2015 Ford F-150 Drops 700 Pounds, Gains MPG and Hi-Tech

by Christopher DeMorro

The new 2015 Ford F150 pickup uses an aluminum body to cut more than 700 lbs. of weight from its body compared to the 2014 model. Combining those massive weight savings with other changes, like the addition of a new, 2.7 liter twin-turbo Ecoboost V6 and the same sort of active shutter system we suggested Ford incorporate into its trucks back in August, makes this new Ford seriously more fuel efficient than any vehicle this big has a right to be!

So, we love the new F150 already, but will consumers love it? Will they be turned off by the smaller engine or the perception that steel is stronger than aluminum? Read all about the new 2015 Ford F150 reveal at NAIAS, watch the video, and let us know what you think of the new big Ford in the comments.

2015 Ford F-150 Pickup at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, U.S.A.-1
2015 Ford F-150 Pickup at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, U.S.A. All images by Christopher DeMorro/Cleantechnica

The 2015 Ford F-150 has been revealed, and it is arguably the biggest reveal of the year. Utilizing lots of aluminum to shed about 700 pounds of weight and employing all sorts of new technologies, like active grille shutters and a new, smaller EcoBoost V6, the 2015 F-150 promises to remain Ford tough while delivering class-leading fuel economy…and then some.

Analysts had predicted Ford could lose as much as 600 pounds by going with an aluminum-intensive 2015 F-150, but Ford managed to drop a whopping 700 pounds off of the outgoing model, which even in its trimmest form (regular cab 2WD) still weighed about 4,700 pounds. This weight loss will have huge ramifications for fuel economy, as will a suite of fuel-saving technologies, starting with a new 2.7 liter “Nano” EcoBoost engine.

While Ford isn’t delivering power numbers, estimates put the Nano in the 300 horsepower and 350+ ft.-lbs. of torque range, slotting in nicely between the base 3.5 liter non-EcoBoost V6 (which replaces the 3.7 liter) and the 5.0 V8, which carries over with the 3.5 liter EcoBoost V6. The new 2015 F-150, despite getting bigger and gaining a bolder look that borrows heavily from the Ford Atlas Concept, and the new front end demands you pull over once this big truck takes over your rearview mirror. The squarer look is also more aerodynamic too, at least according to Ford engineers, further improving MPG gains.

As far as technology goes, Ford knows parking a big truck can be a big pain, and added an optional 360-degree camera connected to an 8-inch LCD screen. LED lighting is used both front and back, and at highway speeds the active grille shutters close to improve fuel economy, though Ford has not mentioned any specific numbers thus far. If they can’t squeeze 30 MPG out of a 700-pound light F-150 though, they’re doing it wrong, although engineers were initially aiming for just a mild 3 MPG improvement.

If you ask me though, the 2015 F-150 does everything right, and will more likely than not continue Ford’s domination of the full-size pickup market.

2015 Ford F-150 Pickup at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, U.S.A.-10
2015 Ford F-150 Pickup at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, U.S.A.
2015 Ford F-150 Pickup at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, U.S.A.-9
2015 Ford F-150 Pickup at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, U.S.A.
2015 Ford F-150 Pickup at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, U.S.A.-8
2015 Ford F-150 Pickup at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, U.S.A.
2015 Ford F-150 Pickup at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, U.S.A.-7
2015 Ford F-150 Pickup at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, U.S.A.
2015 Ford F-150 Pickup at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, U.S.A.-6
2015 Ford F-150 Pickup at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, U.S.A.
2015 Ford F-150 Pickup at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, U.S.A.-5
2015 Ford F-150 Pickup at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, U.S.A.
2015 Ford F-150 Pickup at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, U.S.A.-4
2015 Ford F-150 Pickup at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, U.S.A.
2015 Ford F-150 Pickup at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, U.S.A.-3
2015 Ford F-150 Pickup at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, U.S.A.
2015 Ford F-150 Pickup at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, U.S.A.-2
2015 Ford F-150 Pickup at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, U.S.A.

