AutoWeek. Toyota’s work on a hybrid drivetrain for its next generation Tundra full-size pickup (discussed at the Detroit Auto Show in 2004) is presenting some challenges.
One of the sticking points, according to company executives, for a hybrid full-size pickup is the need to maintain towing and hauling power for long distances. While the electric drive system provides terrific low-end torque that is good for quick-effort heavy-lifting, it is less useful for towing and hauling applications.
As a result, in Toyota’s current view, options for downsizing the engine are limited—and that, in turn limits the fuel economy benefits of a hybrid drivetrain.
Toyota is conducting an engineering feasibility study to determine whether a Tundra hybrid can meet customer requirements. The Tundra is due for redesign in 2007.
Added Press: “We are designing our vehicles with hybrids in mind from the start. It’s more efficient that way. Tundra is prepared for that possibility.”
Press said big trucks are Toyota’s “biggest opportunity for growth.”
(A hat-tip to Jack Rosebro!)