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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
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
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
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
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?

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads

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