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New engines support CNG, biodiesel (B20), E85, and get 20 percent better fuel economy during std. fuel driving

On Friday Ford Motor Comp. (F) unveiled the 2013 F-Series Super Duty.  "High technology" and "heavy truck" don't always mix like sugar and water -- at least when it comes to topics like fuel efficiency and in-car electronics -- but for an automaker who considers itself as a burgeoning "technology company" we were intrigued at what it would bring to the table.

I. Advanced Electronics

Ford announced that for the first time its top Super Duty models -- "Lariat", "King Ranch", and "Platinum" -- would be getting MyFord Touch.  Ford has incorporated redundant knob-based climate controls (as seen in the 2012/2013 Ford Explorer) and also a new set of tactile button controls to accommodate users wearing work gloves who would be unable to fiddle with a touch screen.

The idea that someone would be driving a luxury truck and wearing work gloves may be laughable to some, but note that MFT (and the buttons) should be available in base model Super Duty trucks (e.g. the XL and XLT) as well -- although it will be an option, not standard.

Our sources at Ford claim that MFT has seen surprisingly high pickup as an option on the “lesser” F-150.  Thus as a standard feature, it may actually be a purchase motivator.

MyFord Touch
[Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech]

Available with an F-250, F-350, or F-450 cab, the Super Duty also boasts an advanced "Productivity" digital system that Ford introduced in 2011 and has been refining ever since.  The system automatically detects whether you've properly attached your trailer and gives you advice on how to attach it, if necessary.  The Productivity helper also keeps profiles on all your trailers to track their mileage and fuel economy (both average and real time).

Ford Super Duty wide
A red and black 2013 Ford Super Duty [Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech]

II. New Engines

The heavy trucks also feature a brand new pair of engines -- a 6.2-liter V8 gas-burning engine and a 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel engine.  Ford has employed some novel engineering techniques in the new engines -- for example, traditionally in large V8 engines exhaust is on the outside of the "valley", where as intake is on the inner track. Ford reversed this, putting the exhaust inside the valley, an approach that shorts the distance to the turbo and offers better heat isolation.  The cumulative result is better responsiveness, vital when towing heavy, potentially dangerous loads.

The new engines offer a fuel economy improvement of roughly 20 percent.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency does not track fuel economy in heavy work vehicles, so there's no official numbers, but Ford says fuel economy can reach the low 20s when the driver is load-free.  Performance when hauling loads will likely dip to 8 to 10 miles per gallon.

Power Stroke engine
Ford's new 6.7L diesel Power Stroke and 6.2L gas engines are 20 percent more fuel efficient.
[Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech]

Both engines have alternative fuel options -- the 6.7L diesel can handle biodiesel blends up to B20, while the 6.2L gas-burner is capable of running on ethanol blends up to E85.  For natural gas fans, a retrofitted 6.2L compressed natural gas (CNG) version is also available.

III. The Road Ahead

Driving a heavy truck isn't for everybody, but Ford appears to be leveraging its impressive portfolio of technology even in this very purpose driven market niche.  Bria Rathsburg, F-Series Super Duty Marketing Manager brags, "[The new Super Duty] has a distinct appearance and a long list of features to deliver a superior experience.  Along with that it has all of the capability F-Series trucks are famous for."

Super Duty rear
Unlike its competitors, Ford actually has to pay its bills when it comes to taxes.  Still the Ford Super Duty doesn't look any worse for wear.
[Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech]

That's good news for Ford in a market where it's seeing increased competition from General Motors Comp. (GM) and Chrysler.  It's not exactly a level playing field -- its rivals, freed of having to pay taxes can deeply invest in research and development, while Ford is forced to surrender a major part of its earnings to Uncle Sam.  That said, Ford appears more than ready to rise to the occasion.


