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Ford Working on F150 Hybrid and Diesel Drivetrains

While the Chrysler’s EcoDiesel gives the Ram 1500 the title of the most efficient half ton truck in America, the Ford F150 could soon feature either a hybrid or diesel drivetrains – both of which are rumored to be in the works behind the closed doors at Ford Motor Company.

The 2015 Ford F150 with the new 2.7L EcoBoost V6 is the most efficient half ton gas powered pickup on the market today, but the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is by far the most efficient half ton truck on sale. Sure, the diesel engine comes with a bigger price tag and diesel fuel costs more than gasoline, but the auto industry is all about bragging rights and right now – the Ram brand has the bragging rights of offering the most efficient half ton truck in America.

Right now, Ford is happy that they have the most efficient gasoline powered pickup, but I have a hard time believing that the Motor Company engineers aren’t working up a more efficient F150 pickup. My expectations of a more efficient F150 are supported by a collection of rumors indicating that Ford is indeed working on something to beat the Ram EcoDiesel. In fact, they could be working on a two options, including a light duty diesel and a hybrid drivetrain.

The Light Duty F150 Diesel
For years now, truck lovers have been clamoring for light duty diesel pickups and while Ford F150 fans were hoping to see it arrive with this new generation, the Ram 1500 was the first half ton truck in America with a diesel engine. Ford is quick to point out the high price of both buying and feeding the diesel engine, but Chrysler counters by pointing out the massive fuel economy advantages and the impressive towing capabilities. Regardless of how Ford markets their advantages over the EcoDiesel, the arrival of the Chevrolet Colorado with a diesel could further encourage the Motor Company to introduce a light duty diesel of their own. Best of all, this would not be a new idea for Ford.

2015 Ford F150 Galleries:
A closer look at the trimlines of the 2015 Ford F150
The 2015 Ford F150 at the 2014 NAIAS

Back in 2008, I spoke with a local Ford Motor Company employee who obviously wished to remain unnamed, who was telling me about a pair of interesting engine projects going on behind closed doors at Ford. He told me about a light duty diesel engine and – get this – a twin turbo V6 that was being designed to be a premium engine. A twin turbo gas powered V6 seems incredible at the time, but the EcoBoost has become the most popular F150 engine. However, the decline of gas prices and the relatively high prices of diesel fuel in 2008-2010 allegedly caused Ford to put the light duty diesel engine on the back burner.

Rumor has it that with the growth of light duty diesel engines in America, Ford is back to work on a diesel engine option for the F150. Needless to say, that would allow Ford to take a real shot at the Ram EcoDiesel.

The F150 Hybrid
The Chevrolet Silverado and Dodge Ram 1500 have both been offered with hybrid packages in the past, but the Ram Hybrid was not sold to the general public and the Silverado Hybrid didn’t do well enough to make it through to the newest generation of the Chevy pickup. The Ram truck never had a chance to succeed with the public and the Silverado was far from a hit, but the F150 could be the first real half ton truck to succeed with a hybrid drivetrain.

The 2015 F150 is the lightest truck on the market today with the new aluminum body and with the efficient pickups of the past, the weight was the ultimate killer of efficiency. Also, Ford Motor Company has a vastly more successful hybrid program than GM or Chrysler, so when you take Ford’s advancements in hybrid technology and apply them to the lightest half ton truck in America – we could finally have a hybrid pickup on sale that can succeed.

Unfortunately, Ford Motor Company has been very quiet about any official diesel F150 plans, but they have made it clear that there is indeed an F150 Hybrid in the works. I don’t believe that the best-selling truck company will sit by and let Chrysler’s Ram EcoDiesel lead the half ton segment in fuel economy without a fight for very long, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the hybrid package arrive in the F150 as soon as 2016.


Joe Boo (not verified)    December 9, 2014 - 9:19AM

Who gives a Rats a$$ about the MPG of the RAM ECODiesel when diesel fuel is so much more expensive ($1 more per gal here now)....and to point out to these ignorant people throwing around the term"efficiency"....EFFICIENCY is how much energy something contains relative to how much energy is used. Diesels have historically been more themally efficient but the gap is diminishing with the new emissions stuff added to diesels. If you want to talk efficiency fine state what the percent thermal efficiency is of one motor vs. the other...most of which nobody the consumer it's about cost per mile to drive and capability and nothing else...Right now gas is clearly the most LOGICAL 1/2 ton choice. Cheapest $/mi. to drive, lowest maintenance cost, cheapest to purchase, best loaded/unloaded performance and best towing performance. buy what you want as a free thinking intelligent consumer....just don't buy into the snake oil salesman pitch.

Jon (not verified)    December 10, 2014 - 4:16PM


The EcoDiesel can tow 8000 lbs at 20+ MPG

The F150 with a 3.5L only gets 9mpg at the same load.

That $1.00/Gallon isn't so big now, is it?

