In the summer of 2011, Ford and Toyota announced that the two companies were looking into a collaborative project aimed at producing a rear-wheel drive hybrid truck drivetrain. It certainly raised a few eyebrows, with the best-selling hybrid car maker joining forces with the number one pickup producer. Yet despite the incredible potential of this project, Ford and Toyota have decided that nah, we don’t want to work together after all.
The project was aimed at producing an efficient hybrid pickup drivetrain that would still deliver a driving experience customers expect. Pickups are put through hell but a lot of owners, and the drivetrains have to be capable of hauling, towing, and driving for hours on end with no breaks. Both Toyota hybrids and Ford trucks have remarkable reliability ratings, so it really seemed like a match made in heaven.
Alas, the suits in charge disagreed, and both companies will pursue hybrid pickups on their own. Ford doesn’t expect to have a hybrid truck on the road until the end of the decade, meaning the next-gen F-150 will continue to have a convention drivetrain. While features like active grille and wheel shutters, as seen on the Ford Atlas concept, as well as substantial weight loss will help improve pickup fuel economy, the potential for a hybrid pickup is immense.
Too bad we have to wait almost a decade to get one, at least from Ford. That leaves the market wide open for GM or Dodge, both of which have dabbled in hybrid pickups before, to swoop into the market. Somebody, anybody, make a good hybrid pickup!