“So, Mr. Fields, about that situation with Toyota…” Nope, NPR host Ari Shapiro didn’t go down that potentially rocky road when interviewing Ford CEO Mark Fields about the company’s progress in the green-vehicle sector. But the host did get the Blue Oval head honcho to confirm that a hybrid F-150 would be on US roads by the end of the decade.
The US automaker has already said it’s investing more than $4 billion in vehicle electrification, and has even gone as far as announcing potential plans to get into the ride-hailing industry dominated by companies such as Uber and Lyft. Fields acknowledged that hybrid vehicle sales haven’t progressed a ton in the US during the past few years and went on to say that greener vehicles are “necessary” as global pollution becomes more of an issue and US and European greenhouse gas emissions regulations get more and more strict. To that end, Fields confirmed that Ford will have a “rear-wheel-drive hybrid truck” for sale by 2020.
Ford’s global product development chief Raj Nair said the same thing last year, adding that hybrid SUVs would also be part of the mix. As for that situation with Toyota, the world’s largest maker of hybrid vehicles had planned to collaborate on hybrid-vehicle technology but that partnership was called off in 2013. Toyota has since hinted that Ford may have benefited more from the information exchange than Toyota did. Whether that’s helped push Ford ever closer to making that hybridvariant of the F-150 pickup truck, no one is saying. Especially not on NPR.