Why don't automakers build large hybrid vehicles?

... like half-ton pickup trucks (e.g., Ford F-150, Dodge RAM 1500, Nissan Titan) or big SUV's? I would think that improving the fuel economy of one of these would have more of an impact than two smaller vehicles.

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Automakers are slowly making hybrid drivetrains available in all market segments.

    For a few years, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups were available with a mild-hybrid drivetrain. (pretty much only auto-stop, with 120v AC outlets for work equipment)

    Out this fall for 2008 in the US will be the Chevrolet Tahoe hybrid and GMC Yukon hybrid.

    The Toyota Highlander Hybrid and the sister Lexus RX400h have been available since 2006.

    Smaller SUVs have also been available: the Ford Escape Hybrid, the Mercury Mariner Hybrid, the Mazda Tribute Hybrid, and the Saturn VUE Green Line.

    In Japan, Toyota has hybrid versions of some of their larger-duty trucks available, such as the Dyna and the Toyoace. (Toyota also has hybrid versions of 2 minivans/MPVs, the Estima and the Alphard, but just hasn't offered them outside of Japan yet...)

    If more people contacted the manufacturers and requested that their favorite model be available in a hybrid drivetrain, then more may become available sooner. If more people bought the currently-available hybrid options, then the manufacturers may be more inclined to make more hybrids available. If the manufacturers could build more hybrids to keep up with demand, so that dealers weren't adding an "availability surcharge" premium over MSRP, more people could buy them if they made them...

    Source(s): http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=157557,0... for the summary of the US Federal income tax credits available for different qualifying hybrids in the US.
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  • 1 decade ago

    For does have a hybrid explorer, but the creation of hybrids is market driven. The people who care about fuel economy (and are willing to pay the premium for a hybrid) typically will opt for fuel efficient cars. Making a car a hybrid basically gets its city milage to the same level as highway, so a 18MPG highway/12MPG city SUV that goes hybrid becomes roughly an 18MPG/19MPG vehicle...stilll not very eco-friendly. This vehicles will only go hybrid under two conditions:

    1. Federal law mandates it (either directly or via fuel economy standards).

    2. Gas gets so expensive that hyprids' lower fuel costs balance the extra upfront cost (gas would have to get to about $6/gallon for this).

    One last point, F150s and other "work trucks" are often bought by budget concious small businesses (construction, landscaping, etc.) who have little appetite for any type of increased cost. Luxury passenger cars are likely to go hybrid first.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Lexus has a Hybrid luxury sedan and SUV.

    For heavy trucks the power needed to overcome inertia means the hybrid system wont be as effective as with a lighter vehicle. The whole purpose of a hybrid is to use the electricity in the batteries during acceleration, when the most energy is being used. But a battery to get a big truck moving from a dead stop would be huge.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Hybrid technology has simply not caught up to the larger vehicles yet. What is out there would be underpowered for a larger, heavier car - and be incredibly expensive to purchase.

    I think we will see these one day - but when it comes to trucks and SUV's the car industry has never really tried to do anything about fuel economy - the governement lets them ignore the issue and so they do.

    Mainstream fuel efficient vehicles would make everyone happy but the oil companies.

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  • Bob
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    A few reasons.

    People who buy these vehicles generally don't care about gas mileage. Few on them are used for their designed purposes, mostly it's people who think they're "cool".

    Advertising a small hybrid that gets better gas mileage than people are used to in cars, gets attention and draws customers. Advertising a large truck that gets the same mileage as a car, doesn't.

    For the few people who actually do carry big loads, the gas engine in the hybrid would have to be large enough to handle them. Somewhat defeats the idea.

    In the short run anyway, biodiesel may be the way to go.

    But if only the people who need the capacity bought the trucks, we'd save enormously.

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  • 1 decade ago

    They are. For instance the hybrid Tahoe and Yukon.

    http://www.chevrolet.com/hybrid/

    http://www.gmc.com/yukon/index.jsp

    However, these large hybrids only improve mileage efficiency by ~25%. So they go from like 16 mpg to 20 mpg. That's better than nothing, but large trucks and SUVs are inherently inefficient, so you don't gain a whole lot by hybridizing them.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Because there is no market for large hybrid cars. For Japanenese auto manufacturers to commercially produce fuel efficient hybrid cars the Philippine goverment should limit the gas miliage to as low as 21 kilometers per liter by not allowing registration of cars with lower than 11 kilometers per liter consumption. Large vehicles for government officials and wealthy businessmen does not worry for high fuel consumption because there is huge budget for it and registration does not lower the road user tax for large hybrid vehicles having high miliage.

    Source(s): ford cars
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Because obviously if you are in the market for a large SUV or truck you don't give a rat's behind about fuel economy or the environment.

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  • NLBNLB
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    I once discussed with a teacher about how much effort me make to optimize a screw out of aluminum to make it 1/2gramm lighter for a car which will be driven by an over 200 pounds driver and wether it´s really worth it :-)

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  • 1 decade ago

    there are many hybrid cars

    and chevy has a hyvrid tahoe ford has a hybrid explorer

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