It's Time for Truckmakers to Reconsider Hybrid Pickups

Via Hybrid Pickup II

By Tim Esterdahl

While Ford should be applauded for offering the small and, presumably, fuel-efficient 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine in its upcoming 2015 F-150, more can be done. The use of new metals and fuel-saving technologies are changing the business case for hybrid pickup trucks, making them more viable. Here's why.

Early General Motors hybrid half-ton pickups failed, perhaps because they didn't have the technology offerings, better payback calculations, or weight savings available today. Increasingly, truckmakers are using aluminum (a recent report says 80 percent of trucks will use it by 2025), stop-start technology, cylinder deactivation and high-strength steel to build trucks that weigh substantially less and provide better fuel economy. This could lead to an entirely new truck or, at the very least, a hybrid-powered truck that's attractive to consumers.

The Business Case for a Hybrid Truck

Full-size trucks today are overbuilt and rarely used to their full capacity. This is especially true when you consider how much more powerful half-ton trucks are than they were just 10 or 20 years ago.

In 2004 many pickups could tow upward of 8,000 pounds while getting a respectable, for the time, 16 to 18 mpg highway (EPA estimates for two-wheel-drive V-8s). Now several trucks tow upward of 11,000 pounds while achieving better fuel economy. Even under load, fuel economy isn't likely to drop as much as older models did.

Yet these more powerful trucks aren't used to full capacity. Mike Cairns, Ram's vehicle line executive, recently said in a Google Chat that the majority of half-ton truck owners tow around 6,000-7,000 pounds and only 200-300 pounds of payload (typically when hauling dirt or other landscaping materials). For reference, these are the type of loads midsize truck can handle.

With this information, market trends and the growing push for better fuel economy, the ideal truck would have the capacity of a midsize truck, the cargo room of a full-size pickup and the fuel economy of a hybrid car (similar to a Honda Ridgeline).

While building a hybrid midsize-spec full-size truck makes sense on paper, truckmakers haven't gone this route. They still rely on buzzwords like "capable, work, maximum towing, reliable and dependable" to sell their trucks. A capable work truck with a maximum towing package doesn't really scream hybrid midsize.

Also, price is a big concern. As much as truck fans hate to think of their preferred manufacturer as a "business," truckmakers are building products. Building a hybrid that retails for considerably more than a competitor is just bad business.

Hybrid Full-Size Truck

Where does a hybrid powertrain work? From a business-case point of view, putting a hybrid powertrain in a full-size truck makes more sense. With the average price of a full-size truck at $39,915 and climbing, consumers may be willing to fork out the money for a hybrid in exchange for better fuel economy.

The rebirth of diesel engines in the half-ton market may be pushing us toward this future. Ram says its new EcoDiesel 1500 is selling quite well, with the average time on a dealership lot at nine days (at least that's what it was in the first few months). That's well below the industry average of around 68 days.

Also, it seems truck buyers are willing to pay a little extra money for this advanced technology so it's possible to imagine that manufacturers could develop a fuel-efficient full-size truck and price it higher to take some financial risk out of the project. If a hybrid pickup truck doesn't sell as fast as they would hope, they could possibly drop the price a bit without sacrificing profits too much. This typically isn't possible in other automotive segments.

Lastly, if aluminum catches on and is used throughout the full-size segment, going hybrid makes even more sense. One of the big challenges with hybrid is powering heavier vehicles. Once you make them lighter, it makes it much easier to realize better fuel economy with such an engine.

Who Builds It

2013-GMC-Sierra-Hybrid-005-medium (1) II

Offering a niche product takes a lot of resources and makes sense for only a couple of automakers. These automakers have to be willing to take the plunge, have the technology on hand and have the production capacity. This narrows it down to Honda and Nissan.

For both Honda and Nissan, the business case seems pretty strong. They each have access to a hybrid powertrain offering, have the production capacity to build a small initial offering and have additional vehicles in their lineup to offset initial low sales volumes.

Also, they both could use a boost to their truck offerings. Honda and Nissan are solidly at the bottom of full-size truck market share. Offering a unique product could help them boost sales and gain customers at competitors' expense.

Honda's Ridgeline is already set up for hybrid adaptation. Consumers know the Ridgeline isn't the typical work truck, and Honda could easily market the new Ridgeline as a "weekend" landscaper's vehicle.

