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Ford Atlas Concept
Switch from steel to aluminum bodies is a major change for Ford

The F-150 truck is a very important vehicle for Ford, as it is the company top seller and a huge source of profit. The next generation of the F-150 is making a move to aluminum for portions of its structure in an effort to shed about 700 pounds and become more fuel-efficient.
 
The key for Ford is apparently to show F-150 fans the aluminum used in the truck has more in common with military vehicles that puny Coke cans. Ford has reportedly asked aluminum provider Alcoa to provide some military grade aluminum for its display at the Detroit auto show where the truck will debut.
 
“This is already the most significant debut at the auto show,” Joe Langley, a production analyst for researcher IHS Automotive, said in a interview with Bloomberg News. “Everybody’s going to be dissecting that thing for a long time, especially since Ford will be taking such a big gamble.”

The F-150 is a huge moneymaker for Ford and if fans of the truck don’t feel comfortable with the truck's new aluminum material, it could mean a big profit slump for Ford. The F-150 has been the best selling pickup line for 36 years and the bestselling vehicle in the country for 32 years.
 
Ford is looking at about six weeks of downtime for its truck building plants to switch machinery, tooling, and robots to facilitate the move from steel to aluminum bodies.

 
 
The huge weight savings are expected to help push the F-150 to nearly 30 mpg highway in its most efficient trim levels (there has been talk of possibly adding a 2.7-liter, six-cylinder EcoBoost engine to the powertrain mix). The most efficient model in the current F-150 lineup only musters 23 mpg highway. And it's almost guaranteed that the next generation F-150 will feature start-stop technology to improve city fuel economy.
 
The new F-150 is expected to resemble the Atlas concept that was unveiled earlier this year

Source: Bloomberg



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RE: Why so large now?
By dsx724 on 12/27/2013 12:40:34 PM , Rating: 4
You can thank having to fit 6.2L v8 engine. The reinforcements that you need to hold and protect the occupant from something that big contributes 500lbs of unnecessary weight. You can make the same amount of power (415HP) out of a 3L.

I don't know about you but I think ABS and airbags save thousands of lives per year and are justified considering that they weigh 100-200lbs extra. Backup camera add a measly 20lb to a car and emissions controls are sized based on the efficiency and burn of the engine. If you didn't have a 6.2L V8, the emissions controls would only weight 50lbs.

Also, the macho man needs a bigger looking truck than his neighbor. I would blame consumerism much more than I would blame the Feds.


RE: Why so large now?
By zephyrprime on 12/27/2013 1:03:15 PM , Rating: 1
You are right. It's all about consumerism. Ford produced a smaller truck (the Ranger) but they discontinued it because no one wanted to buy them :/


RE: Why so large now?
By CaedenV on 12/27/2013 2:28:24 PM , Rating: 2
I was going to get a Ranger, but they discontinued it the year I was going to buy one. As I was only going to use it for hauling stuff on occasion I opted for a wagon car instead.

Granted, I suppose expecting them to extend a model one extra year just for me may be a little egotistical :P


RE: Why so large now?
By Souka on 12/27/2013 2:38:01 PM , Rating: 2
I got a great 1997 Mazda B4000 (it's a Ford Ranger really) with about 45k miles on it I'm selling. Barely a scratch on it, clean title :)

heheh


RE: Why so large now?
By stm1185 on 12/27/2013 11:27:36 PM , Rating: 2
I didnt see the point of the smaller truck. You werent really getting that much improved fuel economy or pricing.


RE: Why so large now?
By Argon18 on 12/31/2013 3:14:56 PM , Rating: 2
The Ranger is great because you can actually see and reach into the bed. In the rest of the world, small Ranger-sized pickups with a 4-cyl turbo diesel engine are returning 40 mpg highway.

For people who need to haul crap, but do not need to tow, a Ranger sized pickup makes the most sense. Not to mention folks who live in urban areas, and appreciate the improved visibility you get in a smaller truck, ease of parking, etc.


RE: Why so large now?
By Richard875yh5 on 12/31/2013 9:16:11 AM , Rating: 2
GM is coming out with a completely redesigned Colorado next year. That is the truck I will buy. It support to be world class vehicle. I believe that will be the case judging from the great vehicles GM has come out with recently.


RE: Why so large now?
By aebiv on 1/2/2014 1:20:10 PM , Rating: 2
No, they canned the Ranger because the powertrain sucked for reliability, mileage, and power.

They were impossible to work on even for minor suspension repair (bushings and such).


RE: Why so large now?
By Darkk on 1/3/2014 12:07:29 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, I drove the Ranger with manual transmission as a company truck and OMG. I was like why this thing have any power? I kept shifting to find the best way to move this thing. Ever since then I vowed to never drive it again.


RE: Why so large now?
By JediJeb on 12/27/2013 1:35:13 PM , Rating: 3
The old 71 model I owned could hold the 460CID (~7.4L) engine with no problems. I had a 302CID(5.0L) in it and it hardly looked like it had anything in the engine compartment, you could almost stand beside the engine between it and the inner fenders.

