With the world in some what of a green revolution, I ask what happened to hybrid pickup trucks?
The top 3 selling vehicles in the U.S last year, and pretty much every year, were pick up trucks. That’s a huge potential market to clean up.
I want to explore why we don’t have the pickup truck version of the Toyota Prius, and whether or not it’s even possible to have a successful hybrid pickup.
The Truck Market
The pickup truck in America is no longer just a work vehicle and hasn’t been for a long time. For many families it never sees work at all.
Most trucks are used just as any regular sedan would be like mall crawling, grocery getting and work transport. Affordability of credit, low gas prices and more efficient engines have made this way of life possible, but how long can we keep this up?
Trying to convince people not to buy pickup trucks is probably not going to go over well. Making them efficient is our best bet if we want to keep our big trucks.
The Electric Distrust
Let’s face the fact that oil is going to run out sooner or later. People who distrust Electric vehicles believe the end isn’t coming anytime soon, if at all.
It’s hard to break away from a way of life built around convenience. Filling up at the gas station is quick and efficient.
Furthermore, gasoline keeps you going where you want to go, longer. That’s why charging time, more than range on EVs, is such a deal breaker.
Hybrids fill a nice gap as they have the convenience of gas fill-ups with efficiency boost of electric motors.
General Motors tried to capitalize on the hybrid craze with full size pickups and SUVs but had limited success.
The Sierra and Silverado hybrid models had a mild hybrid battery that offered a decent mpg boost, but it wasn’t enough to make up for the price premium.
People wanted more for less as they do naturally. Now with advancements in battery technology and combustion engine efficiency, I think a relaunch is in order.
Update: Ford has finally released a Hybrid Pickup truck. Check out here.
There are a few markers that manufacturers need to achieve to create a viable hybrid. First, 35 mpg combined should be the goal.
With smaller displacement forced induction engines and plug in hybrid capability, hitting a 35 mpg shouldn’t be a problem these days.
Hybrid mid size pickups would be the ideal platform as they can be lighter and buyers tend not to worry about payload capacities and towing as much.
Pricing however is key to market success. If we really want to make a difference, manufacturers need to make the hybrid the base trim of all models .
Manufacturers need to charge more for less efficient engines. Making hybrids the lowest trim will increase prices across the range, but eventually economies of scale should bring cost down.
In all, I’d like to say that I admire all cars. I think the adaptation of technology like hybrids and electrification will help preserve combustion engines.
Reducing the number of vehicles that need traditional fossil fuels preserves the resources we have left for the enthusiasts like us to enjoy in our projects and toys.
Use the technology for the boring mall trips and work commutes. Consider those cars like appliances. Why not have the most efficient one?
When will Hybrid pickup trucks be the norm?