Truck manufacturers will roll out more fuel-saving, full-sized trucks beginning next year. General Motors and Dodge have both announced that they will offer "full hybrid" gas-electric vehicles in Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra, and Dodge Ram pickups. Meanwhile, Ford's F-150 trucks will get new EcoBoost technology that promises to improve fuel economy by 20% and CO2 emissions by 15%. And Toyota Tundra will "soon" have a clean diesel V8 engine.
The GM and Dodge hybrids will have conventional gas engines mated to electronically variable transmissions, or EVTs, that enable the vehicles to run on electric power alone at low speeds, or any combination of gas and electric power under load. The EVTs are the result of a multiyear engineering collaboration among GM, the former DaimlerChrysler entity, and BMW. GM's hybrids will debut in November as 2009 models, while the Ram hybrids will follow in 2010.
Ford is taking a different route to higher fuel efficiency and reduced emissions, claiming its EcoBoost design costs less than either hybrid or clean-diesel development. EcoBoost combines exhaust gas turbo-charging with direct fuel injection, which the manufacturer claims will boost V6 power to equal that of many V8s. No date has been set for an EcoBoost introduction.
Toyota has released little additional information about its forthcoming diesel-equipped Tundra, other than to say it is part of a strategy that includes producing 1 million hybrid vehicles annually in the decade ahead.