learn.

For once I agree with Bob...

I think the future...Not only for heavy duty trucks, but other auto's as well will be CNG.

@ Nate M - Big Bob is not Bob or Michigan Bob. I wouldn't want you to create any internal stress by agreeing with the regular Bob.


Big Bob is cool. He actually drives a Chevy Duramax!

I can't imagine how bad the power grid lights would dim while charging that thing up and for how many miles on a charge? Maybe 3?

WTF not cool. It's like a tough truck went BrokeBack. I HATE prius' so I will equally hate this sissy truck crap. And no I don't care how much it can tow/haul, if its a hybrid it's a sissy truck!!

@ Greg

Very mature...

According to Greg the Silverado Hybrid is a Sissy truck. Lol!

@mhowarth if you don't like how i type my post then don't read them whiner

Well according to Greg all trains that can haul like you know 79,917,000 lbs each (figure from GE locomotives {170 747's worth of weight}) are also sissy because they are hybrids.

Better technology is better!

Huh, I've never seen AC power cords attached to diesel electric trains. Maybe toy train sets?


My bad, I didn't realize Big Bob was not the same as ''other Bobs'' My apologize's to you Big Bob.

No offense!

I drive a 43 year old GMC, BTW.

This just in:

Ford shipping $1 billion to India to build a plant there! More loses for the U.S. worker in favor of Indian workers!

Back to thread:

More reliance on the power grid means more government controls over us all...

And more vulnarable the power grid becomes to attacks!

Look at all of you people complaining. I guess you feel like less of a man if you are driving a truck powered by "alternative" energy? We have electric motors here that would put our diesel fire pumps to shame in energy efficiency, torque, and noise. Electric is much more efficient.

And please, spare me the Teabagger/fringe republican rhetoric. I didn't vote for Obama myself (voted for Ron Paul), but the hatred for the president showing up in news about trucks is rediculous to say the least. I didn't think I was reading teabagger reunion remarks when I decided to look at the comments section of this article, maybe I was wrong........

Oxi, you can't be that dumb. That plant is going to build cars for India. Same article said Toyota is investing $220,000,000 there as well.

This kind of truck could definitely be good or urban delivery- say 10-20 stops within a dozen miles. Pairing the hybrid drive with a gasoline engine probably makes more sense.
In the forseeable future, electric and extended electric drive will become more and more prevailant. Batteries are getting cheaper and better, soon giving real usable range you can actually pay for.
@Lou- I care, because I fund the Govt. with my tax dollars.
@Allistar- yeah, H2 is pretty sweet, what with its 10% energy return...unless we put up a nuke plant every few hundred miles, no way can we have the surplus electricity that would take.

Mike, Please stop the posts with teabagger this and teabagger that.

Not only is it off-topic, the term refers to a sexual act that can probably be found on or the like but is not for a family-friendly site like If liberals support gays then they should not be using derogatory gay terms about gays.


I am on your side but that means all off-topic comments (there are a ton of anti-government or anti-progressive people rants on here) need to be deleted and all libelous comments should also go since there is a lot of false info/lies put on here that could have a negative impact to one or more of the automakers or suppliers written on by Mike in his great website.

There's nothing wrong with using technology to increase performance, and fuel performance is one parameter. Detroit ignored multi-gear transmissions for years until the market forced them to offer them.

Hybrids are the same thing. Toyota and Honda did well with them in cars. But now Ford has to be a leader in getting it to do well in a truck.

But none of that means we can't drill either after Obama loses in a landslide in 2012.

Nothing wrong with that. The railway operators of America have been using diesel-electric hybrids for decades since they outperform steam locomotives.

Just a comment about hybrid engineering. The fact that anti-technology "teabagger" saying leftists have hijacked the terminology is unfortunate, but it doesn't negate the underlying advantages.



Tea Party:

Any questions?


We need to expand the the output of the electrical grid to supply plug-in's. It is idiocy to oppose nuclear power because it is the absolute best way to do it realistically. Obama opposes nuclear power in general which by itself makes hybrids a joke and not serious. Vote Obama out of office in 2012.

Full-size trucks don't have the proper ground clearance for the hybrid battery placement.

The Tacoma has the proper ground clearance to be a hybrid trucks and go off-road.


So now your an apologist!

Who says Ford cannot build them here and ship them there?

It will be classed as an export and the U.S. gets the credit and jobs!

Why are so many U.S. companies operating in communist China building products solely for the U.S. market? I bring that up to eliminate the travel distance of a finished product.

Soon GM will be building cars in communist China soley for the U.S. market!

Ford could build them in economically depressed California or even Michigan and ship them abroad but then again that would require investement in the U.S., such a sin these days for U.S. companies!

Good move.

Many Shuttle Vans ply only 100 - 200 Miles / day. With a 50 mile battery range and slow charging the vehicle once at night and fast charging once in day during lunch time, it can do 100 miles in battery alone saving lot of gas.

