Would You Consider a Hybrid Ford F-150?
Yesterday, I found myself in Dearborn participating in a media event talking about the future of the company. One of the areas they focused on was electrification. According to Ford’s CEO Mark Fields, the company will be introducing 13 new electrified vehicles. If we start reading the tea leaves, a hybrid F-15o seems like a logical progression. But would you buy one?
Durability and reliability are some of the biggest concerns about hybrid vehicles. Those concerns would be magnified by truck buyers, who often use their vehicles in ways Toyota Prius drivers never will. As a result, having a reliable and durable system is key.
According to Ford’s hybrid folks, they haven’t had a single electric motor failure in a customer vehicle. Ever. Their hybridization efforts began way back in 2004 with the Ford Escape (which interestingly, isn’t a hybrid anymore).
The batteries are the next concern, and Ford has collected millions of data points in that department. But that just don’t look at normal customer use; they tracked battery data from the NYC taxi drivers that put hundreds of thousands of miles on their cars yearly. While batteries do eventually fail, Ford (and I) are surprised how well they do hold up, and how long they have to go before being replaced.
Being a data nerd myself, I appreciate how much effort Ford goes into just collecting data. But having access to so much information makes it easier for the company to make decisions about future products, and how their current products are doing in the marketplace.
So all of that being said, let’s go back to Mr. Field’s statement that 13 new electrified vehicles are coming. One of them has to be a truck.
We’ve already reported that the 2015 Ford F-150 already nearly meets the 2025 EPA requirements for emissions and economy today, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t forward-thinking.
If a hybrid system were to appear in the F-150, it’d be interesting to see which engine they’d hybridize. Here’s what I’d like to see;
I want them to find a way to make the 2.7L EcoBoost that I know and love a hybrid. Ford doesn’t currently offer a hybrid car that has a turbocharged internal combustion engine, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
In two-wheel drive trim, the 2.7L EcoBoost already is rated by the EPA at 26mpg on the highway. For a truck owner, that’s already a good number. But the 19mpg in the city would easily be bumped into the mid-20s without much difficulty.
The electric motor would serve other benefits. There’d be more power available to run power tools at a job site, and those tools could be run without the truck running. The electric motor would also improve off-the-line performance and would assist in towing.
Thanks to the quantities of scale, Ford internal costs for building a hybrid are dropping, and on a truck margins are already pretty high. That means Ford wouldn’t take much, if any, of a financial hit on offering a hybrid truck. So it’d be a win in their book.
Now, there might be a premium price increase to buy a hybrid F-150, but it seems like many of the benefits would make it worth it.
What do you think? Let us know over in the forums!