Pickup trucks are a staple of the American automotive industry. Americans love them for their versatility and their ability to haul heavy cargo without breaking a sweat. Thanks to this fact, trucks are a major source of revenue for U.S. automakers, but that could change soon.
With Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards set to become much stricter next year, manufacturers will have to improve the fuel economy of all vehicles, including pickup trucks, which are notorious gas guzzlers.
Electric Trucks Are the Solution
Since the entire auto industry is obligated to comply with the tougher fuel efficiency regulations, and demand for trucks is certainly not decreasing anytime soon, some automakers have started thinking about building hybrid trucks so that they can meet fleet emission standards.
Ford and Toyota have both announced that they have plans for bringing electrified trucks to market in the near future. Back in 2011, the Dearborn-based company and the Japanese automaker teamed up for a hybrid pickup truck project, but their collaboration was short-lived, deciding to try and do it separately.
Hybrid F Series
Ford representatives recently stated that the company will launch a hybrid version of several models that are part of its F Series full-sized pickup trucks by the end of the decade.
In an interview with NPR, CEO Mark Fields confirmed those statements:
“We do have plans to have a rear-wheel drive hybrid truck by the end of the decade. So yes, we’re working on [an] electrified F-series, and it’s really around a conventional hybrid.”
It hasn’t been confirmed which models will be electrified, but most industry observers are convinced that the F-150 will be one of them. The F-150 is the most popular pickup truck Ford has ever made, and it has been the best-selling vehicle in America for several decades now.
A couple of weeks ago, Ford stated that it will invest $4.5 billion over the next few years in development of electrified vehicles, so the electrification of its best-selling trucks is probably part of that investment.
“Part of our job as a company and as an automotive manufacturer and now as a mobility company, is to think of what the world is going to look like five, ten and even fifteen years from now,” Fields said. “And our view, very simply, is that over time, oil is a nonrenewable resource. And therefore, over time, higher levels of electrification will be necessary not only to meet consumer demand in that timeframe but also to meet the regulatory requirements.”
Toyota Considering Hybrid Tacoma or Tundra
The Japanese car maker, for its part, hasn’t officially announced when it plans to launch a hybrid pickup truck, but it has confirmed that it is working on such a project. Possible hybrid versions of the Tacoma or the Tundra are the most likely models to receive the hybrid treatment.
Toyota is famously very experienced when it comes to hybrid technologies, having developed the most popular and best-selling hybrid vehicle – the Prius. That’s why Toyota is expected to offer a superior product that will appeal to many pickup truck enthusiasts.