New HEV pickup showcases composite body panels

Motive Industries Inc. announced a new design for pickup trucks with the Feb. 1 introduction of the 2012 Bison, which features a hybrid-electric powertrain and composite body panels.

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Motive Industries Inc. (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) announced a new design for pickup trucks with the Feb. 1 introduction of the 2012 Bison, which features a hybrid-electric powertrain and composite body panels. Bison is targeting the compact to midsized light truck class, where it will compete with the Ford Ranger, the Chevy Colorado, the Toyota Tacoma and the Honda Ridgeline. Motive notes that a major benefit of the composite-bodied pickup is the ability to have a profitable low-to-medium production run of anywhere between 500 and 25,000 vehicles. The company argues that light truck model production runs of more than 100,000 units are, in many ways, becoming difficult to manage as OEMs struggle to meet the challenges presented by continuously developing technologies and unpredictable market trends as well as the tooling investment required for stamped steel. In many cases, says Motive, the costs for a part’s composite tooling can be a fraction of the cost of the metal-stamping tooling it would require. The reduced cost of tooling permits an OEM to manufacture a vehicle in smaller numbers and still make a profit.