2021 Ford F-150 hybrid courtesy of The Drive
Jimmy Dinsmore's picture

2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid Won’t Be Prius-Like

Ford is likely to focus on performance over fuel economy on upcoming hybrid F-150. 3.5-liter Ecoboost expected to work with electric motor to offer additional performance, plus some improved fuel economy.
Advertisement

It was pretty exciting to see the engine options released for the upcoming 14th-generation 2021 Ford F-150. When I reported on these, I received a lot of comments and feedback (which I love). I was pleasantly surprised to see the genuine excitement surrounding the 2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid.

Honestly, in the truck world hybrids are a non-entity. Most truck buyers look down on those who drive a Toyota Prius. They definitely run in different circles. So I was concerned that some F-150 fans might look at this mild hybrid offering from Ford and assume it was fuel-sipping little slow poke, runabout truck.

That’s certainly not the case, in my opinion. I believe Ford will market the hybrid F-150 as a performance vehicle over a fuel-economy vehicle. Actually, I think Ford realizes they could have a win-win situation with the hybrid F-150 as it will accomplish both, offering improved performance (horsepower and more importantly torque) and improved fuel economy.

2021 Ford F-150 engine options

What kind of range will the 2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid have?
Car and Driver reported this week that the pure electric range of the hybrid F-150 will be just over 10 miles. Some in the EV world found that number laughable. Most of these folks are the Teslarati types worshiping Elon Musk and Teslas. For the record I’m a big Tesla fan too, so please don’t send hate mail.

But those people would be mistaken if they think the real point of the F-150 hybrid is about electric range. Far from it. Any extra fuel economy possible hybrid truck buyers might get from their F-150 is a bonus.

Having to plug it in overnight to get a small range might not be appealing or worth the time, effort, costs. But, if it means they get more torque and towing ability, then those same likely buyers might be more than happy to plug it in.

I asked my Torque News colleague John Goreham if I was onto something with this line of thinking. John covers EVs and hybrids for us at Torque News. He agrees that while the alleged 10 miles of range might not be impressive it could be a nice bonus for when you’re stuck in traffic, parking lots or city traffic.

Another bonus for the plug-in hybrid F-150 according to Goreham, “It boosts the MPGe tremendously. It may also enable emission-free tool charging.”

What engine and performance numbers will the hybrid F-150 have?
Here’s another area where my engine code story set off some interesting speculation. Some readers speculated if the 3.5-liter engine that will be mated with the electric motor will be a naturally aspirated engine.

I say no way to that. Ford has no such a V6 engine in their fleet, and no way they go through the expenses of creating such an engine for just this hybrid. It will most assuredly be the 3.5-liter Ecoboost engine.

Seeing as how the current 3.5-liter Ecoboost F-150 gets 375 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque, it’s an easy assumption that the hybrid, with the Ecoboost plus an electric assist motor will be in the 400 hp/500 lb.-ft. range.

Even if, as Car and Driver states, the pure EV range is just over 10 mpg, the overall supposed performance of the hybrid F-150 will be quite appealing to many truck consumers.

Some Ford enthusiasts on forums wondered why Ford didn’t go with the 3.3-liter hybrid engine that powers the Explorer hybrid. Well, to me, since the Ecoboost is Ford’s best-selling engine it only makes sense for that to be the engine the hybrid is based upon. Also, the naturally aspirated 3.3-liter from the Explorer only makes 318 hp and 322 lb.-ft. of torque. So taking those numbers and adding some more power from an electric-assist motor can’t get to the 400/500 numbers we assume the Ecoboost Hybrid F-150 will get.

Another forum post speculated why the 3.0-liter turbo hybrid from the Lincoln Aviator hybrid wasn’t used since it makes 494 hp and more than 600 lb.-ft. of torque. On the surface that makes sense, but I am not sure a smaller engine like that could allow for adequate towing. That would be my guess only, as to why Ford went with the 3.5-liter turbo and not the smaller 3.0.

2021 Ford F-150 hybrid spy photo

My colleague John Goreham added that this hybrid pickup truck from Ford is a good first step. Goreham suspects that as the Hybrid F-150 evolves the EV range will likely double or even triple.

Plus, let’s not forget that Ford has its eyes on the 2022 all-electric F-150. That truck is happening and that is the one where electric range will be of the utmost importance.

I admit, I’m really interested in the hybrid F-150 and the EV F-150. Will the truck community embrace it? It’s hard enough to convince some of the old-school Blue Oval truck buyers that an Ecoboost is better than a V8, let alone sway them to have to plug in their pickup truck. Yet, the reception from what I’ve seen has been interest and optimism. Just as the reception of the news about a potential V8 hybrid in the 2022 Ford Mustang was met with excitement when I wrote about it.

Special thanks to TheDrive.com for the spy photos of the hybrid F-150, permission granted.

Leave a comment and let me know your level of interest and what you think about the hybrid F-150.

Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.


Subscribe to Torque News on YouTube.


Follow Torque News on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

Comments

Sorry, but 10 miles of EV range in any plug in hybrid is laughable. And a waste. To be clear, it is better than the mild hybrid arrangements of Dodge trucks, which gain a couple MPG, but have zero EV only range and no plug in capability. I totally understand that truck buyers do not want any compromises to driveability and performance. And most big vehicle automakers are selling electrification as a boost to performance and torque, and not so much the fuel economy aspects. But if you are going through the engineering effort and expense in building a plug in hybrid, don't cheap out on giving it a decent battery. I think that simply offering a detuned Lincoln Aviator plug in drivetrain would be good in the PHEV F150. The PHEV Aviator was rated at 18 EV miles, but actually shipped with 21 miles of EV range. But it also had 494HP/630TQ. If Ford gets anywhere close to those numbers with the plug in hybrid F150, it will be a winner, and not just a placeholder until the pure EV F150 comes out.
Bummer. Got a 15 mile one way commute. Guess I’m not gonna be riding the lightning forth to work and back on one charge. Interest in shelling out for one of these ain’t gonna happen till I can.
The EV range is not the point of this. It's about performance and boosted torque and being able to tow more for longer. If you wanted to ride the lightning as you say, then the EV F-150 is for you.