For the first time ever, Ford’s F-150 is going hybrid.
The news comes from Raj Nair, Ford’s Global Product Development Chief. In other words, straight from the top.
Speaking with Detroit Free Press, he said Ford is “working very hard” on a hybrid powertrain for the full-size pickup, however the vehicle is still quite young in the development process.
The powerplant’s instant torque, in combination with an efficient gasoline motor, could garner huge fuel savings without hindering towing and hauling needs of buyers. However, Nair admits that low gas prices could make the hybrid’s marketing process challenging.
“Fuel economy is a strong driver for sales of other vehicles,” he said. “Low gasoline prices make the payback longer.”
He did add, however, that increasing fuel economy and reducing greenhouses gases is simply “the right thing to do.”
The 2015 F-150 inaugurated the pickup’s thirteenth generation, and it took big steps toward a cleaner, greener product overall.
The first was the switch from steel to aluminum in the body (the frame itself is still steel), which saved the F-Series a whopping 770 pounds. That’s the weight of three refrigerators, by the way.
Additionally, the automaker introduced a new, 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, which uses two turbos and a Start-Stop feature to return 26 mpg highway. It’s still strong enough for most light-duty users though, with an output of 325 horsepower, 375 pound-feet of torque, and a tow rating of 8,500 lbs.
When it comes to the idea of a diesel, the automaker wasn’t quite as optimistic. Because of the availability cheaper fuels today, Nair dubbed a diesel F-Series “a tough go,” but wasn’t against the idea entirely.
“If we see demand, we’ve got diesels in the portfolio,” he explained. “We’ll react.”