For Nissan, the plan to bring the large Cummins diesel to the market means it doesn't currently have any high-fuel-efficiency models to offer to fleet or gas-conscious customers. Offering a full range of products is important to every company, and Nissan could benefit from offering something in that segment.

Who Doesn't Build It

Toyota may have come to mind when thinking about hybrid powertrains, but it simply doesn't have the capacity to build any more trucks. The San Antonio plant is at full capacity building the Tundra and Tacoma. Without a significant investment in capacity there, Toyota is limited. Toyota executives have been reluctant to pull the trigger because the economic collapse hit the company hard and plant building costs went well over budget.

What about Ford and Ram? Ford has been slowly gaining success with its hybrid offerings, but it's promoting the EcoBoost engine for improved fuel economy in the pickup segment. It is hard to see Ford offering a different powertrain since it would be akin to admitting the EcoBoost isn't the answer.

Although Ram experimented with hybrid powertrains several years ago, Ram doesn't have access to a hybrid powertrain like the other truckmakers. Fiat does not have anything strong enough, and purchasing a high-tech drivetrain is too expensive.

What about Via Motors?

If you are an astute follower of pickup truck news, you may be wondering how Via (pronounced VeeYaa) Motors fits into this discussion. Via has pioneered a viable electric hybrid powertrain for GM trucks, SUVs and vans; it purchases GM vehicles, installs extended-range plug-in electric powertrains and then sells the trucks under its own brand name. Its electric powertrain offers fleet customers a unique product.

"An owner normally spends $400 on a truck payment and then another $400 on fuel and maintenance, said David West, Via Motors spokesperson. "All we have done is taken away that second $400 a month and put it into the payment. The economics are great, but it is just a bit hard to swallow. It seems hard since you are putting that extra $400 a month into your truck payment and electric bill."

How much electricity do you need? West says Via bases its numbers on one charge a night and it works out to $2 a day to drive the truck. How is that possible? This is due to driving on electricity only most of the time. He said last year he drove his truck 50,000 miles on 28 gallons of gasoline. This sure makes electric seem like the way to go.

"The truck is the perfect place to start with electrification in the workforce," West said. "The truck is a vehicle you can't do without. You can't downsize it. You have to change fuels. Once you get to electric or a hybrid backup, even though the initial cost is higher, you save a ton of money over gas engines long term."

While Via Motors has a good business case with total cost of ownership and driving costs, it relies on original-equipment truckmakers for its base vehicle. While this allows Via to keep research and development costs down - it doesn't have to build its own trucks - it also limits how innovative the company can be.

For example, the best way to improve fuel economy is to drop the weight. And the current best strategy to drop weight is to use aluminum like in the new Ford F-150. Via Motors has to wait until GM goes aluminum before it can pass this benefit to its customers.

This business model limits what Via can do and leaves it somewhat exposed; if customer demand grows quickly for the Via Motors' trucks, other manufacturers could simply offer their own system.

Speaking of customers, West said Via is continuing to build a larger fleet business before it offers its vehicles to average consumers. However, when it does, it will be an interesting option for many truck buyers.

As for the other major manufacturers, consumer demand is what will push them into offering hybrid pickup trucks. As consumers demand fuel-efficient engines with good towing capacities, the business case for a hybrid full-size truck will get better.

Manufacturers' images



Hybrid is a no go.

I owned a hybrid car, a 2006 Honda Accord. The batteries are still far to expensive to replace and considering that trucks are kept longer and last long then cars I doubt owners of trucks are going to be willing to put out up to $5,000 dollars to replace the hybrid battery packs when they go bad. When I go rid of the Accord the battery pack was just starting to go bad and the replacement cost was anywhere from $2,800 dollars up to $5,000 dollars depending on the dealer. The $2,800 dollar cost was Honda's dealer cost for the dealer. Doubtful many dealers were going to sell that battery pack at dealer cost unless they wanted to keep someone in a Honda in the future.

Hybrids have not really taken off in lighter cars. The problem is you have two systems and more parts to break. Manufacturers have figured out they can build more fuel efficient vehicles with out doing a hybrid. Smaller displacement, more gears, and diesel are all putting hybrids on the back burner.

