Print 26 comment(s) - last by apinkel.. on Mar 13 at 11:46 AM

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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Headsup... I've got a rant
By apinkel on 3/12/2012 11:59:41 AM , Rating: 0
While I like Ford (I have an F150), I do get sick of all the Ford centric marketing messages (at the exclusion of other manufacturers) posted on this site. The ford articles are seemingly always painted as positive, GM and Chysler alwasy seem painted as negative.

It's kind of annoying that the politics of the bailout have so heavily influenced which manufactur's technologies you cover. I prefer a little less policial bias in my tech news coverage.

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 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.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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