XL Hybrids will begin producing its XL3 hybrid electric drive system for 2018 Ford Super Duty F-250 pickups in the first quarter of 2018, the vehicle modifier told Heavy Duty Trucking in an exclusive interview.
“Ford has been a longtime partner of XL Hybrids and has been very helpful in our product development efforts and after having success with the E-Series and Transit vans solution,” said Clay Siegert, co-founder and COO. “Looking at what models were most popular with commercial fleets, F-Series pickup trucks were the natural extension of what we’ve been doing. We’ve had significant inbound interest for this product on the F-250, a tried and true work truck that’s used for hauling, towing, really heavy duty fleet operations, so fleets are looking to improve the MPG.”
The company has adapted its XL3 powertrain technology for the F-250 trucks based on demand from fleet customers who are seeking even better fuel efficiency from Ford's popular three-quarter-ton work trucks.
"We're excited to see XL Hybrids launch its hybrid-electric upfits for our F-250 work trucks to help meet a growing customer need for improved efficiency while maintaining power, torque and work capability," said Kevin Koswick, Ford director, North American fleet lease and remarketing operations. "We look forward to supporting XL Hybrids, a qualified eQVM program participant, with their technology and new upfit offerings in the commercial fleet market."
This will be the first time that Ford F-250 trucks can be ordered by fleet customers with hybrid-electric drive technology, according to the company. While adapted specifically for the F-250, the system will continue to offer up to a 25% increase in miles per gallon, as well as the accompanying reductions in CO2 emissions.
“It is the same platform product architecture that we’ve used for the hybrid product we’ve been selling for five years with 51 million real-world miles on them,” added Ed Lovelace, chief technology officer of XL Hybrids.
The XL3 system will be offered as a ship-thru upfit on 2018 F-250 pickups and will be compatible with a range of wheelbases, cab and bed configurations in both 4x2 and 4x4 options. According to Siegert, XL Hybrids is working with a range of upfitters and will be making formal announcement of preferred upfitters in the upcoming months.
“We will also be announcing specific customer commitments in the coming months,” said Siegert. “Generally speaking, the type of fleets that are interested include utilities, municipalities, national parks, as well as fleets that utilize the box delete version of the F-250 chassis for installing work bodies.”
The company is also willing to partner with fleets to find any available savings related to alternative fuel vehicle purchases.
“If there are voucher or incentive programs available, we will pursue those on behalf of fleets, but generally speaking our business has been built on selling our system without incentives or vouchers because the cost structure and the payback make economic sense,” said Siegert.
For its F-250 hybrid system, XL Hybrids only needed to make modest changes to adapt its XL3 system integration. The system is only 350 pounds, which has a very minimal impact on the payload. There is also zero impact on the towing capacity. Fleets maintain the complete OEM warranty and get a three-year, 75,000 mile warranty from XL Hybrids on the XL3 powertrain.
“On the F250, we specifically waited until Ford went through a design change before we started developing for that platform,” said Lovelace. “The integration is simple and straightforward. It was a natural fit with an average install time of four to six hours.”
The system will have an MSRP of $10,990, and, depending on factors such as the price of gas and the fleet’s initial mpg, Siegert predicted a return on investment in 50,000 to 100,000 miles.
“For leasing customers, it can make economic sense from month one,” he added.