Ford plans to double production of hybrid F-150 pickup trucks in 2024 as a hedge against reluctance among U.S. truck buyers to go all-electric.
According to Reuters, Ford said it was tooling up to equip 20% of the best selling model line in the US with petrol-electric powertrains in 2024.
For the 2024 model year, the hybrid powertrain will be offered at the same price as a truck equipped with a six cylinder EcoBoost combustion powertrain, the company said.
“We are building some upside into the production schedule,” Ford Blue unit VP Andrew Frick told Reuters. Demand for hybrid powertrains, currently offered as a US$3,300 option on some versions of the F-150, has risen to 10% of total model line sales, Frick added.
If sales meet the atomaker’s new expectations, the hybrid F-150 could become one of the three best-selling petrol-electric hybrids in the US, vying with Toyota’s RAV 4 compact SUV, the news agency noted.
Toyota also offers hybrid system Tundra large pickups. About 24% of the 59,735 Tundras sold in the US to 30 June were purchased with hybrid powertrains, according to automaker sales data cited by Reuters. Ford sold roughly six times as many F-series trucks in the same period.
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Ford revealed the redesigned, 2024 F-150 lineup ahead of the Detroit motor show opening to the public on Saturday.
Reuters noted Ford’s pivot toward expanding the use of hybrid technology was a sharp strategy difference with General Motors which was pursuing an all-electric strategy for its future US vehicle lines, including Chevrolet and GMC pickups.
Ford and Toyota are leading a rebound for petrol-electric hybrid powertrains in the US, the report added.
US sales of electric vehicles were accelerating, but more slowly than industry executives had expected as many consumers balk at high EV prices and concerns about driving range and charging. For pickup customers, towing a trailer sharply reduces the driving range of an electric truck.
S&P Global Mobility reportedly had estimated hybrids would more than triple over the next five years, accounting for 24% of US new vehicle sales in 2028.
High volume sales of hybrid trucks would help Ford comply with tougher US climate emissions laws should demand for EVs such as the F-150 Lightning pickup fall short of expectations, Reuters said.
“Every hybrid we sell is more beneficial than a traditional ICE vehicle,” Frick told the news agency.