BTW, Electricity comes from Coal, Gas, Nuclear, Hydro, Wind, Solar, Wood, Oil and so on, so its prices will not skyrocket.

But gasolene/diesel/jet fuel comes from Oil and its prices rise with oil prices. I dont know why people support Oil even though they live in a big oil importing country - USA.

Read this guys. Japanese used the 110V outlet from their hybrids for cooking during the Quake/Tsunami.

Another advantage of EVs / Plugins.

Ford engineers didn't develop the technology. Ford is copying the GM hybrid Silverado.

GM is still the most fuel efficient company that produces trucks today.

GM is better than Ford and nothing the Hybrid Super Duty does will change that.

Just wait for the 2014 Silverado and you will see what I have been telling you all along is right.

Ground clearance won't be an issue for the batteries as there is more room to store them on a full-size. Nice try, Oxi.

If any truck should be a hybrid next it should be the Tacoma.

Tacoma has more ground clearance for the hybrid battery and with oxi's new deaver springs he will be one ton capable!

It's the best of both worlds.

here are some of oxi's off-roading tips and how they relate to the Tacoma being the best off-road hybrid combination:

Now OEM manufacturer's are getting better with building with off-road in mind but in reality the true off-roader buys a as close to stripped or base model pickup for their daily needs and then builds it up. The factory will never build the ideal trail rig. Jeep's and Landcruiser's come close but how many do you see stock on the trails?

I commend the Heavy Duty Ram, Ford's Raptor, Jeep's, Land Rover and yes Toyota with the FJ and the Tacoma.

The reason I place the Tacoma with this group is the fact that Toyota has been offering locking rear diff back in 1995, had suberb ground clearance and solid wheel travel for a factory born pickup. And also they have the PreRunner option, the look of a 4wd yet it is only a 2wd. That sells to the desert crowd and southern states. In fact when I raced in Baja it did not take long for me to gut the front end of my 86 Toyota pickup to lighten the weight up there and get more wheel travel.

Anyway, ground clearance is number 1. You need it to play off-road or else you will damage just about everything. You can have 1,000 hp but only 2 inches of clearance, your not going to go far off-road. You will be like a road racing vehicle stuck in the little grass!

Clearance can be achieved by different suspension packages or cranking of t-bars but in all reality, larger tires get you the clearance. Their is a price to running huge tires also, so you have to balance that out.

You will now need to control those larger tires, so a beefier suspension will be needed and try to get more wheel travel for not only going over obstacles but comfort on the street and the ability to off-road at speed and not loose control.

Skid plates, skid plates, skid plates, nuff said!

Design bumpers to max approach and departure angles, hold things like winches if you seek them and if you do not have a roof basket or something like that, your bumpers can also hold a shovel, ax and pick, necessary tools for off-roading. Recovery points, recovery points please!

If you can try and get an electric fan up front. You can then control the fan, this will be useful when you cross water or deep mud. The fan could break into your radiator. Shutting it off at this point could save the radiator, etc... Speaking of water, if you seek, get a snorkle. I recall a friend back in the day went full throttle into a deep water/mud pit, because of his lack of clearance sucked in some cold water into his intake and blew the motor.

Lockers and gearing to assist off-road would be ideal and only helps. Spare tires should be secure and away from underneath. Good luck trying to change one in the deep off-road. Mount them up like on a swing door bumper like I have, in the bed or above in a basket.

Hi-Lift jacks are ideal for the unknown off-road but I still carry a smaller normal jack. The Hi-Lift can also be used as a winch, so can a grip hoist. The U.S. military trains on recoverying vehicles by hand, so don't just rely on other vehicles or winches all the time.

Solid stowage of gear, you do not want loose gear off-road, it will damage and annoy you. Dual battery system will help with winches, air lockers, off-road lights, radio equipement etc...

Headers are a cheap way to get more torque and even modding your exhaust and tucking it out of harms way. Sorry having straight pipes means squat, you do not want to be that loud off-road. Many recreactional areas are now checking for exhaust noise.

Do not forget about the clutch or flywheel especially with larger tires. That is a good way to loose your torque. And protect those driveshafts by any means. Mine is a 2-piece system at first I thought this sucks but Toyota had the right mindset. If you get high-centered I am glad I have that 2-piece unlike some older full-size that have that massive one that hangs too low.

And dammit, grease your points underneath and change your fluids often! In fact get diff breathers likewise. I plan on a custom one that will be mounted on the inside of the the little door that hides the gas filler cap. It will be hidden and out of the way.

Their are many more like rock sliders, heck even foilage wires and so many other stuff but to be a true off-roader I doubt an OEM will ever achieve this. What you should seek is the best from the factory as a base to build upon. The path of least spending to achieve your goals!

The Tacoma does it for me and I am sure other makes and models does it for yoy guys.

