Ford’s F-Series Super Duty Trucks are Ford’s commercial pickups that have heavier/stronger components to enable higher payload, towing capacities than other F-Series trucks. These trucks are primarily sold in the US market where they compete with the Chevy Silverado HD and the Dodge Ram HD. Now it seems Ford has decided to take the supposedly ‘green’ path by deciding to adopt Hybrid technology for the its Super Duty trucks, starting with the F-550, Ford’s market leading F-Series Super Duty cab and chassis, sometime early 2013.

2012 Ford F-Series Super Duty

The plug-in Hybrid technology will be provided by Azure Dynamics, a world leader in the development and production of hybrid electric and electric components and powertrain systems for commercial vehicles. The agreement provides for Azure to integrate its plug-in-hybrid technology on other Ford F-Series Super Duty cab and chassis, including the F-350 and F-450.

The Azure/Ford agreement includes a ‘ship-thru’ provision that permits Azure to place vehicles in the Ford transportation system and allows qualified Ford Commercial Truck dealerships to sell and service the product in key markets in North America.

“We are extremely pleased to expand our relationship with Ford and launch our PHEV technology on the F-Series Super Duty platform, which is the largest and most successful cab and chassis brand in North America,” said Scott Harrison, Azure’s CEO. “This is an ideal outcome for Azure and our customers.”

Azure and Ford teamed up in 2009 to bring the innovative Transit Connect Electric to market in just 13 months after the program was first announced. The new PHEV F-Series program further expands the Azure/Ford business relationship which, in addition to the Transit Connect Electric, also markets the E-450 BalanceTM Hybrid Electric Step Van and Shuttle Bus.

“As interest in alternative energy products continues to grow, consumers are looking for more powertrain options that are both environmentally friendly and fit their driving needs,” said Rob Stevens, Commercial Vehicle Chief Engineer, Ford Motor Company. “The flexibility of our vehicle platforms and chassis allows Ford to develop our own alternative fuel products or work with partners, like Azure Dynamics, to deliver consumers with the power of choice when purchasing a greener, more fuel efficient vehicle.”

The market outlook for the move to Hybrids has never been greater thanks to the interest in fuel efficient cab and chassis alternatives due to rising and unpredictable fuel costs. Enthusiasm for eco-friendly technologies that began with the largest national commercial fleets, is spreading to smaller, regional fleets that increasingly understand that alternative energy technologies do not require a sacrifice in performance or durability.

Regardless of whether Hybrids are really environmentally friendly, the increase in Fuel Efficiency is something that we cannot doubt, so it does make sense for CVs to go this way. Wonder when India will see hybrids and other alternative fuel technologies being adopted by commercial vehicles!