Ford and Toyota Race Toward Hybrid Pickup on Solo Paths

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Hybrid pickups look like they'll be a reality at some point in our future. Ford has the best-selling pickup truck in its stable, while Toyota has the best-selling hybrid vehicle. That's why it made a lot of sense when they announced a partnership more than four years ago to collaborate on a hybrid pickup truck. Then two years ago they split up, each deciding to tackle the hybrid pickup project on their own.

According to Automotive News, Koei Saga, head of powertrain technology at Toyota, says that Ford did little to bring any new ideas or technology to the table with Toyota providing the bulk of the ideas. According to a Ford spokesman, after an in-house feasibility study determined Ford's rear-drive technology was probably better suited to the needs of the typical F-150 customer, Ford bowed out of the partnership.

Different manufacturers have offered hybrid pickups in the past. Remember the Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid? In each case customers were not willing to accept the significant trade-offs required when purchasing a hybrid pickup. Although fuel prices are at record lows, times have clearly changed and consumers may now be more accepting of such technology. In fact, companies like VIA Motors are having good success using GM platforms (the Silverado 1500, the full-size van and the Suburban) for installing proprietary hybrid powertrains; VIA even predicts that the hybrid pickup market is likely to be more than 50,000 units by 2018.

Toyota declined to be specific about the timing of a possible Tundra or Tacoma hybrid pickup truck, but some reports have Ford on schedule to produce one before the end of the decade. The biggest issue, of course, is the pricing of the new powertrain. Buyers seem comfortable spending more for an upgraded powertrain, like the new Cummins in the 2016 Nissan Titan XD or the baby Duramax in the 2016 Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon, but will they spend more to get a "greener" pickup?

Current technology offerings will probably not change the minds of today's pickup buyers, but if anyone has an advantage on how to produce and market hybrid vehicles, Toyota seems to be the best situated for the challenge. Of course, a new type of pickup like Hyundai's Santa Cruz concept could also be well positioned to offer a new type of powertrain. Expect more information about green powertrain advancements in the coming years.

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There goes Scott with his hatred of diesels again.

Posted by: roadram | Dec 3, 2015 11:46:03 AM
I got a diesel. 2015 vw. Rather boring slow vehicle. Couldn't imagine that turd of a motor in a pickup. Very expensive services as well. You have to use that low ash euro spec oil that is very spendy...... Like the ram ecodiesel. I bought cause I really liked my gas powered 5 cylinder Jetta that the youngest kid drives....... And I didn't like my daughters Ford Focus which was my other choice I was considering.

Right! Diesels are very overratted, and people who know this are those who work on and with trucks. Or you drove a vee dub dee.

Ugh! Forget about hybrids and just go full battery electric! I'd prefer to have vehicles either run on pure gas or pure electricity. Vehicles that try to do both end up being potentially more troublesome than a vehicle running one source of energy.

Right! Diesels are very overratted, and people who know this are those who work on and with trucks. Or you drove a vee dub dee.

Posted by: Tool man | Dec 3, 2015 4:13:34 PM
My work truck is a ram 5500 cummins. Diesels are great for work trucks or heavy tows.

For day to day transportation there is nothing cost savings or earth shattering about them. By hey are rather boring and expensive.

@papa jim--You missed the point as usual. Hybrid power is not new, it was used in locomotives long before there was a Prius. Unless you have blinders on you ought to be able to get my point.

Big Al - on top of all your false doomsday predicitons with Ford's beer can trucks & then suggest an icon Bronco name for a light weight Assie designed/Asian built SUV is an insult. It proves what we've always known - you know nothing about US trucks other than what you read off sites. I kindly suggest you stick with what you know; your butt-ugly BT50 (which by the way the redesigned version is not better - test drove one last week) & all the other Asian built trucks that flood down

Some of us on this site have lived/experienced & still own real US trucks - take myself for e.g; fondest memories growing up with my Dad's '54 F100 in the 60's until he sadly sold it to buy a spanking new F100 '74 Super Cab w/straight 6. He then invested in '78 Bronco for off-road purposes where I experiend my first V8 (351 cub inch) & being hooked since.

Today after owning several F150's since the 90's & kept '04 Lighning that I still cherish as a weekend cruiser-stoplight tire burner & use a '15 global ranger as a daily driver. I'm not a Ford fan boy but just speaking truthly from personal experience and comparing other brands of my wife/family/friends - I am convinced Ford still build's the best trucks. I'm glad to see they are not resting & still pushing the envelope & taking chances - can't say that much for any other brand including Toy makers.

@Lionel--Not taking Big Al's side but what is your definition of a real truck? Is a truck less real if it is small. If someone owns a small truck and uses it for hauling things like 2 x 4's, gravel, top soil, auto parts, appliances, and other things that you might not haul in a car is that not considered a real truck? Is a truck less real if it is made by an Asian or European manufacture? Are only Ford trucks real and the rest are toys because they are not made by Ford? Was your reference to "Toy" a derogatory reference to Toyota saying they don't build real trucks? Give us a specific unbiased definition of what a real truck is with sources.

