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Truck Trends: A $200k fabric pickup, plus new Toyota Tundra with more towing functions

Just when you thought you saw it all, British company Fering Technologies is touting its fabric-bodied electric-powered Pioneer and saying it can achieve up to 4,350 miles of range when you factor in the three-cylinder diesel generator aboard. 

The Fering Pioneer is a 4X4 pickup, of sorts, that sports two electric motors that draw power from a battery pack that is reported to provide 50 miles of all-electric driving. Then the 800cc three-cylinder diesel kicks in and extends the range while achieving a reported 42 miles per gallon. 

Further, that diesel can also act as a generator for things other than the truck. 

The Fering Pioneer is about the same length as a midsize SUV but weighs just 3,300 pounds, thanks to an aluminum frame skinned with the kind of fabric material typically used for hiking boots, which the company says is resistant to damage and easy to repair. 

The company’s principals have backgrounds in auto racing, aeronautics and supercar design.

Fering says the Pioneer’s motors provide a maximum of 443 lb-ft of torque, which is similar to a V8. It rides on global standard 22.5-inch commercial truck wheels to make replacements easy to find just about anywhere. 

A long-range tank option will provide the maximum range, but the space can be used for water tanks instead.

Only about 150-200 of the vehicles are expected to be built annually, which makes sense since the selling price is expected to be $206,000. 

New Toyota Tundra

Toyota released details and photos of the 2022 Tundra with the biggest news of the release being a new power plant, a 437-horsepower, 3.5 L V6 that sports 583 lb-ft of torque thanks to an electric boost motor similar in ideology to that found in the Ford F-150. 

The only transmission available will be a new ten-speed automatic. 

The truck’s frame has also been beefed up with a high-strength boxed steel ladder frame.

Like the half-ton Ram, the new Tundra employs coil springs at the rear instead of the previous generation’s leaf springs. 

Towing capability

Toyota claims the new Tundra can tow up to 12,000 pounds with a cargo-carrying capacity of up to 1,940 pounds. This will make it a much more capable towing vehicle than previous models. The rear frame member is widened to improve stability and towing capability. 

High-strength steel is employed throughout the chassis to increase rigidity considerably over the previous generation, while aluminum is used in key areas to help reduce weight. Frame cross members are more than doubled in size to provide additional reinforcement and rigidity. A new front cross member was constructed for the steering gearbox. This adds rigidity via additional cross-member support while enhancing steering input for the driver and handling dynamics.

New Tow/Haul modes

Two new Tow/Haul modes are available on Tundra. The standard Tow/Haul mode increases throttle response and is ideal for lighter to moderate needs, such as small box trailers, utility trailers or small boats. In Tow/Haul+ mode, throttle response is more aggressive for situations when towing larger trailers such as RVs, larger box trailers or larger boats. On the i-FORCE MAX powertrains, not only is the electric motor constantly in operation for immediate responsiveness when needed, but the Stop and Start functions are also deactivated so as not to inhibit performance.

Several new cameras are employed on Tundra, displaying multiple exterior angles that are viewable from the available 14-inch touchscreen or the available rearview mirror camera accessory. On TRD Pro or vehicles with the TRD Off-Road package added, Multi-Terrain Monitor is available to allow the driver to check the immediate surroundings for potential obstacles by simply pressing a button for front-, rear- and side-camera views on the display. 

Those trailering will be especially interested in the Panoramic View Monitor (PVM), which uses cameras to display a top-down view of the truck on the available 14-inch monitor for added visibility. Views include the rear truck bed to check on cargo, a rear split view to show what’s nearby on each side of the trailer, and a hitch view to assist with trailer connecting.

New power extending and folding tow mirrors offer an improved view of whatever you’re trailering, thanks to the taller profile and the revised spherical radius of the mirror curvature to increase the driver’s field of view. The new mirrors are heated, feature an integrated turn signal and Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) notification, and they also house the cameras for the PVM/MTM systems. 

One of the brightest ideas on the new mirrors is the addition of LED trailering lights, which are controlled via a button inside the cabin to provide light rearward toward the trailer during nighttime or low-visibility situations.

Trailer Back Guidance on the Tundra

Trailer Back Guidance aids in the overall maneuvering of trailers, while the Straight Path Assist feature is designed to ensure your truck and trailer will back up in a straight line. The available 360-degree cameras aid with visibility and tough-to-see areas around the truck and trailer. When connected with Toyota’s integrated trailer brake controller, even the Blind Spot Monitor can recognize blind spots for not just the truck but the trailer as well.

The available new air suspension system can also make towing a simpler proposition, as it offers the ability to load-level the rear height to find the right balance between truck and trailer.

Creature comforts in the interior

A new interior will offer creature comforts for driver and passenger alike, including an available panoramic roof, heated and ventilated front seats, rear sunshade, heated steering wheel and more. A host of new tech features are found throughout Tundra, as well, such as towing aids, off-road enhancements, an all-new multimedia system featuring wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with over-the-air updates. Two different four-door layouts are available, as well as various bed lengths including a 5.5-foot bed, 6.5-foot bed and an 8.1-foot bed.

The Tundra will go on sale later this year, and pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.

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Bob P
28 days ago

I wonder if the fabric covered truck means when it gets dirty just pop off the panels and throw it into the washing machine along with Tide and wallah your truck is clean.