This talk about batteries being the bugaboo of hybrids has been debunked as nonsense. The Prius has been on the market since 1997, world wide since 2000. More than a million of them have been sold in the US. In February 2011 Consumer Reports decided to look at the lifetime of the Prius battery and the cost to replace it. The magazine tested a 2002 Toyota Prius with over 200,000 miles on it, and compared the results to the nearly identical 2001 Prius with 2,000 miles tested by Consumer Reports 10 years before. The comparison showed little difference in performance when tested for fuel economy and acceleration. Overall fuel economy of the 2001 model was 40.6 miles per US gallon while the 2002 Prius with high mileage delivered 40.4 miles per US gallon. The magazine concluded that the effectiveness of the battery has not degraded over the long run. The cost of replacing the battery varies between $2,200 and $2,600 from a Toyota dealer, but low-use units from salvage yards are available for around $500.

Hybrids are too much of a compromise and add too much weight, complexity and expense to Pick Up Trucks. Turbo Diesel is the best way to go and has been proven beyond all reasonable doubt. PUTC stop peddling this nonsense!!!

The reason that past hybrid trucks have failed and there is no current market for them is because they simply cannot return any meaningful savings in fuel.

Regarding electric trucks, I read the following quote: "An owner normally spends $400 on a truck payment and then another $400 on fuel and maintenance, said David West, Via Motors spokesperson. "All we have done is taken away that second $400 a month and put it into the payment."

So even with an electric truck, you really wouldn't be saving any money. If you have to put what would have been a gas money into the payment on the truck itself, that doesn't help the consumer.

Until hybrid and electric trucks can offer much better fuel economy at a reasonable cost to the consumer, I will keep driving what I drive.

I think a 1500 Diesel pickup with an E-assist capable of 20 MPH would be a natural energy saver. There are hydraulic accumulators that are capable of storing energy acquired when stopping. There are several methods let's try them and then decide which ones are best.

Bull you are going to get a salvage yard to give up a hybrid battery for only $500 dollars.

Parts are no longer cheap at salvage yards. Why do you think so many salvage yards have gone out of business? They decided their old parts were worth almost as much as brand new parts so they put themselves out of business due to their high prices.

My Hybrid Accords hybrid battery was going back at 125,000 miles. The cost at our Honda dealer to replace it would have been $4,500 dollars.

Some Honda dealers have been reported to sell the battery at dealer cost which was $2,800 dollars plus labor to install so you are still over $3,000 dollars.

Trucks are on the road a lot longer than cars so this battery expense would be an issue. Further it would drive down the value of used trucks that were hybrid due to not knowing if you were going to get hit with a several thousand dollar battery replacement bill.

Also trucks are larger and heavier than are hybrid cars so to make them effective the hybrid battery pack would have to be bigger which means more expensive.

So far hybrid pickups have been a failure because it does not offer much in the way of savings in fuel economy.

Oh they might sell them to rich yuppie types but for the average person the cost would far out weigh any gain they would receive.

So, trucks are always built to accommodate 4WD, so I have a great idea. Ditch the transfer case on a hybrid pickup and put the electric motor up front driving the front wheels. When you need 4WD (which isn't very often for most people) the electric motor puts power to the front and the liquid fuel engine drives the rear. Put an electronic locking diff up there while you're at it. When in hybrid mode, the electric motor up front drives the truck up to a certain speed and then the engine takes over. When you brake, the electric motor goes into regeneration mode and charges the battery. Most of your braking happens up front anyway, so you can potentially generate more power than if you were using the rear wheels for that. Less complication and maintenance from the elimination of the transfer case, locking hubs, and front driveshaft.

"In 2004 many pickups could tow upward of 8,000 pounds while getting a respectable, for the time, 16 to 18 mpg highway"

I call blatant bold faced lying BS on that statement.

In 2004 V8 gas half ton trucks could barely get those numbers on the highway unloaded without computer tuning and airflow improvements. Hell even modern V8 trucks couldn't get those kinds of numbers while towing. So either you are flat out making things up or you need to change the wording so that it doesn't insinuate that they got that sort of mileage towing.

Maybe... a huge MAYBE a 2004 diesel with all the emissions controls deleted, no pilot injection, and significant airflow mods could get that kind of mileage towing 8k lbs, I dont have as much experience there.

I want some of what you are smoking.

The analogy about moving $400 from operation to capital expense proves hybrids don't pencil out.

If you double your purchase price, your ownership risk is much higher. What if it's wrecked or stolen? I'd rather pay as I go.

