What Ford says: "The F-150 Hybrid, built at Ford's Dearborn Truck Plant, will offer powerful towing and operate as a mobile generator."
Challenges: Cost, marketing.
How it could be done: The new Ford-General Motors 10-speed automatic offers an opportunity to package the electric motor inside the transmission, and this could be shared with the Mustang Hybrid to save costs. Or Ford could house the electric motor between the engine and transmission where the torque converter is normally placed. Packaging will be no problem in the big truck because the battery pack could be housed under the rear seat or between the frame rails.
Risk and reward: Risky. GM twice tried and twice failed to market hybrid pickups. And the first one, the 2004-07 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid and GMC Sierra Hybrid, doubled as mobile power generators.
"Truck owners have not warmed to the option in prior examples," says IHS Markit analyst Stephanie Brinley. "However, market conditions and technology have changed. To be considered seriously by truck owners, it will need to offer more utility or capability than the standard gasoline powertrain vehicle does."
As for costs, the aluminum-bodied F-150 is already at a disadvantage vs. competitors. Adding a hybrid powertrain to the F-150 will bump up costs even higher. But Ford customers have stepped up each time Ford has increased the F-150's towing and hauling capability. If Ford were to use the F-150's hybrid powertrain in the Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, economies of scale would help lower costs.
Says Todd Eckert, F-150 group marketing manager: "It's going to be in the way we position it, in terms of the attributes it has for our customers. We see an opportunity from a customer perspective in terms of the hybrid and electrification. There were lots of questions when we brought in EcoBoost engines."