Ford and Toyota Team Up on Hybrid Trucks

2011f150ecoboost

If there was any doubt that new fuel regulations would make an immediate and widespread impact on the automotive industry, it evaporated this morning. Today, Ford and Toyota announced an agreement to jointly develop — as equal partners — a new hybrid drivetrain specifically for light trucks and SUVs. This new technology would go on sale by the end of the decade.

The types of rear-wheel-drive vehicles this will be applied to include the most popular in the country, Ford’s F-150, along with large body-on-frame SUVs like the Toyota Sequoia and Ford Expedition. Ford and Toyota currently have just a handful of these types of vehicles in their portfolios, but the F-150 accounts for such a huge portion of sales that it alone would warrant this type of development.

New fuel regulations agreed to earlier this year targeted trucks and SUVs as well as passenger cars, hence the need for automakers to make them more efficient. The struggle for the manufacturer is to make them get better mileage while still being able to carry and tow at least as capably as they do today. Current hybrid systems on the market can deliver results in terms of capability; they just haven’t been efficient enough to meet future demands from the government on fuel economy.

Ford and Toyota have worked on hybrid technology before, but most of the development on the hybrid systems was left to Toyota. This time, both parties stress it will be a joint affair with only the integration of the system into each other’s products left to the individual automakers.

While the hybrid agreement is the most notable news, the two companies also agreed to work together to advance their in-car technologies, like Ford’s Sync, so that not only are they more sophisticated but that some sort of standards and practices result so customers moving between brands will get similar experiences.

Comments 

VT

This doesn't make much sense to me. Why Toyota spend 50% on this project when they make so few full size vehicles. Why would Ford look to standardize sync when it helps to win sales from competitors? Possible merger maybe?

VT,
Toyota still sold roughly 100K vehicles so far in 2011 that would likely be impacted, not a small number. Just not close to what Ford produces. And if less competitors can enter the field early on in the life of the new regs, they could be at an advantage.

Skankzilla

Not to mention that Toyota has the most efficient hybrid system out, currently, so why wouldn't they get involved? Smart move for both Toyota and Ford.

Amuro Ray

Kinda surprised that GM didn't get involve here...it is the ONLY manufacturer that HAD offered a hybrid system in its full-size SUV/PU line-up. True that it's not a great system per se, but the experience and knowledge gained could be invaluable, instead of starting from scratch here...

Having said that, this alliance will most likely become unfruitful a couple of years down the road, as with most of "hybrid" or "clean" engine alliance in the past. Hope that I'm wrong :(

Ken L.

GM already teamed up with Chrysler and BMW on their hybrid tech. Though the products that came out of it were nothing too stellar.

Amuro Ray

@ Ken L,

R u referring to this?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Hybrid_Cooperation

I remember it, and boy, a nice collaboration that turned into utter disaster for 4 (or 3, depends on how you count Dalmer-Mercedes) a couple of years ago :(

Neither GM nor Chrysler has anything in the market on that technology anymore, and it's super expensive for the ML450H / BMW X6 ActiveHybrid.

Like I said earlier - should have utilized that earlier research, and hope that I'm wrong in my prediction.

Ryan

This makes perfect sense for Toyota as they operate from a position of abundance not scarcity (ie like GM does) so partnering with the top Detroit automaker is smart business. Having another hybrid drive train will spur new vehicles from both companies.

The obvious reason for this partnership is the new CAFE regulations on light trucks.

As this partnership is suppose to bear fruits by the end of the decade, both Toyota and Ford are concerned about the new regulations that require a CAFE EPA mileage for light trucks to get a combined 39 mpg for trucks that are 41 sq ft or smaller, and 25 mpg for trucks that are 75 sq ft or bigger (such as the F-150).

For Ford, getting a combined 25 mpg on an F150 is going to be absolutely crucial, as its Ford (and America's) top selling vehicle. For Toyota, who's truck sales volume is small and is only relevant in North America, putting a lot of R&D for trucks has poor economies of scale.

Ken L.

The only thing I see spurring from this are more purchases of trucks and suvs from the public. I know would rather drive an suv that gets 35+ mpg than today's sedans or hybrids. You'd have to be counting your pennies if purchasing the most efficient CAR is your ultimate goal.

Dander

I'm guessing ford will develop the mechanical parts of the hybrid system and Toyota will supply the software that controls the transition from electric to gasoline and vice-versa. This will be bad news for GM, unless they can adapt their cylinder deactivation technology into an effective hybrid system of their own. With the big dog Toyota helping Ford, GM will have to scramble to keep up.

two giant forces combined will surely make a nice output..

Thank you for your analysis and sharing, from your article I learned more.

skinner

One word: Patents
Ford came up (on thier own) with a hybrid system very similar to Toyota's. They had no choice but to license it since Toyota got the patent first. Better to see them work in tandem than to tie this up in court for years, keeping hybrids off the roads.

p.r. fenno

Wow. A chance to give GM the 3rd degree burn. I hope they turn up the heat and burn them. The 70s are coming back to hunt GM. delorin(SP) the vice pres of gm's revenge. GM can suck on that coke and choke. What a set up!
I remember. BOB

two giant forces combined will surely make a nice output

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