First, it's time to repeal these silly, socialistic CAFE standards. The Feds have no business dictating what manufacturers should be producing (isn't that what is done in a Communist society?). Second, let the market price of fuel determine what people want to buy and as a result of that, what the automakers produce (isn't that what should done in a free-market society?). Third, try diesel rather than hybrid powertrains in pickups.

This guy paid $600 for a replacement battery for his Honda hybrid, so I guess it isn't just fantasy.

Toyota's Hino system looks like it goes with a conventional automatic trans. That means it could probably be scaled down to fit the NEXT GEN Tundra. It wouldn't surprise me though to see a hybrid midsize first. The Scion P/U project has been canned, but there might still be room in the Prius Family.

If the scientists that are currently working on the Lithium-air batteries are able to get it to work on a bigger scale (which is only a matter of time) then it would be a huge game changer. Not only are Lithoum-air batteries lighter and smaller, but they have the capability to hold up to 10 times more than current batteries. That would turn that 30 mile range hybrid into a 300 mile range. The power density rivals that of gasoline.

Those who automatically think of tree huggers or enviro nuts when they think of hybrid or electrical motors need to think again. These types of motors have been used in the industrial and commercial industry for years. From electric forklifts to just about every train you see being a hybrid, they have proven their worth. The reason being is that they can do what no combustion engine can which is have 100% of it's torque from 0 rpm. As soon as you hit the pedal you are given all the torque that engine can produce instead of having to wait for it to rev up to a few thousand rpm to get there.

The major downside to electric motors have always been it's batteries and charge time. If this ever gets solved then I see electric motors being a dominant engine once people actually try them and get over seeing them as "tree hugger" engines.

There is plenty of oil, the air is clean, cut the BS! I thought this forum was about trucks not environmental crap!

It doesn't seem to me that Hybrid technology is that exciting to a lot of truck owners (correct me if I'm wrong), maybe it is an initial cost thing right now (and not a significant enough efficiency improvement).
It goes without saying that the new F-150 will be a game-changer when it comes to power and efficiency. Also, if I understand correctly the 2.8 Duramax in the Colorado translates to a 29 mpg combined rating (would that be mid-20's in the city and close to mid-30's on the highway?). As a truck owner I'm more intrigued by diesel than hybrid technology (though VIA seems to have an excellent set-up).

As long as Congress and the EPA continue to enforce Corporate Average Fuel Economy Requirements, "environmental crap" will continue to be a major part of

@BigEnos: "Ditch the transfer case on a hybrid pickup and put the electric motor up front driving the front wheels. When you need 4WD...the electric motor puts power to the front and the ... engine drives the rear. ... When in hybrid mode, the electric motor up front drives the truck up to a certain speed and then the engine takes over. When you brake, the electric motor goes into regeneration mode and charges the battery. Most of your braking happens up front anyway, so you can potentially generate more power than if you were using the rear wheels for that."

An interesting concept, but you're ignoring the weight and other factors of that long driveshaft--especially in 4WD. Your concept is good and logical in many ways, but illogical in others. For instance, do you intend to put both the electric motor and the engine up front? Why? Why not instead make it front wheel drive under the gasoline engine where it has much shorter half-shafts to push (less parasitic loss) and potentially better handling and put the electric motor in back where the differential would be? The battery pack could easily ride between the frame rails where the drive shaft normally goes and the electric motor--which puts out maximum torque at VERY low rpm--drives the rear wheels. In 4x4 mode you typically want maximum torque at the rear of the vehicle PLUS the electric motor could help in hill holding through regenerative braking, though admittedly you are right about most braking being performed by the front wheels. Such a system would offer better balance and I believe notably better economy both in manufacturing and operation.

Of course, an all-electric model properly designed could potentially work even better, but the infrastructure for on-the-road recharging needs to be built up some more. The advantage of an AEV is the simple fact that you normally don't need to refuel the way you do a liquid-fuel vehicle; you can recharge it at home (or the shop) every night and get a typical day's worth of driving at next to no added cost. The only time you would need to worry about "range anxiety" is if you're taking a cross-country drive to the next city or going out into the remotest 'boonies'. Basically, if you can get to your destination and back on a half-tank of gas, a full charge should manage the same distance or more. (Depending on who builds the AEV, that is.)

