Hyundai has made it clear that the upcoming Santa Cruz was designed to share powertrains with its platform sibling, the Tuscon - but more than just the gas engine offerings. According to a report from AutoBlog, in addition to the two engine options already announced, the 2.5 L and 2.5 L turbo, Hyundai lends credence to further powertrain sharing, including the possibility of plug-in hybrid and all electric options:
The [Tuscon] already offers a plug-in hybrid variant, and when asked, Hyundai representatives confirmed that the platform does support not just hybrid, but potentially full electric and fuel cell powertrains. They wouldn't comment on plans for adapting any of these powertrains to the Santa Cruz, but it seems like it wouldn't be terribly difficult if there's demand.
The Santa Cruz is no hardcore off-roading machine and isn’t meant to compete against the likes of the Jeep Gladiator. But offering an electric powertrain in a platform like this, even if just a plug-in hybrid, would be a big step toward getting the average Jane or Joe onto dirt roads and easy trails under electric power. The little Santa Cruz could suit the needs of a great many pickup buyers just fine too.
While we don't have official numbers on things like curb weight just yet, Hyundai has provided exterior dimensions, and the little trucklet's proportions are tidy enough that it might clock in well under the 4,000-pound mark. If the plug-in version, despite extra weight from the battery, could stay under two tons as well, we'd expect a decent amount of range and would hope for something in the ballpark of 35-45 miles of all-electric get-up-and-go for the plug-in hybrid.
Hyundai and Kia both have come out of the gates swinging on the EV front. We wouldn't be one bit surprised if Hyundai were to make the Santa Cruz part of the spearhead and give it some legitimate, if not eye-popping, EV or PHEV credentials. We have good reason to believe that the yet-to-be-announced Ford Maverick will also offer electrified drivetrains, so it would make sense for Hyundai to do the same. We’re looking forward to the wee truck showdown, and think that this segment will see more than just two entries in the next few years to come.