Though Ford bet big with an aluminum body F-150, the final EPA numbers may leave some truck buyers wanting more. In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, a Ford executive revealed that the automaker was working “very hard” on a F-150 hybrid, but it was still too early to talk details.
Maxing out at 26 MPG despite shedding over 700 pounds of excess weight, the 2015 F-150 came up short of delivering the huge improvements in fuel economy some of us were expecting. The magic number for truck makers seems to be 30 MPG, and the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is the closest so far with a highway rating of up to 28 MPG. So despite shedding a lot of weight and building a new small-displacement EcoBoost V6, Ford still has some ground to make up in the MPG wars, and their solution looks to be a hybrid.
The idea of a hybrid American pickup isn’t new, or limited to Ford. Chrysler developed over 100 plug-in hybrid pickup test mules, GM even briefly sold a two-mode hybrid version of its Silverado pickup, and a few coachbuilders have even dabbled in converting older F-150s into hybrids. But the issues are always the same; overcoming preconceived customer concerns about hybrids and building a system that can handle the punishment pickup owners tend to dole out. Ford recently put out a job posting looking for someone with experience in rear-wheel drive hybrids though, so it looks like work is underway in earnest.
When Ford’s Raj Nair says the Blue Oval is working very hard on a hybrid pickup, it gives me hope…but then he says its too early to go into details, and it makes me realize such a revelation is still a couple of years out at best. Nair says Ford still isn’t too hot on diesel engines due to the higher cost of diesel fuel, but hasn’t completely ruled out the idea of a diesel-powered F-150.
Which would you rather have though, a Ford F-150 hybrid, or a small-displacement diesel? Why not both? Automakers have made us wait this long for a hybrid pickup, so they might as well make it worth it.