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Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog Rule
By BioHazardous on 3/12/2012 11:45:29 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's not exactly a level playing field -- its rivals, freed of having to pay taxes can deeply invest in research and development, while Ford is forced to surrender a major part of its earnings to Uncle Sam.


This is the Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog Rule for the automotive industry: No automobile manufacturer shall through its own efforts be allowed to have success that would put its competition at a disadvantage. Should a competitive advantage be identified that puts a competitor at a disadvantage, the Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog Rule will be applied to restore equilibrium through any means necessary.

The good of society is paramount over the rights of the individual.




RE: Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog Rule
By danjw1 on 3/12/2012 12:21:15 PM , Rating: 2
This, I assume, refers to GM who got a deal with the government for taking TARP money. It does give them an unfair advantage. I don't agree with this provision of the deal. Since GM is profitable, it should be paying taxes.


RE: Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog Rule
By BioHazardous on 3/12/2012 12:28:15 PM , Rating: 2
Apparently there's no love for Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged on this site. I thought people would enjoy a comment poking fun at GM with the correlation and parallels to the government programs created in Atlas Shrugged. Alas, I have been rated down.


RE: Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog Rule
By Spuke on 3/12/2012 12:39:26 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't know that GM wasn't paying taxes but can we actually talk about the article for once? I'll start and comment on luxury in trucks. Ford's been offering luxury in trucks quite a number of years now. I have a 2006 F250 Lariat. All leather, heated front seats, sunroof, aluminum wheels, etc. They also offered the King Ranch editions back then too. This isn't really news. The addition of the new Platinum package and MFT to the SD's is news however (I would love MFT).


RE: Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog Rule
By BioHazardous on 3/12/2012 12:55:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The addition of the new Platinum package and MFT to the SD's is news however (I would love MFT).

I'm anxious to get the update to MFT, but in its current form, it's nothing to be overly excited about having with random freezing and rebooting coupled with slow and cumbersome navigation.


RE: Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog Rule
By weskurtz0081 on 3/13/2012 12:08:08 AM , Rating: 2
I guess it's not every MFT system that has these problems. My sister has a 2011 Explorer, and while it does exhibit a minor bit of lag from time to time, she hasn't had a single freeze in about 6 months...


RE: Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog Rule
By FITCamaro on 3/12/2012 1:24:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The good of society is paramount over the rights of the individual.


Yeah I'm going to go with no.


RE: Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog Rule
By BioHazardous on 3/12/2012 1:39:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yeah I'm going to go with no.

I don't seriously believe that. My comment was merely meant to poke fun at the situation.


RE: Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog Rule
By Mint on 3/12/2012 4:29:44 PM , Rating: 2
Is that quote correct? Aren't most R&D expenses tax deductable?


Back to the article
By FITCamaro on 3/12/2012 1:40:27 PM , Rating: 2
Why anyone would buy one of these trucks with a gas engine is beyond me. The diesel engine variants can get 25 mpg on the highway. The better fuel economy and towing ability easily makes up for the added cost over the gas variant.




RE: Back to the article
By Spuke on 3/12/2012 3:22:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The diesel engine variants can get 25 mpg on the highway.
Maybe with the older trucks or with a hypermiler behind the wheel but none of the new one's will get that. Best I've gotten was 22 mpg. Still an order of magnitude better than the gas engined versions. In defense of the gas versions, the diesel option typically costs ~$6000-$7000, you do lose a little carrying capacity and towing capacity (gas trucks are lighter), maintenance costs are higher, and diesel in CA costs more than 87. IMO, you might break even. My main reasons for buying diesel was fuel economy WHILE towing, more power and torque, and an engine specifically built for commercial use.


RE: Back to the article
By themelon on 3/12/2012 5:31:39 PM , Rating: 2
I have seen 23.5 with my 2004.5 Duramax as long as I keep it between 70 and 75. 80 drops to about 18-19. 70mph with a 29' fifth wheel with a loaded weight of about 12k I was getting 12.

