Despite the recent influx of hybrid and electric cars, there’s been virtually no news on hybridized large vehicles i.e. SUVs and trucks. Until today’s joint announcement from Ford and Toyota, that is. The two automakers have pledged to join forces and develop a rear-wheel drive hybrid system for large vehicles that will maintain their utility.
It isn’t hard to imagine what sorts of vehicles this technology might make its way on to. The Ford F-150 is a prime candidate, as is the Explorer SUV. On the Toyotaside, the Tundra pickup and Highlander SUV are obvious choices. While integrating hybrid technology into such heavy vehicles isn’t likely to make a huge difference in fuel economy, in terms of emissions, the technology could prove to be a huge boon.
I think it also speaks to the difficulty of integrating such a system into utility that the world’s two biggest producers of hybrid vehicles have decided to team up to tackle this problem. See, the real issue here isn’t making a hybrid truck. It’s making a hybrid truck that can stand up to the daily beatings that many Americans put their pickups through.
Toyota and Ford are no strangers to these tech-sharing deals. Back in 2005, Ford sort-of licensed parts ofToyota’s hybrid drive system for its cars in exchange for Ford’s direct-injection technology…though if you ask me,Toyotais sort of getting the short end of the stick here. Toyota sells a fraction of the full-size trucks that Ford does. And while Toyota’s SUV sales are strong, your typical SUV driver isn’t putting their vehicle through the same rigors as an F-150.
Still, it will be interesting to see what comes of this partnership. Hybrid pickup trucks are coming though. Better open those minds America.
Source: Ford | Toyota
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.