• Ford vs. Toyota in Race for Hybrid Pickups [News]

    2015 Ford F-150

    What happens when the world’s leading seller of pickup trucks teams up with the world’s leader in hybrid technology? Well, nothing, apparently. Ford and Toyota have ended their partnership to produce a hybrid system for pickups. According to senior managing officer in charge of Toyota’s powertrain division, Koei Saga, the relationship between the two companies progressed quite far – even to the point of engineered drawings – but Ford backed out claiming it has a hybrid system of its own that is better suited for use in rear-wheel-drive pickups. Toyota feels Ford may have taken advantage of the relationship by gaining knowledge of hybrid technologies before severing ties.

    “Because we proposed everything,” Saga said. “Well, I don’t know whether they stole, but we proposed all the technologies we had. It even went as far as the drawings.” He also added, “Technologically, we went far, and the engineers of both companies agreed that that technology was good enough to do it. But ultimately, the Ford management made a decision, and it fell apart. I really regret it, and I’m very sorry.”

    Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid

    This is not the first time hybrid pickups have come into the limelight. Chevrolet produced a hybrid Silverado that was discontinued in 2011 due to meager sales. But with increasingly strict mpg standards truck manufacturers are once again looking for ways to decrease their fleet mileage figures. Pickups are a tricky bunch to hybridize, however, since the traditional pickup truck buyer is more concerned with ruggedness than fuel economy. Hybrid systems also add a lot of weight to a vehicle, mostly from the batteries, so mating one to an already hefty truck can be counterproductive. Another obstacle in today’s market is ultra-low gas prices. Although an eventual rise in fuel costs is a sure bet, auto buyers have been known to make long-term vehicle decisions based on current gas prices.

    Ford claims to have its own hybrid pickup available by 2020. No word yet from Toyota on plans to add a hybrid system to the Tacoma or Tundra but we wouldn’t expect them to be far behind. Until hybrid trucks become a reality, we expect to see more examples of turbocharged V6s hitting the market in the place of V8s. One such example is the Ford F-150 2.7L EcoBoost… TFL’s fastest-ever-tested 0-60 mph pickup. Check out the video below of said F-150 taking on the Ike Gauntlet Towing Test and stay tuned for this year’s round of Ike Gauntlet Tests to start soon!

    Brian Waring
    Brian Waring
    Brian is an engineer by trade but his true passion is anything automotive. He wakes up every morning to search the web for the latest industry news. He enjoys taking his Tacoma 4×4 off-road in the mountains of Colorado where he spends his free time hiking, biking, and snowboarding with his wife and dogs near their Rocky Mountain home.

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    17 thoughts on “Ford vs. Toyota in Race for Hybrid Pickups [News]

    1. Wonder if this will end in a lawsuit like the recent TMC Fuel Injection System LLC patient suit. Courts found Ford guilty of infringement in that case.

        1. The case was considered discontinued last year and no more information was given after the presented materials. I wonder what happened?

          Secret Service Ninja stuff is my top guess.

    2. Let’s not pretend Ford “needs” Toyota in order to develop a hybrid pickup. Ford has produced very successful hybrid vehicles for some time without any assistance from Toyota (e.g. Ford Escape, Fusion, etc). Certainly Toyota has much expertise in hybrid technology, but in reality Ford can do it on its own.

      Bottom line – I have no interest in a hybrid, pickup truck or any other vehicle.

    3. Ford “stealing” Toyotas ideas! Wow! Foreign car manufacturers have been, I’ll be nice, “borrowing” American ideas for DECADES! Let’s just hope someone brings something to market.

    4. Is Toyota copying Ford in building a full-size pickup? Is Toyota using an assembly line to mass produce them?

    5. Hybrids don’t sell even in the car segment. Two systems just ads expense and weight with no real cost savings to customer.

      1. Maybe don’t mention that to the 3.5 million Prius owners. They might say you don’t know what you’re talking about.

        1. The Prius is the most popular hybrid, but hybrids only make up a very small percentage of overall sales, Many models have been axed in recent years.

    6. I also will agree with Foreign car manufacturers “BORROWING” for a long time now. I see they didn’t get to “BORROW” some of Fords ideas on Fullsize Trucks. So now they want to cry how Ford took from them.

    7. Unless Toyota is working on a completely different Hybrid system than what they’ve been using, it doesn’t surprise me that Ford is breaking off the collaboration.

      IMHO, a mild hybrid system using lightweight ultra capacitors verses heavy batteries is the way to go for full size trucks. Capacitors can absorb and release energy much faster than batteries which would work great for full size trucks. What this will mean for the owners is more off the line power and better fuel economy for frequent stop/start driving. It won’t help much for highway mileage but that’s covered well with Ford’s Ecoboost technology. It’s certainly easy for me to say rather than for them to implement but the mild hybrid system would be far less expensive and yet more effective for full size trucks over Toyota’s full hybrid system; again just my opinion.

    8. It seems you guys forget that Ford was a breed in the car manufacturing until they bought into Mazda (a foreign company …Japan… then bought majority ownership). Look at the body design of the cars and engine revamp line up of all the vehicles, the Ford line just put a Ford Blue Bonnet on the Mazda cars and called them their own then that turned around their bottom line they started selling cars!

      Bottom line there will probably be some kind of lawsuit over the technology, just like there was over the ‘Eco Boost’ technology, It will only take time or be settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

    9. I would consider Toyota’s tech leadership on Fuel Cell/Hydrogen to be the better bet for heavy vehicles. Ford has made the big weight reduction work on the F150 already, any extra cuts will be smaller advances. Not sure how even the best battery tech at present would boost MPG. However we know the Ecoboost is not resulting in much better fuel economy and thats with a much lighter frame. Maybe Ford sees the Ram Diesel 1500 results and building their own and adding a 9-speed Auto would do much the same as any battery tech bonus. Putting the F450 on a weight loss program like the F150, adding a better diesel and advanced transmission would also do wonders for Fords emission figures.
      Trucks need to cut alot more weight. Mid-20 MPG is not something to be proud of. Pity Ford sold Mazda, they would have loved to have their weight reduction expertise. Would like to see Truck makers add in Carbon Fibre in their chassis, like the new BMW7 and see if that would cut weight further… Only with less weight will trucks work with smaller engines…All the V8 engines on sale could do with a radical update or even elimination with perhaps Supercharged+Turbo V6 engines replacing them

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