The main drawback is noise: Hydraulic motors produce a ratcheting sound that is something like an air wrench. "We can get it to where it isn't objectionable in a commercial truck," Carlson says. "We think we can almost eliminate it with about five years of further development."
The main drive engine, the new 6.0-liter Navistar diesel, will be available in Ford's heavy-duty trucks next year. The production version will yield something less than the show truck's 350 hp, but is more fuel-efficient and less polluting than its predecessor.
To its fuel efficiency gains, the Tonka adds a brace of new safety features. Safety and fuel economy have long been sticking points, and the problems have been exacerbated by rising curb weights and payloads. The looks of this concept Tonka may have been inspired by a toy, but it is likely to have a serious impact in the adult world.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.