Aluminum-clad Ford F-150 to Debut in Detroit Next Month, Could Approach 30 MPG HWY
December 27, 2013 9:39 AM
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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
. “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
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Why so large now?
12/28/2013 2:28:44 PM
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?
12/31/2013 10:39:55 AM
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?
12/31/2013 3:21:19 PM
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.
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