@Montesa_VR: so he paid $600 for it USED, so he might get 75K more miles, installed himself. How heavy are those, anyway? I have swapped "just a few" forklift batteries, heavy and big, and need a crane. Let's hope these are much lighter.

Then he also said mileage dropped at 120k, so that sort of debunks Consumer Reports debunking.

Then, he states mileage went to 40 but was 40 to 43.

Sounds like a lose lose.

Does he have to dump off the battery, at his expense, or is it like a gas car battery, where I get cash for recycling? If so, I would think think the salvage yard would want it as a core? They want cores for a lot of other things, buy a bumper, they want a core, a cyl. head, an exhaust manifold...

40 mpg cars are there on gas now, Dodge Dart does and I can probably find 10 others.

The hybrid works ok in town though, my step ma sold advertising and drove many short trips in her 2006 or 2007 Prius. It was good to her, until she went off-road and met head on with a tree, and the airbag never opened. She got bruised up. Toyota will probably recall those soon.

I woulda thought they would have an "El Camino-Ranchero- ish" Prius for folks like MaXx that are never happy. Being FWD, it can be widened to seat 3, and not have to straddle the hump.

"The analogy about moving $400 from operation to capital expense proves hybrids don't pencil out. If you double your purchase price, your ownership risk is much higher. What if it's wrecked or stolen? I'd rather pay as I go."

You're right, it doesn't 'pencil out', but not in the way you think. VIA is effectively overcharging for their 30-mile design and getting away with it simply because they have no competition. With the effective range they advertise, their truck is no more useful than a Chevy Volt except in VERY limited circumstances. If the truck NEVER leaves the work area--for example a maintenance crew at a major plant or theme park--then it's going to be enough. But if it's a farm operation, a construction crew or almost any other purpose where driving more than 30 miles can be expected, then it's useless. And one tank of gas in a week does NOT add up to $400 per month; estimating 600 miles per month at 15mpg you come out burning only 40 gallons of fuel at about $140 per month. It does NOT 'pencil out'.

The thing is, one company has already demonstrated that they can build a vehicle with over 300 hp equivalent and get as much as 265 miles of range on a single charge--even before new battery technologies would could more than double that in the same weight and volume. Said company has already hinted that they are actively working on the design of a pickup truck that would blow this VIA away at the same price. It's just a matter of time before battery power replaces liquid fuels for anything short of long, cross-country drives and even then will likely have the infrastructure in place to make it not only feasible, but practical.

The battery packs on the first generation Prius weigh 118 pounds.

I commuted back and forth to work in a new loaner Prius for a couple of days, 100 mile round trip with everything from 70 mph highway to congested city driving, and got over 49 mpg. I don't know of any other car that can match that.

My son has a mid-2000s Prius with around 150,000 miles. It has been the most trouble free of the five vehicles he has owned.

Didn't GM's lite-hybrid pickups still use the 4 speed automatic with 5.3 V8? 2005 MY: 18/21 for 4x2, 17/19 (and the EPA changed the rating metric for MY 2008)
and the full hybrid use the CVT/IVT transmission, with semi-Atkinson cycle 6.0 V8? 2010 MY: 21/22

So the new '15 Ford F150, with 2.7 V6, in best case configuration: 4x2, 3.31 axle ratio, Regular cab, 6.5' bed, at best is only going to return 20/25
and the worst case: 4x4, 3.73 axle, SuperCrew, 6.5' would be 16/21.
Lets see how much/little improvement the 10 speed automatic provides before deciding on hybrids.

(Early General Motors hybrid half-ton pickups failed) Yeah it was could of dumb to make a Hybrid then stick the biggest fuel chugging eninge you got in you're line up with it LOL! Maybe it was reason to charge more money or to give people bigger engines with better MPG, while also improve Corporate Average Fuel Economy. They should of used the 4.3L like VIA or 5.3L would of made more sense then the 6.0L.

If they can make the battery packs lot more lighter so you can still get great payload rating, while offing more power and range for lot more money. Well then hybrids might start taking off.

kinda dumb* Damn typo's

Tim Esterdahl must get paid by the word to ramble.

Hybrid only works in the present scenario if pump gasoline heads north of $5 per gallon. At the current prices the ROI for hybrid is poor

A better investment would be smaller diesels in all the 1/2 tons.