Oxi - You won't see vehicles getting imported into the US from China or India. Why? Cost prohibitive. Why do you think foreign makers are building faclities in the USA for their cars and trucks? Shipping autos is much different than shipping TV's or boxes of widgets.

Mrknowitall - I was being sarcastic when I said "Government will buy most of them so who cares what the cost is? "

I do not think the current electrical grid can handle more strain. Upgrade, improve, and build parallel systems. If we are going to be more reliant on electricity - make the system more safe.

Back on topic - in cold climates battery systems don't fare well. IIRC the Prius had to be run for 15 miles continuously to warm up the battery sytem so it would actually be efficient.
I can't see these trucks working very well on batteries in sub zero weather.

Does anyone have any info on the effects of cold weather on hybrids, and plugins?

Battery full charge/drive range is suprisingly missing. Manufacturers love to sell planned obsolescence and hybrid/plug-in are the new, next best idea reeking with it.

Gentlemen and Ladies, I support electric powered cars and trucks for a number of reasons: epwr is cheaper, just as powerful, less polluting, potentially 100% American, and not poised to over power our electrical grid if enough localized power sources are used.

The US now sends more than $400 billion out of the country each year to foreign oil producing countries - some of which don't like us that much. If we could conceivably cut that in half, say, the price of oil could stabilize with the reduction in demand. Some businesses and homes that do or will have plug-in hybrids have or will put up solar panels that create kilowatts that are sent directly to their local grids during the day (when kwhrs are expensive) in return for credits or cash that can be used when plugging in at night (when kwhrs are cheap).

Locally produced sources don't lose as much energy in transmission as remote power plants, so fewer power plants need to be built. It's true that the input of power from a massive wind farm might require a re-do of the grid at significant cost, but that can come gradually, just as the national network of gas stations was developed. It's also true that a lot of the alternative energy activity is subsidized by the government, but so is oil through many different tax breaks and depletion allowances --- that's why the same oil that we buy from foreign sources used by Europeans ends up costing us $4 per gallon, and the average European the equivalent of about $12 per gallon.

As oil is harder and more expensive to extract from 6-mile deep ocean wells, or from tar sand, or shale, and as it becomes more scarce, against the demand from roaring economies of China, Brazil, India, etc, the price will continue to increase to the point where it won't be able to compete with locally-produced electricity. Then, we'll have the choice to use partially subsidized local, "green" sources, U.S,-abundant (and clean) natural gas, U.S.-abundant but not so clean coal,or U.S.-abundant nuclear material, but only from very carefully designed nuclear reactors.

Peak (easy to get) oil is over. Hydrogen is not anywhere close to being practical. Bio fuels (other than food crop-based) will hold an important niche, but can't replace petroleum. We'd better get hot to make electricity work the best way we can. Check out the Fisker Karma for a really non-sissy hybrid.

@Gary Hubbard
Solar power is fine if you live in an area with plenty of sunshine. I assume that is the case for you as you did say that "solar panels that create kilowatts that are sent directly to their local grids during the day (when kwhrs are expensive) in return for credits or cash that can be used when plugging in at night (when kwhrs are cheap)."
There may be a peak use in electricity during the day for commercial reasons, but many areas see a peak in the day due to cooling ie. A/C in hot regions.
I live in a reagion that uses more energy in the winter and I consume more energy at night (again because it is cooler).
We might have 16 hrs. of sunrise in the summer, but we get 8 hrs. of sunrise in the winter.
Solar power won't work for me if they are covered under 6 feet of snow. Solar power will not heat my home with limited daylight.
We do need alternative energy sources. Those sources should NOT be subsidized or artificailly propped up by tax payer money. We are currently seeing what happens when the taxpayer runs out of money.

Hi Lou

For heating, natgas or wood or a combo of them is the best way. Solar is good only for summer whether its for Electricity for AC or for charging our cars.

Even in northern cities like New York or Chicago, we have around 8 months of sunshine which can be of great use.

@Max Reid - with all due respect - New York or Chicago ain't Northern. try Canada or Alaska. That is Northern.
Like Einstein said "Its all relative". LOL
Wood as a heat source isn't very good. Wood in pellet form is efficient.
I do agree that there is some benefit to solar panels. I've only seen one house with such a set up.
There needs to be a (financial not weird science) cost benefit analysis of everything we do.
If I can't afford it, I don't want it.
If it won't pay for itself, I don't want it.
Government subsidization just leads to financial crisis.

This will be a benefit for the Ford trucks. When their engines fail they may be able to limp back to repair shop without calling a tow truck.

I agree with the above CNG or LPG fuel option bloggers. The infrastructure is in place, big oil/gas is buying up all the land they don't already own with gas below, and the customers are waiting. I just can't wait to see how the drivers react( worst enemy of any truck), when they are at the 5th stop and go to turn the thing on!! Lotsa luck here.

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