Is the Prius V not big enough for you? Then you'll probably be interested to learn that Ford and Toyota announced a partnership today to develop a new hybrid system for SUVs and light trucks. The "equal partners" deal should result in a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain that will be ready "later this decade" – in other words, in time for the higher CAFE standards that the U.S. government just announced.

The exact models that will use the new powertrain are, unsurprisingly, not being revealed. Instead, all we know is that Toyota and Ford will develop a rear-wheel-drive hybrid system that will improve the efficiency of trucks and SUVs while still allowing them to be driven in the way customers expect them to. The powertrain's architecture will most likely not be the same as what is used in the dominant Hybrid Synergy Drive that Toyota has refined over the past 14 years in the Prius.

The reason no one knows for sure? All that Ford and Toyota have as this moment is a Memorandum of Understanding. The next step will be a feasibility study to figure out what the exact implementation path will be, with the general outline being that the companies will work together on a powerplant that will be used independently in models that are specific to each company (i.e., this is not about sharing a platform or models, just a RWD hybrid powerplant). The two automakers will also work together on in-vehicle telematics.

Today's announcement could further confuse some people's understanding of the history of hybrid technology, since it has long been an urban legend that Ford licensed its earlier hybrid tech from Toyota. This did not happen, as we explained back in 2009.
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Ford, Toyota to Collaborate on Developing New Hybrid System for Light Trucks, SUVs; Future Telematics Standards


Ford and Toyota are collaborating as equal partners to accelerate consumer availability of a new advanced hybrid system for light trucks and SUVs
New co-developed hybrid system ready for use later this decade on Ford and Toyota rear-wheel-drive light trucks and SUVs, delivering greater fuel efficiency while still providing customers the capability they want and need
Ford and Toyota also will collaborate on development of next-generation standards for in-car telematics and Internet-based services


Dearborn, Mich., Aug. 22, 2011 – Ford Motor Company and Toyota Motor Corporation – the world's two leading manufacturers of hybrid vehicles – today announced they will equally collaborate on the development of an advanced new hybrid system for light truck and SUV customers.

Ford and Toyota have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the product development collaboration, with the formal agreement expected by next year.

Both companies have been working independently on their own future-generation rear-wheel drive hybrid systems. The two now have committed to collaborate as equal partners on a new hybrid system for light trucks and SUVs. This new hybrid powertrain will bring the full hybrid experience of greater fuel efficiency to a new group of truck and SUV customers without compromising the capability they require in their vehicles. Ford and Toyota believe that their collaboration will allow them to bring these hybrid technologies to customers sooner and more affordably than either company could have accomplished alone.

"This agreement brings together the capability of two global leaders in hybrid vehicles and hybrid technology to develop a better solution more quickly and affordably for our customers," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. "Ford achieved a breakthrough with the Ford Fusion Hybrid, and we intend to do this again for a new group of truck and SUV buyers – customers we know very well."

Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota executive vice president, Research & Development, said: "In 1997, we launched the first-generation Prius, the world's first mass-produced gasoline-electric hybrid. Since then, we have sold about 3.3 million hybrid vehicles. We expect to create exciting technologies that benefit society with Ford – and we can do so through the experience the two companies have in hybrid technology."

The two companies also agreed to work together on enablers to complement each company's existing telematics platform standards, helping bring more Internet-based services and useful information to consumers globally.

Under the MOU agreement, the two companies will bring the best of their independently developed hybrid powertrain technology and knowledge to a new co-developed hybrid system, which will be used in rear-wheel-drive light trucks arriving later this decade. Specifically, Ford and Toyota will:

Jointly develop as equal partners a new rear-wheel drive hybrid system and component technology for light trucks and SUVs
Independently integrate the new hybrid system in their future vehicles separately

For years, both Ford and Toyota have been working independently on similar new rear-wheel-drive hybrid systems aimed at delivering higher fuel economy in light trucks and SUVs. When the two companies began discussing this potential collaboration, they discovered how quickly they were able to find common ground.

"By working together, we will be able to serve our customers with the very best affordable, advanced powertrains, delivering even better fuel economy," said Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally. "This is the kind of collaborative effort that is required to address the big global challenges of energy independence and environmental sustainability."

Toyota President Akio Toyoda added: "Toyota is extremely proud to join Ford in developing a hybrid system for pickup trucks and SUVs. Not only is this tie-up clearly one aimed at making automobiles ever better, it should also become an important building block for future mobility in the U.S. By building a global, long-term relationship with Ford, our desire is to be able to continue to provide people in America automobiles that exceed their expectations."

