Today, Ford and Toyota signed a memorandum of understanding for a collaboration on new rear-wheel-drive hybrid technology for trucks and SUVs. Yes, that's right, rear-wheel-drive.
Although keep in mind, this isn't the first powertrain agreement Ford's signed before with Toyota, but it comes at a very unique time for both companies — and on a very unique set of products. Although Ford's not announcing precisely which products they'll be working on, it would only be a relevant powertrain if it were to include Ford's bread-and-butter F-150 pickups.
Remember, the Ford F-150 is the best-selling vehicle in the United States — and if this isn't Ford's way of saying "yes, it'll come as a hybrid... sometime" — then this announcement is just smoke and mirrors. Guess we'll have to wait and see which it is.
Toyota's executive vice president of Toyota Motor Corporation, Takeshi Uchiyamada, had this to say:
"Our collaboration with Ford is a move to make hybrid technology more widely available in sport-utility vehicles and in trucks. Those kinds of models are indispensable to American customers. And providing them with our hybrid technology will help conserve energy and reduce output of greenhouse gas here in the United States. That was our thinking in considering the collaboration."
Uchiyamada continued by saying:
"We need to think carefully about how to ensure that cars remain valuable to society in their second century. Great advances in information technology and in communications are transforming the world.
And automobiles need to be part of those advances.
Information technology and communications will play a big role in future transport. Vehicles will no longer be self-contained units. They will be part of a larger interaction with other vehicles and with the transport infrastructure.
Cars will fulfill a new role in people's lives. We at Toyota believe that cars can and will become partners
in more-fulfilling lifestyles.
The foundation for the changes that I am describing will be telematics technologies. We at Toyota have commercialized several technologies in anticipation of the coming revolution in telematics. For example,
we launched our Gazoo automotive portal site in nineteen ninety-eight (1998). And we began offering our G-Book telematics service in two thousand two (2002). In the U.S., we have just introduced the accessible, easy-to-use Entune. By sharing our know-how and experience, we would like to offer even better telematics services going forward.
In the future, plug-in hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles will be connected with home energy systems, and with energy infrastructure. That will help raise overall energy efficiency, and motoring lifestyles will become more rewarding.
Ford has also been building telematics systems and for the same reasons. By sharing our know-how and experience, we can transform what is considered as a "dream" into "practical reality"."
If it sounds like they not only want to be working on hybrid technology, but also telematics systems, you'd be spot on. So, basically, this is how Skynet starts. In a flurry of beige and blue.
Photo Credit: Truck Trend