Aluminum key to fuel savings for Ford F-150

Sept. 30, 2014
SAN ANTONIO, TX. Though Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel mileage certification tests won’t be completed until November this year, Ford Motor Co.

SAN ANTONIO, TX. Though Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel mileage certification tests won’t be completed until November this year, Ford Motor Co. believes the new aluminum alloy body of its 2015 F-150 pickup will deliver fuel savings of anywhere from 5% to 20% when compared to its current F-150 iteration – savings customers will gain regardless of specific model, engine type, or application, said Matt O’Leary, Ford’s North American vehicle line director for trucks, SUVs, and commercial vehicles.

“Basically, you’re going to get more capability, durability and performance without sacrificing fuel economy – in fact, you’re actually going to gain fuel efficiency compared to our outgoing [F-150] model,” O’Leary told Fleet Owner here at a special ride and drive event held on the Six Flags fairgrounds outside San Antonio.

The critical calculation underpinning the new F-150 is its power to weight ratio, added Peter Reyes, chief engineer for the F-150 line. That’s because the up to 700 lbs. shaved off the pickup’s weight due to the 95% to 96% all-aluminum alloy composition of its body can be “reinvested” in the truck to do more work, he explained.

“In a car, making its light provides better steering, braking, handling, agility and fuel efficiency,” Reyes (seen at right) noted “You get the same benefits with a lighter truck but with added towing and payload capacity. That’s why the power-to-weight ratio is the name of the game now.”

Overall, he believes the new 2015 model F-150 delivers a 5% to 16% better power-to-weight ratio compared to the current version. That new calculation is also what gives the new 2015 model F-150 the ability to tow up to 12,200 lbs. and haul up to 3,300 lbs. of payload.

The demonstration event held by Ford at the Six Flags fairgrounds – which includes performance driving and competitive towing exercises, dynamometer tests, and an overview of the F-150’s standard 360 camera system – will go tour in the U.S. starting this month, visiting 26 cities in an a national effort to educate some 10,000 Ford dealer sales personnel on the new attributes of the 2015 model F-150.

Additionally, Ford expects to offer some 20,000 test drives of the new F-150 to consumers between Oct. 11 and Dec. 21 this year in 38 U.S. cities.

New features on the 2015 model F-150 highlighted here at the Six Flags demonstration site include:

  • A standard 360-degree view camera system that create a “bird’s-eye view” of the truck to help drivers park the vehicle, maneuver in tight spots, and navigate narrow roads and trails;
  • Integrated loading ramps enable easy loading of equipment such as motorcycles and lawn mowers;
  • A new integrated “BoxLink” system that combines metal brackets and custom cleats within the truck’s cargo bed – a system that can upgraded to include ramps, storage bins, and bed dividers;
  • Light emitting diode (LED) head lamps and tail lamps;
  • A trailer hitch assist rearview camera feature that incorporates a dynamic line based on steering wheel angle in the display to help customers line up their truck and trailer with no spotter or need to exit the vehicle;
  • Four gasoline engine options, including the all-new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, which delivers 325 hp and 375 lb.-ft. of torque.

The OEM noted that its new 2015 model F-150 will continue to be manufactured at its Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, MI, and Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, MO.

When it goes on sale later this year, Ford said its plans to offer five primary trim levels for the 2015 model F-150, including its base package XL trim, followed by the XLT, Lariat, Platinum and King Ranch.

Chrome appearance packages are available with XL, XLT, Lariat and King Ranch, the OEM added, with monochromatic sport appearance packages are available with XL, XLT and Lariat. The FX4 off-road package can be added to most four-wheel-drive models, improving trail capability with an electronic locking rear axle, skid plates and off-road-tuned shocks, Ford added.

About the Author

Sean Kilcarr | Editor in Chief

Sean previously reported and commented on trends affecting the many different strata of the trucking industry. Also be sure to visit Sean's blog Trucks at Work where he offers analysis on a variety of different topics inside the trucking industry.

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