Motive Industries Inc. (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) on Feb. 1 announced a new design for pickup trucks with the inroduction of the 2012 Bison, which features an hybrid-electric powertrain and composite body panels.
The Bison is targeting the compact to mid-sized light truck class like the Ford Ranger, Chevy Colorado, Toyota Tacoma and the Honda Ridgeline. The Bison's two-tone, 19-inch wheels are pushed out to the corners of the truck to provide a long wheelbase. Inserts in the wheels can be body color, or an opaque Lexan for an EV edition. It has a cab-forward design, made possible in part by less space required in the engine bay to house a V-6 or even V-8 ICE. The smaller engine bay still provides plenty of room for a powerful small turbo diesel, CNG or pure electric motors.
Motive notes that major benefit of the composite-bodied pickup is the ability to have a profitable low to medium production run model of anywhere between 500 to 25,000 vehicles. The company argues that the 100,000-plus production run model is in many ways becoming difficult to manage as OEM's are struggling to meet the demands of the constantly developing technology and erratic market trends. One of the largest differences in these models is in the tooling investment required for stamped steel vs. composite. In many cases, says Motive, the costs for composite tooling can be a fraction of the cost of similar stamped steel tooling. This allows an OEM to manufacture a vehicle at a much lower production run and still make a profit.