Is There a Plug-In Hybrid Pickup Truck?

There’s a lot of news swirling about the upcoming electric pickup trucks. Nearly every automaker has offered a hybrid truck option for a few years now. However, is there a combination of the two available? Why haven’t we heard anything about a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) pickup truck?

Are there any plug-in hybrid pickup trucks?

Why isn't there a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version of any pickup trucks?
2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid XLT. Preproduction vehicle with optional equipment shown. Available fall 2021.

According to Compare, the short answer is no. As of April 2022, we don’t have any plug-in hybrid pickup trucks to choose from. However, there are plenty of hybrid models without the ability to plug them in. Hybrid pickups provide all the capability of owning a truck, but without the poor fuel economy. They use a lithium-ion battery pack, but it can’t be plugged into an electrical outlet and charged for all-electric driving capability.

Plug-in hybrid cars and SUVs usually allow owners to drive a certain distance using electricity only. While it isn’t very far, it’s enough to go to the nearest gas station and fuel up again. Alternatively, fully electric models don’t use gasoline at all. Many electric pickup trucks are entering the market soon, but we’re still waiting for the first plug-in hybrid.

PHEV pickup trucks: Ram 4Xe or Toyota Tacoma Prime

A red 2022 Toyota Rav4 driving along a coast road proves Toyota makes the best Hybrid SUVs - incoming Tacoma PHEV?
The Toyota RAV4 Prime | Toyota

Which pickup trucks could obtain a plug-in hybrid variant soon? Driving Line suggested the Toyota Tacoma Prime or the Ram 4Xe. These names, of course, come from the preexisting SUVs from the same automakers. Furthermore, the incoming Jeep Grand Cherokee and Wrangler 4Xe plug-in hybrid models could share their name with Ram trucks. The Ram 1500 has a hybrid powertrain and an incoming fully-electric variant. However, a PHEV Ram 4Xe could be a groundbreaking mix of the two.

Alternatively, the Toyota RAV4 Prime is one of the most popular PHEV models globally. Toyota effectively made a superior plug-in hybrid model by taking one of the best, most reliable SUVs and turning it into a smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicle. Since its trucks are recently turning hybrid, why not add charging capability? Moreover, the Toyota Tacoma Prime plug-in hybrid pickup truck seems like a no-brainer.

Can hybrid and electric pickup trucks still tow and haul?

Blue 2022 Rivian R1T electric pickup truck - could it inspire a plug-in hybrid variant?
2022 Rivian R1T | Rivian

For some people, a hybrid or electric powertrain points to weakness. However, modern models have proven that isn’t the case. For example, the Ford F-150 Lariat Hybrid can carry up to 1,762 pounds, and the King Ranch Hybrid can haul 2,238 pounds. The same models can tow anywhere from 5,100 to 11,300 pounds depending on the trim and engine.

Additionally, fully-electric models like the Rivian R1T and Ford F-150 Lightning are proof electrification is no weaker than ICE trucks. Electric vehicle startup Rivian’s pickup can pull 11,000 pounds when properly equipped. The upcoming electric Ford Lightning truck can tow upwards of 7,700 pounds. That’s pretty impressive for models that cost you nothing at the fuel pump.

Why isn’t there a plug-in hybrid pickup truck?

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Driving Line pointed out the difficulty of turning a pickup truck into a plug-in hybrid model. Firstly, automakers need to find a place to mount the battery without interfering with the gasoline engine or cargo and passenger space. In other vehicle types, it isn’t quite as complicated as a truck. Another issue is weight, which needs to be low enough to deliver pickup truck performance. According to DL, other PHEVs have done it, so pickups should be able to as well.

Plug-in hybrid pickup trucks would be the perfect blend of electrification and a standard ICE model. Get the same utility and capability with added fuel economy and no range anxiety. Could PHEV trucks solve many people’s problems with switching to electric models? In short, there are no plug-in hybrid pickup trucks in 2022, but like many others, we think it could be an excellent idea.

RELATED: Why Aren’t All Hybrids Plug-In Hybrids?