A few unanswered questions: 1) How much oil might this save? And, just as pressing, 2) will GM be moved to follow Ford back into hybrids? And, 3) how far away are we from plug-in hybrid trucks and SUVs? (not counting VIA Motors)

By Brian Ro

Yesterday Ford said that a hybrid version of its popular F-series trucks would be built by the end of the decade.

The revelation came while CEO Mark Fields was discussing the company’s recent announcement of a $4.5 billion investment in developing 13 new electrified vehicles, and he gave the briefest mention of the hybridized F-Series variant.

“We do have plans to have a rear-wheel drive hybrid truck by the end of the decade,” Fields told NPR in an interview. “So yes, we're working on [an] electrified F-series, and it's really around a conventional hybrid.”

Fields did not state whether it would be for sale in dealers or in pre-production form by then, and other core details were omitted too, including which F-Series it would specifically be, though it's most likely Fields was referring only to the F-150 when he said "F-series."

The Ford F-150 – one of several F-Series pickups and the natural candidate for hybridization being the lightest duty – is America’s best-selling vehicle. This year about 570,000 units of Ford's F-150 badged trucks will be sold.

Compare that to the combined total of Ford's Fusion and C-Max passenger car hybrids, which might sell less than 39,000 this year.

Ford’s F-Series are available in both rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive, but Fields mentioned rear-wheel-drive only.

The American automaker’s move also comes as General Motors has phased out its 2-mode hybrid versions of Chevrolet and GMC pickups and SUVs. Those Silverados, Yukons, Sierras, etc. did not substantially beat non-hybrid counterparts' mpg, were heavily contented, and sold poorly.

Click to expand. Source: fueleconomy.gov .

What Ford may do with RWD F-Series is unknown, but with fleet emission mandates to meet, and technology in hand to do better, electrification advocates can surely hope for an initiative to build hybrid trucks that is not without precedent.

In August 2011, Ford and Toyota Motor Corp. agreed to a collaboration that would have had the two auto giants jointly develop hybrid rear-wheel drive light trucks and SUVs. However, the deal fell apart just two years later as Ford management decided to head in a new direction, which left Toyota officials miffed.

Fields also expanded on the automaker’s recent announcement concerning its future plans on electrification.

“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, 10 and even 15 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.”

Fields did not comment on whether the manufacturer had plans for making a plug-in hybrid version of the F-series.


This article appears also at HybridCars.com.