Ford + Toyota = Hybrid F-150?
Ford has been doing a lot of things pretty well since Mulally steered the company out of bankruptcy in the early 2000s, but the one front that they’ve been consistiently weak on is the hybrid market. Both their cars and trucks, while efficient, lack to the gas-sipping advantages that foreign brands offer. No more.
According to Wards Auto, Ford has forged a partnership with Hybrid powerhouse Toyota with the ultimate goal of producing a hybrid F-150. Ideally the tech would also be applicable to Ford’s Expedition and the Lincoln Navigator, but the difficulty lies in mating hybrid tech with the power and towing requirements of a truck. It’s not impossible: GM’s Yukon hybrid manages to mate hybrid power to a full size SUV. Admittedly, in that case the gains are pretty marginal (a bump of 5 mpg/city) for a hefty premium ($50,000).
Should the partnership work out, the result would be an even more efficient F-150 in the future. Also worth remembering is that Ford has plans to put the F-150 on a serious aluminum diet, dropping the weight by 700 lbs. Ultimately the end result should be truck better suited to be both a commuter and a work-horse. The real enemy here in all of this is price. Hybrid technology makes things more expensive as a rule, as does aluminum. Hopefully the F-150 won’t lose it’s low price appeal by trying to be everything for everyone.