Ford and Toyota team up to make light hybrid trucks

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Hybrid system indicator from a 2010 Ford Prius.

Ford and Toyota have announced plans to team up for light hybrid truck production. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Paul Garland/Flickr)

Ford and Toyota have decided to team up to bring a new wave of light hybrid trucks to the driving public. Extensive hybrid truck lines are expected to be available well before the U.S. doubles fuel economy requirements by 2025 to 54.5 mpg.

Ford and Toyota SUVs, trucks go hybrid

Automotive News reports that the Ford-Toyota venture, which becomes official in 2012, will introduce hybrid systems into rear-wheel drive SUVs and light trucks by the end of this decade. The two automakers are reportedly in the planning stages of “next-generation telematics,” as well as other applications of in-vehicle Internet connectivity.

“This agreement brings together the capability of two global leaders in hybrid vehicles and hybrid technology to develop a better solution more quickly and affordable for our customers,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s vice president of product development.

Share and share alike

Toyota Executive Vice President Takeshi Uchiyamada envisions the Ford-Toyota partnership in terms of how it will benefit society.

“We expect to create exciting and socially beneficial technologies with Ford, and we can do so because our two companies have enough experience to create a synergy effect in hybrid technology and in telematics,” he wrote in a corporate press release.

A stricter mileage standard will go a long way toward improving fuel economy and lessening environmental impact. Not only that, but it will present the ideal stage upon which Ford and Toyota can return to ideas formed during a previous hybrid collaboration in 2004. At the time, Ford used the hybrid technology devised by Toyota during the team up in the Escape Hybrid and (now-defunct) Mercury Mariner Hybrid. In exchange, Toyota was granted permission to use Ford diesel and direct-injection engine tech, writes Automotive News.

Uphill battle for pickups

Under the new CAFE plan for fuel economy, Detroit automakers will receive tax credits for meeting mpg targets in light hybrid trucks. Standards for full-sized pickups will be less because the U.S. auto industry is concerned that doubling CAFE standard will pose a significant challenge to larger, less fuel efficient vehicles.

The wide choice of parts available to achieve fuel efficiency goals has complicated matters in the past for automakers, which is  why Ford and Toyota are coming together to achieve the common goal. Cost reduction and enhanced production will make it achievable, suggests Ford CEO Alan Mulally.

“By working together, we will be able to serve our customers with the very best affordable, advanced powertrains, delivering even better fuel economy,” said Mulally in a statement. “This is the kind of collaborative effort that is required to address the big global challenges of energy independence and environmental sustainability.”

More on the Ford-Toyota light truck hybrid team-up


Automotive News

Ford press release

Telematics Wiki

Toyota press release

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