My dad gets about 19 highway on his 2011 F350 6.7PS running 80 on the highway unloaded, about 14 with his camper on it going about 65-70.


RE: Back to the article
By Spuke on 3/12/2012 5:46:27 PM , Rating: 2
I typically get 10-12 towing my 30' 5th wheel but at 65 mph (lots of mountain driving as I live in CA). Unloaded at 80 mph I get 19 mpg. This is hand calculated, not using the display BTW.


RE: Back to the article
By Manch on 3/13/2012 3:07:28 AM , Rating: 2
My pops gets about 22-24 highway depending on the weather. Usually about 17-18 in the city. That's what the in-car err truck display says. He also lives in NC in the relatively flat area around FT Bragg


RE: Back to the article
By jharper12 on 3/13/2012 7:42:46 AM , Rating: 2
"fuel economy WHILE towing"

Spot on, definitely where diesel shines. I will say though, that while the price is steep upfront, diesel just makes sense to me. It's not like you pay $6k to $8k for the diesel, and if you haven't saved $6k to $8k in fuel costs by the time you sell the truck you've made a poor choice. Diesel trucks last longer and can tow more, so they hold their value better. It's hard to find a sub $10k used diesel truck. I've seen plenty of diesel trucks with over 250k miles on them sell for $15k or more.

Hands down if you're going to tow, diesel is a great choice. If you're not going to tow, you can still make a case for diesel. What I'm more excited about?

http://www.insideline.com/chevrolet/silverado-1500...

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/12/us-marke...

A truck that can run off of natural gas and regular gas, when yesterday we had the following headline, "Natural gas ends down 2 percent, stays near 10-year low"

That's pretty sweet.


Headsup... I've got a rant
By apinkel on 3/12/12, Rating: 0
RE: Headsup... I've got a rant
By danjw1 on 3/12/2012 12:23:58 PM , Rating: 3
Ford is succeeding on its own. GM took TARP money and doesn't have to pay taxes, even though they are now profitable again. I will always go with the company that innovates its way to success over the one that needs handouts to get there.


RE: Headsup... I've got a rant
By apinkel on 3/12/12, Rating: 0
RE: Headsup... I've got a rant
By InsGadget on 3/12/2012 3:13:38 PM , Rating: 2
You may have a point on editorial vs technical articles, but that's how DailyTech is. Most of their articles have some opinions explicitly or subtly voiced.

Anyways, they are right here: Ford has been innovating and modernizing for longer, so they deserve more praise right now than GM or Chrysler.


RE: Headsup... I've got a rant
By apinkel on 3/13/2012 11:46:02 AM , Rating: 2
There are news organizations that lobby for topics by expressing opinions... Fox News (conservative), MSNBC (liberal) and there are news organizations that take a more traditional approach to reporting news like CNN.

This is all OK since all three of these organizations have consistent messages and purpose. Anyone that has their eyes open can figure out the positions of the organization on various issues.

For DT the thing that is so frustrating is the lack of focus. Are they fighting for conservative issues (no government bail out), are they fighting for liberal issues (global warming), or are they lobbying for advancements in technology? They don't do any one of these things consistently.

I like the selection of topics they cover on this site because I am into technology but I do struggle with what seems like a bunch of individuals voicing their opinions. I would just like to know where they stand.

Also, IMO, Ford is no more innovative than Chevy... Chevy has better real-world truck MPG (avg 16 mpg according to real user reports on fuelly.com) then Ford (15), Toyota(14-15) and Chrysler (13) since around 1999. Chevy made the only hybrid truck which many contractors love due to the fact that they have an onboard power source in addition to being more fuel efficient. They have excellent reliability, etc..


RE: Headsup... I've got a rant
By jharper12 on 3/13/2012 8:19:02 AM , Rating: 1
The following is partially a response to your post, but primarily a general response to this specific genre of GM bashing.