Now for certain when you slammed the doors it rang like a bell with a hollow sound, simply because it wasn't stuffed full of sound deadener and electronics and such. The dash was mostly steel with only a small vinyl padded section on the very top, as were the inner doors. No plastic to fade or break within a few years.

It just had a three speed manual that was column shifted and drum brakes all around but it was so fun to drive, and it never failed to take me where I wanted to go, well until I buried it in mud up to the axle( it was 2wd ). It was cheap, and touch and I never worried if I banged it against a tree, not like I would one of these new ones. The sheet metal was so tough on it that during a hail storm in the 90s that totaled several cars here, the only thing that happened to that old truck was bright shiny spots on the paint where the hail stones hit, not a single dent( my Dad's 90 ranger looked like a golf ball after that storm). I so miss the days when a truck was just a utilitarian vehicle :(


RE: Why so large now?
By headbox on 12/29/2013 11:01:25 PM , Rating: 2
And if a 2014 Honda Civic hits the 1970s truck, everyone in the truck will die, and everyone in the modern car will walk away. There's a huge reason why modern vehicles are heavier and more expensive: SAFETY


RE: Why so large now?
By JediJeb on 12/31/2013 10:38:04 AM , Rating: 2
That may be true, but if the driver of the Civic would have been paying attention to where they were going the wreck would not have happened in the first place. The biggest reason we need so much safety equipment now is because we have a generation of drivers on the road that worry more about who they are talking to on the phone or what song is playing on the radio than keeping control of their vehicle.


RE: Why so large now?
By aebiv on 1/2/2014 1:22:15 PM , Rating: 2
I would beg to differ considering how I totalled an Accord that pulled out in front of me without looking with my "70's truck."

All I needed was a new bumper.


RE: Why so large now?
By amanojaku on 12/27/2013 2:54:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You can thank having to fit 6.2L v8 engine. The reinforcements that you need to hold and protect the occupant from something that big contributes 500lbs of unnecessary weight. You can make the same amount of power (415HP) out of a 3L.
All things being equal, the larger the displacement (6.2L vs. 3L), the greater the engine's power output. If you lower displacement, you lower the volume of air that can be inhaled, lowering power output.

Which means a small engine with high power output needs to rely on extreme air compression, usually from a turbo or supercharger. There are problems with that, however:

1) Turbo and superchargers add weight and volume
2) Turbo and superchargers require accessories like intercoolers (more weight and volume)
3) Turbochargers and, to a lesser extent, superchargers have less predictable performance (lags and bursts) than naturally aspirated engines (problematic when hauling loads)
4) Higher compression engines need reinforced walls, adding to weight and volume
5) Turbo and supercharged engines are less fuel efficient

The most important reason why you don't see tiny, turbocharged motorcycle engines in trucks, however, is even simpler: reliability. Larger engines last longer than smaller engines when hauling weight. Ford could put the 430HP, 2.7L or 500HP, 3.2L Powertec RPA engines from Radical Sportscars in the F-series, but owners wouldn't even hit 100K miles. The horsepower is the same or greater for the 2.7L and 3.2L, but the wear on the engines is greater in comparison to the 6.2L v8.


RE: Why so large now?
By TheEquatorialSky on 12/27/2013 8:32:12 PM , Rating: 2
(Turbo-)Supercharging primarily creates power by increasing the volumetric efficiency of an engine, not by boosting the CR. An aftercooler helps by increasing compression efficiency (analagous to refrigeration "economizer" cycles).

1) Cost is likely the driving factor
2) Aftercoolers technically aren't required.
3) Twin, VGT and/or double-sided turbos (e.g. Ford 6.7L Scorpion) make this a non-issue.
4) Somewhat true, but turbos don't require a high CR.
5) This is thermodynamically not true.


RE: Why so large now?
By Totally on 12/28/2013 1:38:38 AM , Rating: 3
Dude you are talking out your ass. Sure you can make the same power with a smaller displacement engine but the torque isn't going to be anywhere near the same and that's important if you plan on doing any real work.

A 3l engine doesn't exactly weight nothing either, and 3.#L V6s are already offered so I don't know where you are trying to go with that logic.


RE: Why so large now?
By Totally on 12/28/2013 1:50:42 AM , Rating: 2
Dude you are talking out your ass. Sure you can make the same power with a smaller displacement engine but the torque isn't going to be anywhere near the same and that's important if you plan on doing any real work. Kind of the point of a WORK TRUCK isn't it?

A 3l engine doesn't exactly weight nothing either, and 3.#L V6s are already offered so I don't know where you are trying to go with that logic.


RE: Why so large now?
By Nfarce on 12/28/2013 2:28:44 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
You can make the same amount of power (415HP) out of a 3L.


And if you knew anything about trucks and towing, you'd know that low end torque that V8s produce is more important than high revving blown V6 horsepower.


RE: Why so large now?
By JediJeb on 12/31/2013 10:39:55 AM , Rating: 2
Very true. And an inline 6 would make even more torque at a lower rpm than the V8, but those have all but disappeared because of the mandate for emissions and fuel economy.


