Business

Ford, Toyota team up on truck hybrids

Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. Monday signed a deal to collaborate on developing a gasoline-electric hybrid engine for pickup trucks and SUVs.
A Toyota Prius hybrid bearing a decal for a now-expired program that allowed single occupants to drive in carpool lanes in California. Both companies now make hybrid cars, but trucks need a different system with power to tow and haul heavy loads. Reed Saxon/Associated Press

Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. Monday signed a deal to collaborate on developing a gasoline-electric hybrid engine for pickup trucks and SUVs.

The two said they will share development costs in order to make the technology more affordable and to bring it to market faster.

Both companies now make hybrid cars, but trucks need a different system with power to tow and haul heavy loads.

Hybrid trucks would help automakers meet stricter government fuel economy and pollution standards in the U.S. and other countries.

In the U.S., the fleet of new cars and trucks will have to average 56.5 miles per gallon by 2025, although trucks will have lower mileage targets.

Deciding how to divide the research roles will take a year, Ford product development chief Derrick Kuzak said.

He estimated development would take at least two or three years after that. The companies aren't sure yet what kind of gas mileage it will get.

The system would power some of Ford's F-Series pickup trucks, the top-selling vehicle in the U.S., and it would run the Tundra, Toyota's full-sized pickup truck. It also would be used in rear-wheel-drive sport utility vehicles, the companies said.

"Trucks and SUVs are indispensable for the U.S. society," said Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota's executive vice president for research and development.

The companies will also collaborate on developing common standards for linking electronic devices such as smartphones to cars and trucks.

Ford said it's the first time it has worked with Toyota on any project.

"There are no future plans beyond that point," Kuzak said. He had no estimate of how much the companies would save by teaming up.

Discussions between the two companies began in April.

It's not the first hybrid system for pickup trucks and SUVs. General Motors Co., Chrysler and BMW AG collaborated on a system unveiled several years ago. The system powers some GM pickups and SUVs but has not sold well.

With files from The Associated Press

now