Hi All,

It has probably been 6 months since I last made a comment here on PUTC but I do read the site multiple times per day. I have halfway been waiting for an article like this to pop up again because this is where some of the engineers and marketing guru's from the major automakers start to take note of what people are after and start to implement into the next generation of vehicles.

There have been a few interesting discussion about hybrid vs diesel tech and I'd like to opine as well.

@ Ram Big Horn 1500
Sorry to hear of your troubles with your Accord Hybrid. Honda did have some recall issues with 2005-2006 Civic Hybrids for failures and I have to imagine that since yours was built in the same timeframe that there were overlapping issues. Please note that this is very A-typical of hybrid batteries. The vast majority are exceeding 200,000 miles without failure although I do have to admit there is gradual degradation.

I can speak very knowledgably bout this since I still own a 2010 Prius (a gen3 model that the wife drives) The battery has degraded a bit to where our MPG's have fallen from what was a typical 51-53 mpg over the first 2 years to only about 46-48 now although I will say we experienced at solid 3 mpg hit when we replaced the OEM tires with new Michelin tires. They offer higher grip which I wanted for safety and responsiveness but they did knock the MPG rating down a bit. That said there isn't another gasoline powered car made in the US that can beat the MPG's in either city or highway mileage.

There is a downside to replacing batteries as they aren't cheap but the cost has rapidly decreased and a new/refurb pack today from Toyota, installed, is around $1800. Not cheap but considering that they are typically lasting north of 200k miles that isn't something most of us will ever have to worry about. Even so there are significantly less moving parts in the Prius. For example ours has zero belts of any kind in the no belts to wear out and replace...ever. That is probably a $1000-2000 savings over 250k miles. That right there is roughly equal to the price of the battery replacement. Next are the brakes. The regeneration cycle means that brakes are only used around 40-60% of the time to actual slow or stop the vehicle. We have 83,000 miles on our car and roughly 40% useful brake pad life left on the front and 75% rear. Although we will have to address the front pads eventually I doubt there is any conventionally powered vehicle on the road that has pad change intervals of 140-150k miles. That may not be super significant but an additional $250-400 in savings does start adding up.

I like the diesel options being added although I am probably a bigger proponent of electric or hybrid tech. The relative cost for a modern, emission compliant diesel is likely interchangeable with a standard hybrid powertrain (i.e. no plug ins with electric only ranges). If there is a difference I doubt it would exceed more than $1000 to the manufacturer. The larger the diesel the quicker this comes to parity due to needing urea systems in addition to the DPF. Diesels work well under steady state loads and longer run times. This would work well for say a contractor who typically has to drive 30+ miles to a job site or do deliveries between cities where the engine can fully warm up to get full efficiency benefits and steady speeds. Diesels will suck down nearly as much fuel when used in stop-and-go conditions like in town delivery vehicles, lots of traffic lights, short distances. This is the realm a hybrid would excel in.

In short there is likely no one single alternative that will work cart blanche for all users but I have to imagine that hybrids will be making a comeback into the truck world and for many of us that will work out great and for others there will options for long hauling and long commuting in diesels and better aero on conventionally powered trucks.

We all should be applauding the efforts made as a whole that advance technology, use resources more sparingly and still provide the capability we have come to expect. Kudos to the engineers, chemists, physicists that are making this happen.

wait didnt Volkswagen have a huge campaign that showed producing liti bats caused severe pollution???
I hope that isnt true but...

electric motors work well when kept clean and dry. problem batteries have is when they get cold they dont work well. I am sure in a nice climate with little water involved a hybrid is in its element. Put that car in NY,MN, or any area that gets hit with 4 full on seasons of the year and you have a car that will eventually not be worth anything in short order. to build a fully sealed electrical system thats impervious to the weather and snow melting chemicals would probably make the cars or trucks cost 100k! So thats what are future holds 100k for a pickup in 2025, if they actually go on and make everything hybrid. I doubt that hybrid will be anything more than a band aid FAD that was used till an actual good idea came along.

@Big Al from Oz, I realize trolls like to bash you at times (trolls will be trolls), there are still people that do appreciate your input. You probably see fuel efficiency in pickups down under that we haven't seen here in quite some time. What kind of efficiency are you seeing in those mid-sized diesels?

Where is the hydraulic Hybrid you reported Ford was working on?

I have actually just complete the FE figure for my pickup.

The vehicle is the Mazda BT50 with the 3.2 litre, 5 cylinder Duratorque. I'm returning an FE figure of 26mpg, since new in January 2012.

