It’s been no secret that Ford has been eyeing a gasoline-electric hybrid F-150 full-size gasoline-electric pickup truck for some time. In 2011, Ford and Toyota announced an agreement to jointly work on a production hybrid system for trucks and sport-utility vehicles.
The hybrid system developed by the two automakers would be engineered to excel at towing while delivering exceptional fuel economy. It would be used in Ford’s F-150 as well as the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs.
Toyota would employ the system in its Tundra pickup and Sequoia sport utility.
Like many collaborations between automakers, this one didn’t last long. After two years the partnership ended with Ford saying at the time it would continue independently with the development of a hybrid truck, and that hybrid SUVs could eventually be added to its lineup as well.
After the break up, other than a few rumors, little was heard about a F-150 hybrid until a December 3rd interview with Ford’s product development chief Raj Nair with the Detroit Free Press. Nair told the paper’s auto critic, Mark Phelan, that Ford is “working very hard” on a hybrid system for the workhorse F-150 pickup. He added that it was too early to talk about how the system works or when it might debut.
Then, last week, the company’s CEO, Mark Fields, confirmed the production of a hybrid pickup — and other interesting things — during an interview with NPR’s Ari Shapiro. When asked if the automaker was looking at an electric truck in the future, Field replied, “Well, we do have plans to have a rear-wheel drive hybrid truck by the end of the decade. So yes, we’re working on electrified F-series, and it’s really around a conventional hybrid.”
Following the norm of automakers regarding future products, Fields did not reveal any details about the future hybrid offering, such as which gasoline engine would be used or if a plug-in hybrid was in the works.
The CEO did say that larger numbers of hybrids and plug-in electric vehicles would become “necessary” over the next decade or so, both because of “consumer demand” and regulatory requirements.
As for the “other interesting things”, Fields revealed Ford’s plan to move into ride sharing services, and compete with companies like Uber and Lyft. That is connected with the company’s recently announced $4.5 billion spending commitment to launch 13 new electrified models by 2020.