XL Hybrids unveiled a hybrid conversion of the Ford F-250 pickup truck at the 2018 Work Truck Show in Indianapolis Tuesday.
In addition to the gas-electric F-250 XLH, the company also showed off the Ford F-150 XLP, a plug-in hybrid truck.
Adding a hybrid component to the powertrain can improve fuel economy by up to 25 percent while the plug-in hybrid can boost efficiency by up to 50 percent, Clay Siegert, XL’s chief operating officer, told Trucks.com.The XLH option costs $10,990 on top of the price of the truck, while the XLP is $24,990.
“With the F-150 as an example, this was the first time we worked on a pick-up, and the first time we offered a PHEV solution. It was driven by utility and municipal fleets saying ‘we want more plug-in vehicles, we want more options,’” Siegert said.
Before offering the plug-in hybrid F-150, XL talked to 50 potential customers and garnered hundreds of preorders. XL went through a similar process with the new F-250 XLH and pre-orders are outpacing the PHEV.
“They actually didn’t want a plug-in, they wanted a hybrid, because this is more of a work truck,” he said. “It’s a different driver, it’s a different duty cycle. They were a little worried about the driver of these types of trucks plugging them in at night. Whereas the drivers of our F-150s are typically supervisors or more of a white collar driver.”
Siegert said the F-350 is a “natural extension” for XL’s next product, “and there are other F-Series trucks as you go up in class that we’re looking at.”
To add the hybrid components XL removes the spare tire in order to have a space to put the battery. It replaces the stock forward driveshaft with a two-part unit that has an electric motor mounted in the middle.
“That’s been a big selling point for us because fleets are risk-averse,” Siegert said. “They don’t want change. They want better mpg, the want sustainability, but they want to keep the vehicle as stock as possible.”
The trucks retain their Ford warranty. XL also offers a three-year, 75,000 warranty on the hybrid additions.
“A lot of the systems that we’re selling are without any incentives, no vouchers, no grants. It’s just fleets saying, this meets our operating requirements, it meets our financial threshold, we’re in,” Siegert said.
XL and other upfitters fill a niche that the manufacturers leave as a space in their product offerings.
“When it comes to the Class 2 space and up, Ford and GM and others are looking at companies like us to fill in that gap,” he said. “We’re perfectly content chasing after thousands of trucks and vans a year, where it might be a mix of makes and models. “
For Ford or General Motors to do the same, they would have to retool factories, he said.
“It’s a really big investment for a market that right now is in the thousands a year,” Siegert said.
Ford, for example, sold nearly 900,000 F-Series trucks last year.