Hybrid vehicles have been a staple in the automotive world since the Honda Insight burst onto the scene in 1999, followed by the 2000 debut of the Toyota Prius. Since then, virtually every automaker has released a hybrid, and some have even built upon the technology with new plug-in hybrid variants.
Hybrid trucks, however, have experienced a relatively slow rollout — just a smattering of these hybridized do-it-all vehicles exist. To help you decide if a hybrid truck is right for you, we’ll give you the rundown on hybrid trucks, their upsides and downsides, and which models are available or will be available soon.
A hybrid pickup is any truck that uses a traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) with an electric motor for propulsion. Their exact setup may vary, as some use the electric motor for initial acceleration while others have the electric motor chiming in at all times.
There are also plug-in hybrid vehicles, but there are no pickups in this segment yet. Plug-in hybrids use the same ICE and electric motor combination, but the electric motor acts as the primary propulsion unit until the batteries are depleted. At that point, the ICE kicks in and acts as a generator to power the electric motor.
Of course, the key benefit to a hybrid pickup is that it offers increased fuel efficiency without big sacrifices in power and capability.
For example, Ford’s 2021 F-150 with the base 3.3-litre V6 engine has a fuel-consumption rating of 16.6 L/100km city, 12.6 L/100km highway, and 14.8 L/100km combined, while the F-150 Hybrid has ratings of 9.5 L/100km city, 9.1 L/100km highway, and 9.3 L/100km combined.
The other key benefit of hybrid trucks: they have less of a negative impact on the environment. For example, the base F-150 emits 253 grams of CO2 emissions per km, whereas the F-150 Hybrid emits just 217 grams per km.
Pricing is the first downside to buying a hybrid truck, as they tend to carry a significantly higher entry price. For example, a new 2021 Ford F-150 starts from $35,479, but the hybrid model's entry point is $50,589 because Ford offers it only as a SuperCab model. Even if you compare apples to apples, the base F-150 XL SuperCab Hybrid comes in at $5,750 above the base F-150 XL SuperCab.
Also, while automakers have made massive strides in hybrid tech, there is still a slight capability tradeoff in pickups. Let’s go back to our example F-150. When equipped with the non-hybrid 3.5-litre turbocharged V6, this pickup can tow up to 6,350 kg and has a 1,474-kg3,250-pound payload capacity. With the 3.5-litre PowerBoost hybrid powertrain, it tops out at a 5,760-kg12,700-pound towing capacity and a 962-kg2,120-pound payload capacity.
Some of the reduced capability is due to mechanical limitations, but some is also the added weight of the batteries and electric motor.
Hybrid pickups have been around since the late 2000s, with General Motors leading the charge with its Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Hybrid and GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid models. Since then, RAM and Ford have gotten in on the electrification.
The Chevy Silverado 1500 Hybrid arrived in 2005 as a mild hybrid, but the model hit its stride in the 2009 model year, which included a 6.0-litre V8 and a 60-kilowatt electric motor for a combined 379 horsepower. This was a dual-mode hybrid unit that allowed the pickup to reach 46 km/h on electric power alone — albeit very slowly. It could tow up to 6,100 pounds, which was about even with its lower-rated V8 ICE siblings but well below the 4,853 kg10,700 pounds it could tow with the range-topping 6.2-litre V8.
In 2009, the Chevy Silverado 1500 Hybrid was joined by its mechanical twin, the GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid.
This combination also resulted in approximately a 40% increase in fuel economy, making its $3,000-$4,000 premium a less jagged pill to swallow.
As of this writing, Chevy and GMC no longer offer new Silverado Hybrid or Sierra Hybrid models, but the pre-owned market will have a smattering of 2016-2018 Silverado 1500 Hybrid and GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid models, which was the most recent generation.
These green pickups reverted to the mild-hybrid setup by replacing the more powerful electric motor with the eAssist system. This system added 13 horsepower and 44 pound-feet of torque to the existing powertrain and boosted city fuel economy by 13%.
