As part of expansion plans for its hybrid truck range, Ford Motor Co. has entered a deal with Azure Dynamics Corp. for F-Series Super Duty trucks to use plug-in hybrid powertrains.
The F-350, F-450 and F-550 trucks will be retrofitted by Azure with its hybrid-electric drive trains. Azure divulged that the first to use the technology is the F-550, which will arrive in early 2013. These electric-driven trucks will target fleet and commercial customers.
Approximately 50% of the 100,000 commercial cab and chassis built and sold each year in the U.S. are made up of F-Series Super Duty units. Azure and Ford have yet to establish how much of an improvement the hybrid powertrain will have on fuel economy. The mild-hybrid technology will be available initially on gasoline-powered trucks.
They will later appear on diesel-powered vehicles. In a statement, Rob Stevens, Ford's commercial vehicle chief engineer, said that because of the flexibility of its vehicle platforms and chassis, Ford can develop its own alternative-fuel products or work with partners such as Azure Dynamics to present consumers with options when buying a vehicle that’s greener and more fuel efficient.
This is the third agreement reached between Ford and Detroit-based Azure. The two previous deals were for the production of the Transit Connect Electric and the 450 Balance Hybrid Electric Step Van and Shuttle Bus.