RE: Why so large now?
By Argon18 on 12/31/2013 3:21:19 PM , Rating: 3
Straight-6 has nothing to do with emissions and fuel economy. Nothing at all. The straight-6 is a superior engine layout because it's inherently balanced, and does not require any balancer shafts or harmonic dampeners. BMW uses straight-6 layouts still today (I love mine, so smooth)

The reason straight-6 engines have mostly gone away is two fold; packaging and manufacturing cost savings. A V6 or V8 is shorter and more compact, and gives them more flexibility in body styling. A V6 can also be built on the same assembly line as the V8, and is essentially a V8 with two fewer cylinders.

But a straight-6 is still superior, from a technical standpoint. Why do you think Cummins still uses it for their diesels? In case you still had any doubt, consider that Ford uses the "powerstroke" v8 diesel in their F250, F350, and F450. But guess what they use in the F550, F650, and F750? Yup, it's a straight-6 Cummins diesel.


RE: Why so large now?
By jabber on 12/29/2013 12:42:34 PM , Rating: 2
I must admit I'm always puzzled on my trips to the US and Canada when I see these huge trucks rumbling around.

Why?

They never have anything larger in the back than a Labrador.

I don't think I've ever seen one actually lugging anything of consequence. I saw a garden rake once.

Most odd.


RE: Why so large now?
By Spuke on 12/29/2013 3:25:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
They never have anything larger in the back than a Labrador.
I think you're lying. I see contractor trucks and trucks towing and hauling loads quite often. As a matter of fact, I see more work trucks than privately owned one's. What I do find interesting is that a Nissan Frontier (Navara) in the UK has a max payload of 2400 lbs but that same truck here in the US has a max payload of 1500 lbs. That would definitely account for the size differences in trucks. Some folks that use their trucks for a living tell me the bed size is the biggest issue. Apparently the standard is being able to lay a 4x8 sheet of plywood flat in the bed.


RE: Why so large now?
By jabber on 12/31/2013 1:04:44 PM , Rating: 2
Yes much more a van culture here than truck culture.

Stops stuff getting wet too.


RE: Why so large now?
By Nfarce on 12/29/2013 8:22:38 PM , Rating: 2
Uhm, you do realize that trucks don't always have a trailer attached to them or bails of hay or firewood in their beds 7x24, right? I have a Nissan Frontier which mostly tows a boat on the weekends about 6 months out of the year. It is also used to get firewood in the fall and winter months, the occasional Home Depot run with landscaping stuff, and a few other errands for large things that can't fit in my cars. Friends also borrow it from time to time for truck stuff.

Besides, what the hell business is it of yours what someone chooses to do with THEIR truck even if it means using it like a car??


RE: Why so large now?
By Spuke on 12/30/2013 2:25:10 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Besides, what the hell business is it of yours what someone chooses to do with THEIR truck even if it means using it like a car??
BAM!


RE: Why so large now?
By troysavary on 12/31/2013 9:56:22 AM , Rating: 2
I am not using the power of my GPU to its' fullest when I type this post, but there are times when I want that power. A truck is the same. When I want to go off-road, haul firewood, move a buddy's sofa, pick up rocks or sod for landscaping, etc, a truck is what I need. Does it sometimes get used simply to take me where I want to go? Sure, but who are you to tell me what I can or can not do in a vehicle?


RE: Why so large now?
By Argon18 on 12/31/13, Rating: 0
RE: Why so large now?
By troysavary on 12/31/2013 4:36:19 PM , Rating: 1
Nothing says insecure like commenting on the sizes of sexual appendages of those having different tastes or opinions.


RE: Why so large now?
By SilthDraeth on 12/29/2013 9:26:59 PM , Rating: 2
Considering my 1990 Ford has a 7.5 liter ie the venerable 460 v8, why would a 6.2 take anymore space?


RE: Why so large now?
By Andrwken on 12/30/2013 1:46:05 PM , Rating: 2
Why do you think engine displacement has anything to do with the physical size of the engine. A corvette 6.2L V-8 takes up less physical space then a 3.5L ford ecoboost. No overhead cams, no turbocharger or innercooler. This engine also offers similar output with similar mileage in the same vehicle (see 23 mph silverado with 5.3L). This is the result of better design and engineering not simple can size. I don't know this for sure but I would bet the 6.2L that Ford produces is very similar in size to the smaller 3.5 which makes this a moot point really.


RE: Why so large now?
By Camikazi on 12/30/2013 3:02:41 PM , Rating: 2
Is the low end power and torque there for that engine though? These things aren't really about HP they are more about torque and tower power so the engine has to be able to deliver that without exploding.


RE: Why so large now?
By aebiv on 1/2/2014 1:21:09 PM , Rating: 2
Backup cameras also add cost, and complexity.

Why would I want a fleet truck that spends 99% of the time on a work site with a trailer equipped with airbags and a backup camera?

I wouldn't.


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