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Ford Could Offer the First Successful Hybrid Truck with the 2015 F150

Although other automakers have offered hybrid pickups with little success, the 2015 Ford F150 could be the first hybrid pickup to really have an impact on the market if Ford decides to add their hybrid technology to the new lightweight F150.

Both Chrysler and General Motors have tried their hand at producing a hybrid version of their popular half ton pickups and some truck based SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade but neither of those companies saw much success from the hybrid pickups. The main problem was that introducing hybrid technology to these large, heavy vehicles has a fairly small positive impact on fuel economy numbers. That leads to small savings in fuel costs so the high price of hybrid technology is hard to offset with the savings at the pump and that all led to a quick demise to the majority of these full sized hybrid trucks. However, it should be noted that neither Chrysler nor General Motors have a particularly successful hybrid vehicle program. Chrysler has nothing to show in the way of hybrid vehicles and while General Motors has a collection of hybrid models, they don’t have nearly the popularity of the electric powered Chevy Volt.

On the other hand, Ford Motor Company has asserted itself as a leader in the world of hybrid technology so while Toyota still commands the hybrid market with the Prius – Ford is quickly catching up. Models like the Fusion Hybrid and the CMax Hybrid have proven to be great competitors for the Camry Hybrid and the bestselling Prius. This is a clear sign that the folks at Ford know how to put together a high quality hybrid vehicle, but there is still the issue of the weight with the pickup. That is where the advantages of the aluminum bodied 2015 F150 come into play.

The 2015 Ford F150 has a body that is roughly 700 pounds lighter than the 2014 F150 already on dealership lots around the country. As we speculated a few weeks back, that massive weight reduction could lead to a half ton pickup that has a curb weight under 4,000 pounds. That is still not a lightweight vehicle by any means, but the fact that the 2015 F150 will likely be the lightest half ton pickup ever could make a big difference when working on a hybrid pickup.

Take that lightweight nature of the 2015 Ford F150 and add technology from one of the world’s most advanced hybrid drivetrain programs and you have a hybrid pickup that could be the first to really make a splash in the consumer market. Say that Ford developed a hybrid drivetrain to work with the 5.0L V8, they could produce a pickup that can tow as much as the competitors while being significantly more fuel efficient. There is also the possibility that the 2015 F150 Hybrid could rely on an advanced hybrid system that is coupled with the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 so it would almost certainly be the most powerful and the most efficient truck in the segment – but that would likely bring about a very expensive drivetrain package that may be hard to counter in fuel savings.

Even if Ford Motor Company was to build a very light duty 2015 F150 with the base 3.7L V6, it would still pack enough power to do basic “truck stuff” while likely offering best in class fuel economy. Also, using this base engine would allow Ford to keep the cost down a bit and making the 2015 F150 Hybrid a good deal will go a big way in helping it to succeed.

The introduction of the new 2.7L EcoBoost V6 has many believing that there will not be a 2015 Ford F150 Hybrid, but if an automaker is going to build a successful hybrid half ton pickup, Ford Motor Company seems like the most likely to do so at this time. Ford is the top selling truck maker and one of the industry’s leading hybrid producers (tentatively second behind Toyota) so they seem to have the resources – it is just a matter of making a good business case for this fuel sipping pickup.

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Tim (not verified)    March 24, 2014 - 5:25PM

Ford also NEEDS to sell trucks to make a profit unlike GM and Toyota that sell enough other products. While Ford's hybrid products are improving, it has long been the truck division and, in a small part, the Mustangs that keep Ford profitable. And, probably, more precise, it has been the King Ranch that has really helped Ford.

With a mostly forgettable car division, poor luxury division and a low-profit van division with its fleet focus, you could argue that trucks is where it is at. If Ford pulls off the aluminum-body and puts a hybrid in it with excellent fuel economy, it will go a long way into making sure Ford stays profitable. It also might help them salvage things in other markets.

hutch (not verified)    March 24, 2014 - 8:49PM

In reply to by Tim (not verified)

You must not read up on the auto industry with sales do you? Hense where im going with this Ford is The best selling truck company in all fields with GM in second and toyota in 3rd or 4th possibly behind the Ram.. not to mention the fusion for the car division is passing the camry for 1st soooo do some more homework

Tim (not verified)    March 24, 2014 - 11:02PM

In reply to by hutch (not verified)

You're right. I've never written 1 automotive sales article in my life. Rather, I have written about 20. And you made my point about Ford being "The best selling truck company..."

