Honda announced an aggressive electrification strategy at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. This includes an American-made dedicated hybrid vehicle that will launch in 2018. Also, more than half of Honda vehicles launching over the next two years will be electrified.
How does it relate to trucks? Honda said that its two-motor hybrid system will be applied to its “light truck lineup”. Honda groups the following vehicles into the “light trucks” category: HR-V, CR-V, Pilot, Odyssey, and Ridgeline. While it’s a stretch to categorize most of these as light trucks, the Ridgeline is a pickup truck, albeit a crossover pickup truck.
One example of the two-motor gasoline/electric hybrid system can currently be found in the 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid. This is based on a 4-cylinder gas engine and electric motors for a total system output of 212 horsepower. The Accord Hybrid is rated by the EPA at 49 MPG in the city.
Honda did not provide any hints on whether it will apply the gas/electric powertrain strategy to the Ridgeline pickup truck, but this is an interesting prospect. All truck manufacturers are looking for ways to improve efficiency without losing hauling and towing capability. Could the two-motor hybrid system be a solution for the Ridgeline? 212 horsepower is not enough to move the Ridgeline and all the weight it can haul and/or tow. We will have to wait and see how this strategy develops.
Ford recently announced plans for a gas/electric Ford F-150 by year 2020. GM is currently selling turbo-diesel versions of the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon to gain efficiency. Honda has also introduced a new 10-speed automatic transmission for the 2018 Honda Odyssey. Using a 10-speed to improve efficiency is another avenue the company can pursue.
Here are the MPG results we got while towing on our 100-mile highway MPG loop.