This rear-wheel-drive hybrid system will be based on an all-new architecture to deliver the capability truck and SUV customers demand while providing greater fuel economy.

While the rear-wheel-drive hybrid system will share significant common technology and components, Ford and Toyota will individually integrate the system into their own vehicles. Each company also will determine the calibration and performance dynamics characteristics of their respective light pickups and SUVs.

In addition, as telematics plays an increasingly more important role in the in-car experience, both companies have agreed to collaborate on standards and technologies needed to enable a safer, more secure and more convenient in-car experience for next-generation telematics systems. The telematics collaboration relates only to standards and technologies, and each company will continue to separately develop their own in-vehicle products and features.

"Ford has made tremendous progress in the area of telematics," Kuzak said. "We have unique and very good solutions today with SYNC and MyFordTouch. Working together on in-vehicle standards can only enhance our customers' experience with their vehicles."

Uchiyamada added: "Toyota has also invested heavily in telematics in various countries around the world, with services like the G-BOOK and G-Link. 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 in the future."

# # #

About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 166,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com.

About Toyota Corporation
Toyota Motor Corporation-which gave the world the first-ever mass-produced gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle in 1997-produces a full range of vehicles, from luxury cars to trucks and minivehicles, together with subsidiaries Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd. and Hino Motors, Ltd. It has 60 manufacturing companies around the globe and employs approximately 320,000 people. For more information, please visit www.toyota-global.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 67 Comments
      dontneedpants
      • 3 Years Ago
      Another question: Rear wheel drive only? Why not 4WD, since that's the bulk of the large SUV and pickup market unless I'm way off.
        guyverfanboy
        • 3 Years Ago
        @dontneedpants
        The Toyota Highlander Hybrid is 4WD so it wouldn't be hard to do. :P
      IBx27
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ford! Don't touch anything toyota makes! You're smarter than that, and you can develop a far more advanced and efficient powertrain than they can ever dream of. That's why we bought a Fiesta with a 6-speed dual clutch transmission, and not any compact toyota with a 4-speed torque converter auto.
        Zoom
        • 3 Years Ago
        @IBx27
        Just because it's more "technologically advanced" doesn't mean it's better.
          Bruce Lee
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Zoom
          I think ford's MyTouch Sync is the perfect example of where that's totally true. It seems like Ford is really pushing the envelope in terms of tech, which is good, but they seem to be rushing things out without quite ironing out all the kinks of new tech. The dual clutch transmission is a great idea in theory but executing it clumsily means you would have been better off with a conventional 6-speed.
        Hazdaz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @IBx27
        Get real. Toyota's hybrid technology and engineering know-how is second to none. Also if that 6 speed in the Fiesta is the same 6 speed in the Focus, then you should definitely not be using that as an example of Ford's superiority. That dual-clutch unit has been getting panned by most reviews and when I test drove a Focus just the other week, it was awful. Don't get me wrong, I really like Ford's new models, but don't make me laugh if you think they know more about hybrids than the company that has been making them for a dozen years now.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        nlpracing
        • 3 Years Ago
        http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/NussbaumOnDesign/archives/2005/11/is_ford_innovat_1.html The Ford Escape Hybrid (and now the Mercury Mariner Hybrid) was engineered, validated and is manufactured in the United States. There is NO Toyota technology or parts in our vehicle. We received NO technical support from Toyota when designing our hybrid system. We entered into a business arrangement with Toyota where we EXCHANGED patent licences. We licensed 21 patents from Toyota because our hybrid system design was close enough in design to what Toyota did that we wanted to ensure there were no accusations of infringement. At the same time, Toyota licensed several patents from Ford for emissions technology. This was a financial transaction — one which goes on in our industry every day.
          rlog100
          • 3 Years Ago
          @nlpracing
          Technically, Aisin isn't Toyota.
          lne937s
          • 3 Years Ago
          @nlpracing
          The Fusion and Escape hybrids use the Aisin Powersplit E-CVT Automatic. That hybrid transmission (same supplier as Toyota) is made in Japan. While it is called a "hybrid transmission" it contains all the electric motors and mechanical parts that make it a hybrid. Ford also licensed Toyota patents related to use of the hybrid transmission. Ford's hybrids us Japanese Sanyo batteries. While some development was done here (converting the engine to atkinson cycle, making sure electronics work when the engine is off, etc.) and the parts are assembled here, Ford absolutely relies on technology out of Japan to make its hybrids. http://www.aisin.com/product/group/aw.html