@papa jim--You missed the point as usual. Hybrid power is not new, it was used in locomotives long before there was a Prius. Unless you have blinders on you ought to be able to get my point.

Posted by: Jeff S | Dec 3, 2015 5:38:13 PM
I'm not sure you can consider a locomotive a hybrid.... Locomotive don't appear to have any battery only capacity.... Instead of a transmission it has a generator. Instead of a drive shaft from the transmission a locomotives have large electrical cables a instead of an axle to turn the wheels they have electric motors. Ultimately a train doesn't move without the diesel running. A hybrid car can move on battery only or engine only or a combination of each....

There goes Scott with his hatred of anything that isn't Ford again.

Posted by: roadram | Dec 3, 2015 11:46:03 AM

I fixed that for you roadram. I have noticed he is one of the biggest Ford blind follower apologists on this board. You can pretty much ignore everything he says if you want to engage in an unbiased discussion. Even without the bias, you will probably be best served by ignoring him because his comments are particularly insightful or intelligent anyway.

Hybrid Gasoline powertrains in pickup trucks add more complexity and cost to the price of a vehicle. GM already learned that lesson which is why they went the Turbo Diesel route for the Colorado/Canyon.

Also, I doubt very much that Hybrid Gasoline will ever touch the efficiency of Turbo Diesels. I for one will not by Hybrids on principal!!!

Jeff S: I live in a country that is dominantly full of Asian built trucks/SUV's & would say approx. 15-20% have imported US trucks/SUVs (GOVT importation taxes are higher). So I consider Asian trucks as wanna-bes just from comparing power/capacities/capabilities to US trucks. My reference to Toyota is exactly that - they are supposed to be the No 1 automobile maker in the world & they can't even build a decent full size truck & their sales numbers prove it.

However, I contradicted my belief several years ago when I invested in a global Ranger simply because my next planned truck purchase (Raptor) would not fit in my garage. So my options were to build a new garage or use those funds to get something smaller. And to my surprise - this little Ranger can do it all in comfort & family actually love it! (even my wife enjoys driving it & she has a Porsche Cayenne).

So my point is I think most American's have yet to discover what the rest of the world has known; these smaller pickup trucks can in fact fit perfectly in most families lifestyle unless of course if you're over 6.4 ft/weigh over 200 lbs plus and/or in need to tow/haul heavy loads so yeah, stick with the full size trucks.

But yeah - I can see why Ford was hesitant to bring this to the US & probably realized their error now with the semi-success of GM twins & working on finally bringing this amazing truck to the US market - let's hope sooner than later.

Lionel from Taihiti!
Boy, haven't we changed our tune!

I do recall you comment on how well you liked your Ranger!

How's that Raptor of yours?

Hmmm....................or is it DenverMike from Winnepeg???

Also, since when has Taihiti been a country? Isn't part of French Polynesia?

Again, you strike out.

Big Al,

Firstly it's spelt Tahiti,...secondly I never said Tahiti was a country - you did. Thirdly I never said I own a Raptor - you did again.

A triple strike out again from down under - pls stick with what you know...ahmm...BT50

The aluminum bodied ranger bound for the US should a good addition. To there lineup. The engine lineup of the 2.0 I4 gas, 2.3 4 cylinder Ecoboost and down the road the 2.7 the raptor ranger the 2.7 ecoboost will be the top choice.

Jeff S: I live in a country that is dominantly full of Asian built trucks/SUV's

Hybrids may be fine, but I feel Toyota should be concentrating on building a Heavy Duty pickup. Say what you will about the Titan, but Nissan is doing what Toyota should have done years ago.

Heck, Nissan has been going after the commercial/work vehicle market for years now. With the number of NV vans I'm seeing on the roads in Mississippi and Alabama, Nissan is at least making an effort to be competitive. Toyota isn't even trying.

@Jeff S I'll try to be gentle, little buddy.

A locomotive, not unlike a big maritime diesel powertrain on a tug or a small steamship, is a purpose built made-to-order piece of hardware that the owner will use for decades.

Auto engines and trannies last 10-12 years and get recycled. Typical car or truck is less than $50k out the door. A drivetrain for a big piece of capital equipment has a seven figure price tag and takes many years to live out its life, after which many of the parts are configured into a new rig. Life goes on.

Comparing a hybrid pickup or sedan to a diesel locomotive is clueless.

Interesting conversations. Ford sold the Escape hybrid starting in 2005. It was a joint venture and I don't recall where the hybrid drive came from. A friend of mine had a Chevy / GM hybrid pickup and said they got about 30 mpg with it. They got rid of it because it didn't tow their camper well.

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