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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 amanojaku on 12/27/2013 2:54:43 PM , Rating: 2
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.

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