Ford Teams with Knapheide to Hybridize F-150 Pickups
Used F-150 pickups are converted to plug-in hybrids for Kansas City-area maintenance vehicles.
There have long been rumors that the Ford F-150 will eventually be offered with a factory-equipped hybrid drivetrain. In the meantime, the Motor Company has teamed up with Knapheide to create some fuel-sipping half-ton trucks. Knapheide’s Kansas City facility is converting trucks that are already in use by the local municipal maintenance services, helping to save money on fuel and to modernize vehicles that are already in the city inventory.
Building Hybrid F-150s
Fox 4 Kansas City’s Marcus Officer recently did a story where he visited the Knapheide Kansas City Truck Equipment Center. That is where the hybridized Ford F-150 pickups are being built for the local municipality and they will be used as maintenance trucks in the area. In many cases, programs like this are rejected because of the cost of buying the new trucks to convert to hybrid drive, but in working with Ford Motor Company, Knapheide is able to take non-hybrid trucks that are already in use. As a result, these trucks will use less fuel going forward, but those fuel savings come without the high price of new vehicles.
Notice that there are also some Transit vehicles that appear to be part of the conversion program as well, but with Kansas City being the home of an F-150 plant, this news story was playing to local interests by focusing on the locally-built pickups.
Speaking with the Boss
While showing us the work of Knapheide, including the location of the hybrid battery system and the bumper-mounted charging port, Officer speaks with facility general manager Michael Muller. Muller explained the most important aspect of the project, adding 70 jobs at the Kansas City Truck Equipment Center while also providing steadier work for the crew.
“This is a great opportunity for us. It provides new jobs,” said Muller. He went on to explain that this contract “helps us to level load and keep the guys employed year round”
Later on in the interview, Muller spoke a bit about the advantages of this contract and the services that Knapheide offers across the country.
Muller also explained that the best aspect of this project is “being able to provide that work-ready solution for our customers. Partnering with Ford and our EVQ end-system allows us a lot of flexibility to provide every solution to our end users across the nation.”
With the push for more hybrid vehicles in municipal fleets, it will be interesting to see if other local governments turn to converting older vehicles rather than buying new, factory-built hybrid models.