Gas-saving hybrid power coming to pickup trucks, Jeep models

It's been 20 years since hybrid cars like the first-generation Toyota Prius started showing up on the roads. Nowadays, hybrids are everywhere, as any number of cars and crossover SUVs are available with the technology. Now, get ready for hybrid power in a bigger way - literally - in a full-size pickup truck.

The 2021 Ford F-150 PowerBoost is a full hybrid that provides amazing levels of total horsepower and torque, thanks to a twin-turbo V6 engine paired with the electric drive system. The F-150 PowerBoost system is available on Super Cab models in every trim level, starting at $44,460.

In this new gas-electric hybrid system, the electric motors are integrated inside the 10-speed automatic transmission to reduce complexity. The result is a truck that can do truck things, like serious hauling and towing. It's also the new EPA mileage champ for full-size gasoline trucks: up to 25 mpg combined.

This actually isn't the first hybrid pickup to come to market. Chevrolet rolled out a "mild hybrid" Silverado over 15 years ago, but the hybrid technology wasn't necessarily ready to meet the truck world at the time, with compromises to things like packaging. Chevrolet offered the hybrid Silverado for a number of years, but it sold in pretty small numbers. Currently, there is no hybrid model of pickup from Chevrolet or its corporate sibling GMC.

However, the current Ram 1500 offers a mild hybrid system the company calls eTorque on both V6 and V8 models. It's not the most advanced hybrid vehicle, but the system is good for a mile per gallon here and there.

Another feature of Ford's new hybrid truck: auxiliary power. Whether at the job site, or the camp site, a lot of people like to use portable gasoline-powered generators. But those can be a hassle, and they tend to produce fairly high emissions. The F-150 PowerBoost comes standard with built-in AC power from two outlets in the bed, providing more electricity than a 2000kw generator. And there's an option for 7200kw of power, with both 120-volt and 240-volt outlets. This feature should appeal to both commercial contractors, and people who like to tailgate or camp in style.

And get ready for more applications of hybrid power in larger vehicles, including the rugged Jeep Wrangler. The new 4xe model is not just a hybrid, but a plug-in hybrid. Up to 25 miles of battery range, which means you can get to your favorite camp site or fishing spot using only electric power, no gasoline. This new hybrid Wrangler has a base price of $47,995, and Jeep will also be adding the system to the redesigned Grand Cherokee late this year.

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