Ford (NYSE: F) is planning to start marketing America’s first hybrid pickup truck and van in 2020. The automaker is also planning to sell a hybrid muscle car that year.
A hybrid version of Ford’s popular F-150 truck and a plug-in hybrid version of the Transit van are on the drawing board for 2020, a Business Wire press release indicates. Few details were revealed but some plans for a few other hybrid and electric vehicles were made public.
The historic automaker’s current plans include two electrified police vehicles, a hybrid version of the iconic Mustang muscle car and possibly a hybrid-version of the Lincoln Continental. Among other things the Lincoln Continental might become the first hybrid marketed to gangsters. In the United States, Lincoln has long been notorious as the favorite ride of mobsters and drug dealers.
A fully electric sport utility vehicle (SUV) with a range of at least 300 miles (482.8 kilometers) is also in the works at Ford. That vehicle was not named but Ford markets several SUVs including the Escape, the Edge, the Explorer, the Flex, the Expedition and the Lincoln MKX.
Ford electric vehicle prototypes are being tested in several US cities and Europe. No locations for the actual tests have been revealed.
Is there a Market for Hybrid Trucks?
Even though the F-150 is the best-selling vehicle in North America, there might not be a market for hybrid trucks.
Such technology is going to be a tough sale to the conservative working-class types that buy pickup trucks. Hybrids are currently popular in the United States with educated upper class types. Although there might be a market for hybrid trucks with government and commercial fleets.
Another problem is the weight of hybrids, pickup trucks have to be fairly light because they are designed to haul loads and pull trailers. Although Ford’s willingness to market a hybrid pickup might mean Ford has greatly improved performance and power from hybrids.
The markets for hybrid or electric vans, SUVs and passenger vehicles might be bigger. Ford has tested an electric Transit Connect van as a taxi and at least one major US city, Los Angeles; is interested in deploying electric police cars. Vans in particular will have a market as fleet or ride-hailing vehicles in a market where lower costs and increased efficiency are selling points.
Despite the potential problems Ford is betting big on electric cars. The company has plans to spend $700 million to expand an Assembly Plant designed to build electrified and autonomous vehicles in Flat Rock Michigan.