The Fusion has to pass the Accord and Altima first and then maybe it could catch the Camry. For 2013, according to Motortrend, Camry sold over 400k units while the Fusion couldn't quite reach 300k.

I showed my work, how about you?

Mark (not verified)    March 25, 2014 - 5:34PM

In reply to by Tim (not verified)

I think what Hutch is saying is that Ford is actually doing better with automobiles than you make it appear, especially when compared with GM. It almost sounded like you were saying that GM does not rely on trucks as much as Ford, when in fact it relies on trucks just as much, if not more than Ford.

I'm sure you know that GM actually sells more brands of trucks and full-size SUVs than Ford if you're including GMC and Cadillac.

Ford actually generates more profits for their cars than GM does which is why Ford does not have to sell as many vehicles as GM to generate higher profits.

Toyota, at least in North America, is not able to rely on trucks as heavily and so they do have to rely on their cars for profit.

Anyway, this discussion may not be relevant to the article, but I thought I'd add this in as your statement did not appear to be as accurate as it could have.

Tim (not verified)    March 25, 2014 - 7:30PM

In reply to by Mark (not verified)

GM sells a heck of a lot of luxury brand cars and SUVs that really help with their profit. They have actually started holding the line of full-size truck pricing to reap more profit since they have historically discounted them to the point were profit was jeopardized.

Look they both make a profit and they both need full-size truck sales. I'm saying, in my opinion, that Ford needs the F-150 to turn a profit MORE than GM needs their full-size truck twins.

I think the problem that this conversation is facing is the view on just the North American market. I'm speaking more globally where Ford has beens struggling and GM has been expanding. These companies are hardly American anymore and it is short sighted to see them as such.

Jeff Gregory (not verified)    March 26, 2014 - 12:06PM

As it has been for a long time, Ford needs to get it's head out of the dark place.
For God's sake fuel economy has been available since single rail fuel injection came out on Detroit engines years ago.
Ford could make and sell Rangers to the fleet market like hotcakes if they would put a modern 2.5 L Diesel in it, 35 to 40 MPG DAH.
They could lead the market and push the Ram out of this world if they had a small, 3.5 L diesel in the F150 and a strong 5 L diesel in the F250/350 models.
But alas Ford for some reason seems to think that electric stuff will win in the future? Good luck Ford.

Carine (not verified)    July 20, 2014 - 4:53AM

Why is it that no one is making light-weight hybrid vehicles, so gas efficiency would be maximized as well as total cost-efficiency of the vehicle as a whole to the point that would make it attractive to buyers? I'm tired of only having a choice of tiny matchbox hybrid cars that can barely carry more than two people, nevermind anything else or huge full-sized trucks that are designed to haul much more than I'll ever need to and whose size almost completely negate any fuel efficiency achieved by being hybrid.

Alan Brian Allosada (not verified)    September 13, 2014 - 7:04PM

I'm interested in buying a hydrid truck and I live in Hawaii, could a rep contact me via email

David (not verified)    December 1, 2014 - 11:25PM

Well I tell y'all one thing....I have bought a lot of new Ford truck's through the years , and Stll think there the best truck's on the road , For Several reasons , but I sure wish they would get rid of that LOUSY" twin I ~ Beam front axel system . Man It's impossible to keep them things in line . I Hate that lousy set up . the rest of that truck is Fibulas though .... I finely started taking my F~250 trucks I buy , up to Fire Stone , and started buying there Life time Alignment for the vehicle , and have to take it up to them just about every 2 month's and have it Re: alined .... Never fail's" , they always have to reset it or something , only now I don't have to pay them a $100 every time to get it done .