Jon (not verified)    January 21, 2015 - 9:16AM

In reply to by Rob (not verified)

It's not about the power, it's about fuel economy. Even at $1 more per gallon, diesel trucks can tow an equal load for less cost. There is a reason there aren't any gasoline semi's on the road. Never will be either.

Boyd (not verified)    January 20, 2015 - 3:42PM

Chevy in the past has made half ton trucks with the 6.2 diesel. Why not throw everything at one truck? Hybrid technology with a Diesel engine. And even an option to run on propane. Add on a topper that angles back from the top of the cab back to the top of the tailgate. Could that truck get 40mpg?

TomC (not verified)    February 8, 2015 - 10:44AM

Diesel fuel has 20% more BTU's than gasoline. No matter how efficient gasoline engines get, Diesels will always get better fuel mileage. Diesel fuel costs about the same as super grade of gasoline-not a dollar more. New Diesels with Bluetec (urea) are getting the best fuel mileage ever. I sell Freightliner trucks and we're seeing 80,000lb trucks getting 8mpg. Try getting that on gasoline, propane or the infamous natural gas. Why would anyone buy gasoline when you can get a Diesel that is at the minimum 20% more fuel efficient with fuel that is basically equal to high test gasoline? As fuel mileage requirements get more severe, we will see more Diesels, and what makes sense to me-Diesel hybrids.

kdavenport (not verified)    March 22, 2015 - 8:42AM

I have to say that most people who own 1/2 ton trucks don't tow as much as they act like they do. Some people never even tow but if you don't drive 70 - 80 mph towing 10,000 lbs with a gas motor you can get reasonable mileage. I have a 13 F150 with the EcoBoost and I've gotten 11.2 mpg towing 10,500 at 60 mph. Yah it's a little slower but do you really NEED to get to your destination at warp speed? Not trying to argue that diesels aren't more efficient but if you don't tow that much it's going to take a long time to pay for the difference. For me I'll just drive a little slower and enjoy the drive and save on gas a little too

Mark Robinson (not verified)    March 27, 2015 - 10:00AM

3.0ltr Lion in the F150 in the Fall... 225hp--443ft lbs tested diesel in the fall... Wait for it....

DrivingBy (not verified)    April 8, 2015 - 12:23AM

In reply to by Mark Robinson (not verified)

That's probably a good choice to fit in the current market.

Personally, if I wanted a diesel, I'd want at least 4 L, as diesels don't (well, traditionally they don't) suffer as much fuel economy loss when operating at light loads ==> you don't have to shrink the diesel to get efficiency. Ford had the 6.9 and 7.3 F150 years back, those were fuel efficient with far older technology than today's engines. Of course they were also loud and belched out a bunch of particle cr-p that sticks in your lungs.

SteveW (not verified)    April 12, 2015 - 11:39AM

I own a contracting firm and now have 17 trucks. I started with 3/4 ton diesels at 1st and realized quickly that the maintiance and fuel cost may not be justified. Our serivice trailers weigh between 6-7k and even though the bigger trucks did pull better on longer hauls the advancement of tech made it easier to use the 1/2 ton trucks in the more common shorter distances. Thru the years I've found that the Fords have done a better job and are more comfortable hauling but over the winter I purchased 2 new Dodge 1/2 ton diesels which not been proving to be a wise investment. I am currently using 2 3/4 ton diesel 1 Ford and 1 Chevy 13 1/2 ton Fords with both V8 and Eco 6cyl. and now the 2 new Dodges. These 2 Dodges have no power above 20mph while towing and DO NOT get 20mpg while towing. The Eco's are getting 12-14mpg while the diesels are getting 13-15mpg. With the added EPA regulations diesel may never get a fair shake in the states as an added maintaince cost of Def fluid seems to be counter productive so far. These 2 trucks have spent more time in he dealerships garage than mine due to constant emissions issues. Currently I've found the Ford's with the Eco as the best option in light duty close range towing based off of the experience in the field. Can't wait to the tech advances coming in the future.

FJM (not verified)    July 13, 2015 - 1:39PM

They need take a closer look at diesel engines. While maintenence is more, they last longer and they are more fuel efficient. I have a friend with a 1 Ton Dodge and he averaged over 20MPG on his vaction where he drove about 2k miles overall. A diesel engine, when properly maintained will last 2-3 times longer than a gasoline engine. If you flip a truck every 3-4 years, don't bother with a diesel because you won't make up for the upfront cost of one.

They also need to bring back manual transmissions. Automatics are a killer on mileage. But people are lazy and not want to learn how to drive a manual.

JDP (not verified)    August 27, 2015 - 11:12AM

The majority of F250's are sold purely to get diesel option. If F150 had diesel option the sales of F250 would plummet. The cost of diesel fuel in the US is artificially (ridiculously) high, if there were more diesels (trucks and cars) on the road diesel fuel would sell for roughly the same as gasoline (as it does in Canada and most of Europe)