My driving conditions are unusual. I drive 2.5 miles to and from work each day (yes in a diesel). Most of my other driving is quite evenly split driving on the highway to and from Darwin at 70mph to 90mph on cruise. There is also a off roading, but in the big scheme of things it doesn't amount to much, maybe less than 1/2 mpg in my overall figure.

Our highways up here in the Top End of Australia are very, very open.

I have put on my first new set of rubber around 6 weeks ago and have only driven maybe 1 000 miles on them. It appears these tyres have increased my FE by around one litre per hundred kilometers. These tyres are actually the best compromise tyre I could find and are made in the USA.

They are BF Goodrich All Terrains, 17"/265/70s, ten ply. Much harsher ride, but aggressive enough for off roading. I also fitted CSA Jackal rims. Cost up here in Woop Woop was $2400 for a set of 4.

3 weeks ago in the States I went into Sears near Atlantic City and priced the tyres at $265 USD, I paid $395 AUD at tyre.

Actually tomorrow I'm driving to Darwin to pick up my new suspension kit by ARB. It's an Old Man Emu complete suspension change out that will give me 50mm or another 2" of lift. The lift isn't what important as the suspension.

Old Man Emu is the 'duck's gut' of off roading here. The complete kit will cost me $1 749.54 AUD. The kit also comes in 3 variations. They are classified by the vehicle continual load setting, ie, camper on the back will give you a constant load of around 600kg and my truck is generally unloaded. So my choice is the 0-300kg suspension kit. This kit doesn't reduce the manufacturers load rating.

With the new tyres being 70 series and not 65 and the suspension will give me 75mm or 3" of lift.

I think the best way to calculate FE is with a GPS. That extra litre of fuel use with the BF Goodrich might only be 1/2 a litre of fuel use. I still haven't worked that out.

I'm a huge advocate of diesel power. But, if you want a massive engine I also support that. Most of your average pickup owners' really don't require or want massive power.

We do have pickups that would average in the mid 30 mpg range. They aren't as powerful as my truck, but they are still good highway cruisers.

Hybrid tech is currently to far advanced for what we need. I do not object to this technology, like I don't object to full size trucks. If a person wants a hybrid pickup then buy one, but not with my tax dollars subsidising them.

This is where diesel will win out. The EU has some diesel cars that are actually rated to produce less pollutants than EVs.

I do feel the US regulatory bodies have screwed up. I do think the regulatory regime outside of the US is far better and more flexible in allowing the use of more efficient and existing technology.

This current technology, whether it be gasoline, diesel or CNG needs to be further exploited to keep the cost of vehicle ownership low. More expensive vehicles will affect industry and any economy.

Hybrid and EV technology needs to be kept to golf carts, forklift, smart phone and laptops. It shouldn't be subsidized.

brandon d said, "Put that car in NY,MN, or any area that gets hit with 4 full on seasons of the year and you have a car that will eventually not be worth anything in short order. "

Sorry, the Prius in very popular here in Minnesota, and my son's has made it through nine winters unscathed. Where do all these wives' tales start about hybrids?

^ maybe he got the cold weather no good on hybrid because the plug in cars get such a short range in the cold, look it up.

I know, it's not the same car.

This is an embeded add for Via motors, look how thye avoid slaming their partner GM for their failed hybrids, that in real world did worse than the 5.3 powerd equivliants. If any of you watch Last week tonight with John Oliver this was the type of stuff he talked about on sundays show, hiding adds as juralism

If you run ALL the numbers, you know the money you spend over the life of the truck on gas, say a truck gets 16 mpg average and you drive say for the sake of argument 16k a year that is 1 thousand gallons a year you are going to PAY for! and at $3.50 a gal that comes out to $3,500 DOLLARS/YEAR!!! and if you say the batteries last only 10 years? would you rather spend $35,000 on GAS or 5-10K on batteries? over the life of the truck, sure you have to take into consideration the electricity involved with running the truck and the man from VIA said it take about two bucks a night to charge his truck, even if that were to change to ten bucks a night, that is still only $3.7K a year! that you would still have to pay for in gas anyway! Now in reality we all know it is not going to be 10 bucks a night, more like 1/3 that much to drive what you need to. I still believe the math comes out in favor for the electric trucks, you just have to have the money up-front to go that way! and then save over the life of the truck and batteries!