Because the eAssist is a mild-hybrid helper instead of a primary powertrain, it has no impact on the Silverado and Sierra's towing capacities.
Ford was a late adopter of hybrid options in a full-size pickup truck, as its best-selling F-150 didn't offer a hybrid variant until 2021. The F-150 Hybrid — available in the SuperCab model only — pairs a turbo 3.5-litre V6 with a transmission-mounted electric motor and a 1.5-kWh lithium-ion battery pack to crank out 430 horsepower and 570 pound-feet of torque.
This setup gives the F-150 a very short all-electric driving range at up to 16 km/h. The hybrid system's biggest impact, though, is fuel economy, as the 2021 F-150 Hybrid with rear-wheel drive consumes 9.5 L/100 km city, 9.1 L/100 km highway, and 9.3 L/100 km combined. This is an improvement of the 4.4 L/100 km city, a 0.9 L/100 km highway, and 2.4 L/100 km combined when compared to the non-hybrid F-150 with the 3.5-litre V6.
RAM entered the hybrid pickup segment with the 2019 introduction of the eTorque 48-volt mild-hybrid system. This system remains in place as of the 2021 model year. It’s standard on all V6 RAM 1500 models and optional on 5.7-litre V8 models.
In V6 variants, the electric motor adds 12 horsepower and 90 pound-feet of torque, while the V8 system adds 16 horsepower and 130 pound-feet of torque. This extra power has almost no impact on the RAM 1500's acceleration, but it does give it a small fuel economy boost.
The 2021 RAM 1500 eTorque with the V6 engine checks in at 11.9 L/100 km city, 9.4 L/100 km highway, and 10.8 L/100 km combined, which is 3 L/100 km city, 0.2 L/100 km highway, and 0.9 L/100 km combined better than the 2018 model, which was the last year the V6 was available without eTorque.
The V8 model allows a slightly more apples-to-apples comparison, as the 5.7-litre V8 engine is still available without eTorque. With eTorque, the 5.7-litre-equipped RAM 1500 delivers 14.1 L/100 km city, 10.3 L/100 km highway, and 12.4 L/100 km combined, which are improvements of 2.1 L/100 km city, 0.2 L/100 km highway, and 1.2 L/100 km combined.
Like the Silverado and Sierra, opting for the RAM 1500 eTorque has no impact on towing capacity because these are mild-hybrid setups.
There are currently only three hybrid trucks on the market, but other automakers have already committed to entering the green truck space. Here's what we know so far.
Toyota was a trailblazer in the hybrid car space with its Prius, but it never adapted its hybrid technology for truck use. However, that appears to be changing soon.
In April 2020, Toyota issued a press release that read "Toyota intends to bring electrification to its pickup truck lineup in the near future, including hybrid and BEV powertrains," indicating the automaker is planning hybrid and possibly full-electric trucks.
Its current pickups, the midsize Tacoma and full-size Tundra are long overdue for redesigns, and this could be the perfect time to fold in some electrification.
Reports indicate 2023 would be the earliest we'd see this.
Tesla has no plans to release a hybrid pickup, but it will soon offer a greener alternative in its Cybertruck. The Tesla Cybertruck won't be your traditional pickup — it has a spaceship-like design and a 0-100 km/h time of around three seconds with its range-topping Tri Motor AWD powertrain.
According to Tesla, the Cybertruck will be available in late 2022.
Clutch offers a wide range of quality pre-owned vehicles — even hybrid trucks. Since there are still only a few hybrid truck options, we may not always have many in stock, but check our online inventory often to see our latest supply.
Not only will you save money by buying your pre-owned hybrid truck from Clutch, but you also get the added assurance of a 210-point inspection and reconditioning process and a 90-day or 6,000-km warranty. Plus, you get 10 days to test your pickup truck. If you don't love it, you can return it for a full refund or exchange it for another vehicle.
On top of all that, the Clutch buying process is 100% online. This means there are no dealerships to visit or salespeople to deal with. You simply choose the hybrid truck you like, complete the purchase process online, and wait for us to deliver it to you.