2019 Ram 1500, 2018 Detroit auto showEnlarge Photo
The three most significant debuts at the 2018 Detroit auto show were pickup trucks, one from each of the Detroit Three automakers.
The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado full-size pickup led on Saturday night, followed on Sunday by the 2019 Ford Ranger, a mid-size pickup that rivals the Chevy Colorado on sale since 2015.
The trio was rounded out on Monday by the 2019 Ram 1500, Fiat Chrysler's full-size pickup that competes directly with the Silverado and the Ford F-150.
All of these trucks will be notably more fuel-efficient than their predecessors, and each of the full-size entries will offer a 3.0-liter turbodiesel 6-cylinder engine for the highest ratings.
Those will be V-6 formats for Ford and Ram, but a new inline-6 for the Chevy (and likely for its GMC Sierra counterpart as well).
The Ram 1500 will offer a 48-volt mild-hybrid system and a Ford F-150 Hybrid has been promised for introduction sometime during 2020.
What green tech best suits pickup trucks in 2030?— Green Car Reports (@GreenCarReports) January 15, 2018
For green-car fans and electric-vehicle advocates, the lack of any mention of plug-in alternatives might have been surprising for vehicles that will run into the mid-2020s.
But that's status quo for the high-volume and highly profitable pickups that provide the cash for Detroit to subsidize R&D into electric vehicles, none of which are profitable today—even at GM, by far the most advanced of the three on that front.
The idea of competition from electric pickup trucks, whether Tesla's promised all-electric pickup truck in 2022 or plug-in hybrids from the likes of Workhorse, largely doesn't appear to have registered on Detroit's pickup makers.
Nor is there a reason it should: customers do not appear to be asking for it, and certainly the battery capacity required to move huge, unaerodynamic vehicles weighing 2 to 3 tons before cargo is far higher than for passenger cars.
2019 Ford Ranger, 2018 Detroit auto showEnlarge Photo
So this week's Twitter poll asks what our followers think is the appropriate technology to take pickup trucks from 2019's slightly higher fuel efficiency into 2030's world of much lower or very possibly zero emissions.
Our four choices are more efficient gasoline engines, plug-in hybrids, battery-electrics, and hydrogen fuel cells.
We suspect we may have an idea where the results will come out, but often the polls surprise us. All Twitter users are invited to vote on the poll today.
As always, please note that our Twitter polls are far from scientifically valid, due to small sample size and self-selection by those who choose to participate.