The collaboration between Ford and Toyota made a couple years ago this week was announced to have ended. Calling it a feasibility study today, both manufacturers have said they will go their separate ways to develop rear-wheel-drive hybrid systems for their next-generation pickups and SUV’s.
Ford has said that its own in-house design rear-wheel-drive hybrid power-train will be seen in the next-generation F-150 as well as their full-sized SUV’s such as the Expedition and the Lincoln Navigator. The new system Ford says will be available by the end of this decade.
While little has been announced about the new rear-wheel-drive hybrid system it is believed to be a parallel system which will sandwich an electric motor between an 8-speed automatic transmission and a gasoline engine.
This arrangement is by far the most robust when it comes to offering power and durability for full-sized truck and SUV applications. A constantly variable transmission (CVT) which most hybrids utilize simply doesn’t have the durability and torque delivery necessary for towing and heavy loads.
As to the engine that would most likely be paired with a hybrid offering is difficult to judge. A small naturally aspirated V6 would likely be the default play or potentially a V8, enabling a better spread for meeting CAFE regulations. An EcoBoost turbocharged engine is not likely due to cost.
Ford says that paramount will be the capability truck and SUV customers demand while providing greater fuel economy. And as Ford and Toyota both seem to have parted ways, it seems that the hybrid truck and SUV market will get more competitive.
“We know what it takes to build world-class hybrids, and we now will build and leverage that expertise in-house,” said Raj Nair, group vice president, global product development. “By continuing to develop a rear-wheel-drive hybrid system on our own, we can extend our advanced hybrid technologies to new vehicle segments and deliver even better fuel economy across our lineup.”
The next-generation Ford F-150 is said to be lighter weight afforded by an all aluminum body structure in addition to offering more efficient gasoline engines across the board. The Ford Expedition SUV and its Lincoln Navigator counterpart will as well need to be trimmed and modernized under the hood to even have a chance at survival.