@Big Al, Thanks for the info. Sounds like you have a cool set-up there. 26 mpg combined is not bad at all considering such a short commute. I imagine you see over 30 mpg on the highway pretty easy then?

Not interested!

Yep. At around 65mph I'll get over 30mpg.

My truck doesn't even have DPF, let alone DEF. So the time for the emissions equipment to warm up is much less than what you guys require from your diesels.

It still takes several miles for my emissions equipment to warm up. There is also a noticeable drop in engine output until the emissions equipment warms up.

So, if one of you guys in the US want to test drive a new and future diesel pickup, take one out for a longer period of time than you would with a gasoline engine.

This will allow for the diesel to warm up and perform at it's optimal potential. The difference is very pronounced.

We now know why Ram 1500's have the lowest cargo ratings:

"Yet these more powerful trucks aren't used to full capacity. Mike Cairns, Ram's vehicle line executive, recently said in a Google Chat that the majority of half-ton truck owners tow around 6,000-7,000 pounds and only 200-300 pounds of payload (typically when hauling dirt or other landscaping materials)."

The problem is the truck also needs to be capable of carrying 5 passengers and the associated gear.

Hybrids only work in warm climates and stop and go driving.

I'd rather see more small diesels. A drop in towing capacity makes sense but not a drop in cargo ratings.

"if aluminum catches on and is used throughout the full-size segment"

ummmm " if aluminum catches on"????????????????????

Ford has the 2015 F150.

The SuperDuty that burned to the ground was aluminum.

GM is going aluminum with the next gen 1500's.

Ram is reported to be heading that way for 2018.

It isn't "if" but "when".

I have a crazy idea called a modular engine where the owner can quickly add or remove sections to the engine depending on the power or gas mileage he needs.
The engine starts out as V4, then you add a section about the size of a suitcase of 2 cyls making it a V6, or you add 2 more sections making it a V8, every section is sealed with gears that lock together, make a hose quick disconnect that adds a fuel line and water cooling line, and a electrical plug connection to fire the injectors and plugs.
The exhaust? in my crazy mind I haven't figured that out yet

I could see a mild hybrid system combined with a gas or diesel engine if they continue to get better, smaller, and less expensive batteries and make the price difference much less. A mild hybrid system with aluminum bodies and more efficient transmissions would help manufacturers meet the deadlines for the new standards. Toyota has almost 20 years of proven reliability with the Prius.

the problem remains that too many truck owners are scared of what they dont understand. ive owned a number of trucks...and each was better thanthe last. But look back on here, truck guys threw a fit about turbo v6's, now they're half of what ford builds. truck guys threw a fit about 05 had an aluminum hooh and the new fords will be all aluminum. truck guys throwing a fit about hybrids, no big surprise.....

Electrics are the way of the future get used to it

100mpg hybrid electric truck

In wheel motors

AltE hybrid conversions

Electric race car

@Tom#3 - your idea could work if one could separate engine halves through a clutch system. Instead of current cylinder deactivation which has a ton of parasitic losses due to moving dead cylinders one could just shut down one V4 and run on the other one. When more power is needed one could activate the second V4 which would automatically recouple.

"if aluminum catches on and is used throughout the full-size segment"

ummmm " if aluminum catches on"????????????????????

Ford has the 2015 F150.
The SuperDuty that burned to the ground was aluminum.

GM is going aluminum with the next gen 1500's.

Ram is reported to be heading that way for 2018.

It isn't "if" but "when".

Posted by: Lou_BC | Aug 7, 2014 5:26:42 PM

Aluminum is NOT a good idea imo,
Its way too soft and expensive,they should go with Hemp plastic
much like Henry Ford tried in the 40s

@ CHEVROLET builds a better way to see the USA

- look up the word aluminum alloy or alloy for that matter.

- look up ballistics grade aluminum.

It all depends on the composition of the alloy.


What you are talking about is very similar to the OPOC (Opposed Piston Opposed Cylinder) engine. It is an engine conceived just recently by a Volkswagen engineer who left to start his own company producing these engines called Ecomotors. In fact, Bill Gates (yes the one who owns Microsoft) has even invested millions into Ecomotors. It has a lot of promise due to it's very simplistic design, modularity to easily connect two engines together, and it's ability to create a lot of power while using little fuel.

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