Ford Motor Company and Toyota Motor Corporation have announced they will be teaming up to develop an advanced hybrid drivetrain system for sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) and light trucks. This incorporates a strategy by both companies to get a head start on improving the fuel economy of larger vehicles before stricter federal rules take affect with the 2017 model year.
These new standards will provide additional credits toward meeting fuel efficiency standards for companies that develop hybrid pickup trucks. General Motors has experimented with light truck and large SUV hybrids, developing electric boosts in some of their Buick sedans.
Ford and Toyota have previously worked independently on rear-wheel drive hybrid vehicles, and the efforts to be made together will bring greater fuel economy to new models of their trucks and SUVs without compromising the power needed by drivers who use these vehicles for utility purposes. By working together, the companies believe hybrid technology will be available sooner and at a better cost than if they each worked on this alone.
Aside from hybrid technology, Ford and Toyota are also looking into issues concerning Internet communications and cellphone use while driving, with plans to brainstorm ideas for increased safety in vehicles. Telematics such as Ford’s Sync system will be enhanced to help reduce a driver’s distraction, and to bring any useful information needed while driving, without a hassle or security issue.
A formal agreement is expected to be put into place next year. Personally, I am quite interested to see what two car companies based on opposite sides of the Pacific will come up with when they put their heads together.