          Apex
          • 3 Years Ago
          @nlpracing
          Asin might as well be Toyota. Along with all their Karitsu suppliers. They are not truly indipendent such as a Magna, etc. Toyota owns a majority share in them.
          Bruce Lee
          • 3 Years Ago
          @nlpracing
          Toyota holds a majority stake in the Aisin subsidiary that manufacturers automatic transmissions, so it's somewhat similar to how Delphi was back when it was more of a GM subsidiary. In theory it's run somewhat independently, but on the other hand since Toyota holds the controlling stake you also see the most cutting edge units go only to Toyota. So Lexus essentially gets first dibs on the high end automatics. Which is why you see companies like Hyundai sourcing the low power 6-speed transmission for the Genesis from Aisin but going to ZF for the higher end unit-because Aisin probably wouldn't sell them something nicer at a reasonable price. Not that you can really blame Toyota for not wanting to give everyone else their most cutting edge stuff on the cheap, that'd just be suicidal.
        nlpracing
        • 3 Years Ago
        When did Ford ever "take all the credit when Toyota does all the work"? They licensed some hybrid patents from Toyota and in exchange Toyota licensed some emissions patents from Ford. Get your facts straight! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_Synergy_Drive
          • 3 Years Ago
          @nlpracing
          [blocked]
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      nsxrules
      • 3 Years Ago
      Japan's best and the undisputed leader in Hybrid technology and America's best and America's leader in hybrid technology partnering up sounds like a GREAT idea. The competition better be worried.....
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Dump
      • 3 Years Ago
      Now they're trying to figure out how to build a hybrid transmission like the dual-mode system developed by the GM-DaimlerChrysler-BMW partnership.
      Rotation
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ford did license their hybrid system from Toyota. It's in your own article. Ford developed their own system and that system used methods that Toyota owned the patents on so they licensed the tech. It is Ford's system, not Toyota's but saying they didn't license it is to go too far in the other direction. I have to think this new system Ford and Toyota will be a mild hybrid system. If they wanted a two mode for trucks they could surely license GM's (also shared with BMW and Chrysler and I think Allison uses it in medium duty trucks) with a lot less fuss than making a new one.
        nlpracing
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        Who are you replying to?
          Rotation
          • 3 Years Ago
          @nlpracing
          The author of the article. Sebastian Blanco I guess. He says it's not true Ford licensed their hybrid system from Toyota but as proof points to an article that says Ford licensed their hybrid system from Toyota.
      carfan
      • 3 Years Ago
      what's wrong with you Americans...did you completely lose your minds?! "Partnering" (is the word used by the japanese for the trojan horse) with the competition, especially with the japanese?? These are the same entities who almost killed the American auto industry. How can the west be so stupid
        guyverfanboy
        • 3 Years Ago
        @carfan
        Moron. Look at the auto industry today. *Tata Motors (Indian) owns Jagaur & Land Rover (British) *VW Group (German) owns Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. (Italian), Bentley Motors Limited (British), Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. (French), & Škoda automobilová a.s.(Czech). *Renault-Nissan (French-Japanese) partnership. *Fiat (Italian) has control over Chrysler (American) carmaker. Automakers are all very global now. I wouldn't be surprised if Toyota bought Tesla! So stop spouting nonsense and try to pay attention to the industry!
        David
        • 3 Years Ago
        @carfan
        American auto industries almost died because they were big headed. For too long they relied upon customer loyalty instead of engineering innovations. Without competition you end up with a product that won't change for decades.
      matthew
      • 3 Years Ago
      Great - more fire for the people that way say that Ford couldn't develop their own hybrid system and instead "bought" it from Toyota.
      jbm0866
      • 3 Years Ago
      I guess the days of full size trucks being the only vehicles on the road that can take a beating and still be running 200k miles later with nothing but regular maintenance are over..
      kontroll
      • 3 Years Ago
      nobody should partner with toyota! They are looking all around for some free technology, they even bought into Tesla. They just want your technology. Ford is too good a company to allow these leaches to take advantage of them.
        guyverfanboy
        • 3 Years Ago
        @kontroll
        It's a win-win situation. It's good for both companies.
          carfan
          • 3 Years Ago
          @guyverfanboy
          man you are stupid, how can Tesla giving their technology away be win win...idiot
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