What a fly-by-night union the one Ford and Toyota had was. The two automakers had signed an agreement to jointly develop hybrid technology for their full-size pickup trucks, and a Toyota engineer even outlined the details of what that could look like to us. But alas, all good things must come to an end. The two are going their separate ways.
“Toyota and Ford have completed their feasibility study for collaboration on the development of a new hybrid system for light trucks and SUVs, which was first announced in August of 2011,” Toyota said in a statement. “As a result, we have agreed to develop hybrid systems individually. Toyota and Ford continue to evaluate the feasibility of working together on next-generation standards for telematics and will consider other areas for future collaboration as well.”
According to our the guru of alternative fuel projects that is Justin Ward over at Toyota, the electric motor would take the place of a differential in pickup trucks and drive the front wheels while an engine still sent power to the rear. Toyota’s end of that, which would likely have ended up in the full-size Tundra pickup truck, is null. Ford, on the other hand, will continue to develop the technology for its next-generation F-150.
“After successfully completing the feasibility and development of the hybrid system project with Toyota, Ford is moving forward on its own with development of a rear-wheel-drive hybrid system for Ford pickups and SUVs,” Ford says in a statement of its own. “The new hybrid system–which will be available by the end of this decade–will be based on an all-new architecture to deliver the capability truck and SUV customers demand while providing greater fuel economy.”
“We know what it takes to build world-class hybrids, and we now will build and leverage that expertise in-house,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, global product development. “By continuing to develop a rear-wheel-drive hybrid system on our own, we can extend our advanced hybrid technologies to new vehicle segments and deliver even better fuel economy across our lineup.”
The technology will serve to benefit what should be an aluminum-intensive next-generation F-150, which we should see sometime around January’s Detroit Auto Show. The truck is expected to lose hundreds of pounds, increase fuel-efficiency, and take cues from the Atlas concept truck from the 2013 show. Toyota is revising its Tundra pickup truck for 2014 and will likely continue development of its Texas-built truck in some capacity yet unknown.
While we’re saddened that the Ford-Toyota collaboration ended after less than two years of work, the two companies promise to keep working with one another to help create a new back-end system for their telematics technologies. In other words, Ford’s gotten a whole lot of flak for MyFord Touch, and Toyota’s Entune hasn’t. There has to be a reason for it, one would surmise.
So there will be some good to come out of the partnership at some point. We’ll just have to wait a while longer for it.
Sources: Ford, Toyota