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Wait. Why haven’t we seen a diesel hybrid truck?


The minute Pickup Truck + SUV Talk Publisher Tim Esterdahl announced he’d bought a 2021 Ford F-150 hybrid truck, people started to ask: What about a diesel hybrid truck? To answer this question, Tim asked his friend, Alan Schafer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, to share his thoughts on why we haven’t seen a diesel hybrid truck.

Where’s the diesel hybrid truck?

Alan says the likelihood of seeing one anytime soon is pretty slim. Think about it. A diesel engine is already an upgrade in a light-duty truck. To add on another layer of technology would result in a truck with an even higher price tag. When you think about how long it takes for your fuel savings to pay back the added cost of a diesel engine plus hybrid technology, you’re looking at several years, and for most buyers, it won’t be worth it.

Is it possible?

Of course! We see hybrid diesel engines in city transit busses and construction equipment. The hybridization of these types of vehicles makes a lot of sense for the stop-and-go nature of a bus or backhoe.

But the fuel economy would rock!

Yes, it would be a cleaner truck with a better fuel economy, and in theory, it sounds good. But most people who buy a diesel truck are buying for torque and towing power, and a hybrid engine doesn’t really help with towing. In fact, the hybrid engine turns off for most highway driving and always for towing. Then you have the fact that batteries add to the weight of the truck, reducing the payload and towing capacity.

Are we going to lose light-duty trucks?

With the move toward zero-emission vehicles and companies like Dodge talking about dropping the Hellcat engine and GM aiming for full-electric by 2035, what happens to the light-duty diesel trucks that are so popular right now? Tim and Alan address this and a whole lot more in the video below. Watch it. Let us know what you think.

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Erica Mueller

Erica Mueller is a Texan, which means she believes that trucks are family vehicles and giant SUVs make good second cars. As part-time auto journalist for almost a decade, Erica enjoys driving all kinds of vehicles and sharing her experiences with others. Erica is the secretary of the board for the Texas Auto Writers Association as well as a contributor at A Girls Guide to Cars.

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  1. Ric February 16, 2021

    Light duty diesel truck popular? When?

    1. Erica Mueller March 5, 2021

      Of course they aren’t as popular as the gas versions, but Ford, Chevy and Ram are all making light-duty diesel trucks now and they are selling! When I bought my Ram Ecodiesel I had a hard time finding one on a lot within 90 miles of me. In fact, I only found two. Total.


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