While many Americans seemed to opened their hearts to small cars and hybrids, the real Holy Grail of efficiency comes from improving the fuel economy of large gas guzzling trucks. Ford has teamed up with Azure Dynamics to produce a plug-in hybrid F-250 chassis and cab for a variety of uses.
It may seem paradoxical, but an increase of 1.5 mpg in the fuel economy of bigger vehicles actually represent a larger cost and fuel savings than bumping the fuel economy of a small cars by twice as much. With business owners across the country trying to save money in the face of rising fuel costs, Ford has turned once again to Azure Dynamics, the same company converting Transit Connect vans to EV’s, to help produce a plug-in hybrid heavy duty chassis cab.
The plan calls for the implementation of plug-in hybrid technology on to Ford’s Super Duty work trucks including the F-350, F-450, and F-550, both gasoline and diesel-versions (and perhaps CNG as well?) All these vehicles share the same frame, which means integrating the plug-ion hybrid system would be a fairly simple procedure. Being a chassis cab, these vehicles could be adapted to a wide range of functions, from ambulances to construction trucks to simple transporters.
No word on how much this could improve fuel efficiency, but one has to take into consideration that most of these trucks are worked hard and often, and they suck fuel down at an egregious rate. A plug-in hybrid system could save business owners thousands of dollars a year, though that is also dependent on the price premium for a plug-in hybrid truck.
Now if only Ford would build a plug-in hybrid pickup for the masses….
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. You can read about his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout or follow his non-nonsensical ramblings on Twitter @harshcougar.