I'll always go with a company that offers the best product. FYI, shortly after Ford got its start, it went bankrupt leaving investors holding the bag. Cadillac was started from the ashes of the first Ford company. Really. Time makes the current GM bashing seem a little silly, for how long does one continue to hold a grudge that only limits one's choices in the marketplace?

For instance, should any given consumer?

Never get another mortgage?
Never buy a Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep product?
Never fly Delta?
Give up twinkies?
Not buy a Ford? Because Visteon is a part supplier, and they emerged from bankruptcy protection in 2010.

Here's the reality, "During November 2008, Ford, together with Chrysler and General Motors, sought financial aid at Congressional hearings in Washington, D.C. in the face of worsening conditions caused by the automotive industry crisis."

Ford asked for a handout, and when they didn't get it, they chose to forgo the TARP option. In other words, GM asked for a handout, because they HAD to do something. Ford asked for a handout, and when they were offered a loan instead said, "nope, we're good thanks." That is better to you? Really? If I begged you for five bucks so I could eat tonight, you declined, and I headed straight for McDonalds to buy myself a meal... that wouldn't piss you off?

Being upset about a bailout, not a bad idea. Not choosing the best product in the marketplace for some reason, shooting yourself in the foot. Worst yet, if you're a, "I'll never forget, and for the rest of my days I'll never buy a GM product person." Please buy a Pinto and make a habit of stopping suddenly. Sure, people die from irony all the time, but this example will be particularly poignant.


Level playing field
By wookie1 on 3/12/2012 11:59:04 AM , Rating: 3
Not only do their competitors not have to pay taxes, but also the debts were wiped away. Not even close to level.




RE: Level playing field
By FITCamaro on 3/12/2012 1:29:51 PM , Rating: 2
Yet another reason the bailout should not have happened.


RE: Level playing field
By jharper12 on 3/13/2012 8:36:36 AM , Rating: 2
First, please read my above post, I think you'll find it terrible, but still find no logical way to respond to it. Second, here's the article regarding the tax carry forward back from 2010:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014240527487044...

It's not news, people knew this would happen two years ago. ALL companies that received TARP funding got to carry forward their losses, and that was an IRS decision. They came to this decision, because as far as they were concerned, "the value of the benefit is greater than the lost tax payments, especially since the tax payments would not exist if the companies fail."

I'd write you a list of companies that carried forward losses in 2011, but there's probably not room for hundreds of thousands of names on this board. That's not to say there's not room for at least one example... hmm... who should it be?

"During the final months of last year, Ford added the values of old tax losses back to its books, raising the value of the company by $12.4 billion."

In other news: http://publicmind.fdu.edu/2011/knowless/


My Ford Touch in the 2012
By Manch on 3/13/2012 3:32:59 AM , Rating: 2
They have both the 6.7L Desiel & My Ford Touch available for the 2011/12 SuperDuty. So which items are actually new? Just the biodesiel & e85 ratings?




Reporting
By jharper12 on 3/13/2012 10:52:39 AM , Rating: 2
Jason, in my opinion, this statement is poor reporting:

"Unlike its competitors, Ford actually has to pay its bills when it comes to taxes. Still the Ford Super Duty doesn't look any worse for wear."

That is sensationalized news.

"During the final months of last year, Ford added the values of old tax losses back to its books, raising the value of the company by $12.4 billion.

Before the automaker's turnaround took hold in 2009, Ford had spent about a decade posting massive financial losses. Companies can apply portions of losses from prior years to their current taxes, so old losses can be considered corporate assets. But to take advantage of those losses, companies have to be profitable enough to pay taxes."

GM and Ford can both carry over losses in their taxes, and Ford can and does use the exact same tax strategy.

It's funny, but very misleading. If you choose to keep it up, I'd like to know what value it contributes to the reporting that offsets the misleading nature of the comment. I don't know who wrote the comment, but I know I wouldn't want my name/reputation associated with this comment.




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