With the world striving to become a greener place, and vehicles making a gradual shift away from fossil fuels, why aren’t there new hybrid pickup trucks emerging? When you consider the top-selling vehicles in the U.S. last year were all pickup trucks, one would expect to see new hybrid versions of popular models.
A market with potential
A couple of decades ago, you had a truck for work. You saw trucks for particular occupations where it was necessary to haul items or equipment.
Today, many people have trucks as their personal vehicles. Families and individuals drive them as they used to drive minivans. For many, today’s trucks took the place of the classic sedan or SUV. You’ll see people going to the mall, the grocery store, or the movies in their trucks that also take them back and forth to work.
Trucks today are bigger with room for more passengers and upscale interiors. Pickups are more powerful and loaded with safety and driver-assist features. Many offer smooth rides, loads of technology, and lots of great convenience features.
In short, people love their trucks and aren’t likely to give them up anytime soon. With that in mind, the market is ripe for the development of greener, fuel-efficient pickup trucks.
People aren’t sold on hybrids and electric yet
So why aren’t greener pickup trucks popping up like daisies? Don’t people realize that eventually, the supply of oil is going to run out?
Many people don’t recognize a changing climate or a finite supply of oil. As long as they think that way, they aren’t likely to give a hybrid or electric vehicle a try any time soon. They have vehicles they can easily fill up at the local gas station after all.
Plus, if they’ve even tried to learn more about how electric vehicles (EVs) work, they know a tank of gas will take them much farther than the range of most electric cars. And they don’t have to wait for their gas-powered vehicles to charge.
Many believe that hybrid and electric vehicles are out of their price range without even looking. There’s also the perception of those who own hybrids as being pretentious.
Buyers are also concerned with reliability. They realize that hybrid vehicles have batteries incorporated in the system. Eventually, those will have to be replaced. It puts the reliability of the vehicle in question in the minds of many.
There have been attempts at hybrid pickup trucks and SUVs. General Motors tried, with limited success, to produce hybrid vehicles. The hybrid versions of Sierra and Silverado featured moderate hybrid batteries that lent a decent mpg bump. The boost just wasn’t enough for most to justify the price difference between the hybrid and standard versions of the vehicles.
There have been great strides in battery technology and the efficiency of combustion engines, however, making hybrids much more appealing for the discerning buyer. If a truck that already had good gas mileage anyway like Honda Ridgeline, Ford Ranger, or GMC Canyon were to be developed as hybrids, could it change people’s minds?
The near future for hybrid trucks
What will it take for automakers to produce a practical, affordable hybrid pickup truck?
According to the folks to Automotivist, a combined 35 mpg should be the goal. When you combing plug-in hybrid capability with smaller displacement forced induction engines, that goal should be achievable. Mid-size pickup trucks might be a great place to start. These aren’t as heavy and those who buy them aren’t primarily looking and towing and hauling prowess.
Affordability is another important factor. What if automakers made hybrid versions the base trim of all its models? If it cost more to get a less efficient engine, buyers would be far more likely to give a hybrid truck a closer look. Sure, prices would increase across the range at first. But eventually, the cost of efficient hybrid pickup trucks would come down.
There have been several hybrids announced, like the Ford F-150 electric and the Ford F-150 hybrid. We don’t have specific dates for release for either. Tesla also has a pickup truck in the works that uses the Model 3 as a base. How well these new offerings fare remains to be seen.
In reducing the number of vehicles that run on fossil fuels, we preserve some of our natural resources. Switching to hybrid and electric vehicles will go a long way in protecting our environment.