This article, 2015 Ford F-150 Sheds 700 Pounds, Gains Tons Of Tech, is syndicated from Gas 2.0 and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Jo BorrasJo Borrás I’ve been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the Important Media network. You can find me on Twitter, Skype (jo.borras) or Google+.

How to Buy a Car and get Free Fuel

by John Brian Shannon

What if you could buy a car and (except for the normal taxes, insurance, maintenance and parking stall fees, etc.) you could drive it around for free? What I’m talking about is fuel, which for most people is a major cost these days.

Steve: In Los Angeles, the gas price is hovering around $4.00 per gallon. At that price, ‘Steve’ uses about $21.00 of gas (5.3 gallons) to travel 96 miles every weekday. He is likely to spend $106. per week in mixed driving, totalling about $425. per month.

The question is; What would ‘Steve’ rather do with $5100. per year?

If you want an easy way to calculate vehicle fuel costs, miles per dollar (MPD) works as good as anything – and for this hypothetical SUV it costs about $0.22 per mile to drive in mixed traffic. (Maintenance, taxes, registration, parking, etc.… not included in these figures.)

Suzy: HerHybrid Prius also does a lot of stop and go city driving. Her EPA sticker says she should get 48 MPG city driving and 45 MPG highway driving. At $4.00 per gallon for gas, she uses $8.00 of gas (2 gallons) to travel 96 miles. Her cost per mile? Suzy’s Prius costs about $0.08 per mile to drive in mixed traffic. (Maintenance, taxes, registration, parking, etc.… not included in these figures.)

Ken: He drives a Nissan LEAF, which doesn’t even have a gas tank — because it is an electric vehicle, but the EPA sticker on the car when it was new advertised an equivalent of 95 MPG, which is expressed as 95 MPG-e.

Scenario A) If Ken charges his car’s battery pack at home, he pays for the electricity to charge it resulting in an electricity cost of $0.04 per mile. Depending on how Ken drives and his electricity rate, each $1.00 of stored electricity could get him up to 25 miles.

Scenario B) If Ken uses the many available and free fast-chargers placed around the city to recharge his EV battery pack, he doesn’t pay anything per mile — as most 30 minute fast-chargers for electric vehicles are free to use in the U.S.A. In which case, his cost is $0.00 per mile. Buy the car, drive it for free! (Maintenance, taxes, registration, parking, etc.… not included in these figures.)

It may interest you to know that there are over 11,500 EV chargers in the U.S.A. as of Jan 2013, with more are being added every month. They are easily located via smartphone app and are conveniently located in almost every U.S. city.

Now, what to do with that extra $5100. each and every year?

These numbers are hypothetical examples, your costs and/or savings will be determined by your city’s gas prices and your vehicle mileage. Your electricity rate only matters if you choose to charge your EV at home — instead of at a 30 minute fast-charging station, where you can fully charge it for free!

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America: Why the High Unemployment?

by John Brian Shannon

In 1970, of the 89,244 new cars and trucks sold in the U.S.A., 84.9% of them were built in North America, while only 15.1% of them were manufactured in other countries and shipped to this continent for purchase and registration.

In 2012, of the 14.4 million new cars and trucks sold in the U.S.A., 44.5% of them were built in North America, while imports accounted for 55.6% of registrations. Read here.

By any measure, this is an ongoing paradigm shift — which directly relates to American unemployment statistics since 1970.

A total of 15.4 million car and light truck sales are expected in the U.S. for calendar year 2013 — the best year since 2007. By 2014, U.S. sales are expected to reach 16 million, with imports continuing to increase their market share in the U.S.

Since the first Model T Ford rolled off the Dearborn, MI assembly line, millions of  workers have been employed by American automakers – including some workers who worked for the same company their entire career. Fathers who worked at Ford, GM or Chrysler from their childhood until retirement, found their sons and daughters good-paying jobs with their old employers. Unemployment in the 1945 – 1975 era was generally quite low — and that, in the midst of an economically damaging Cold War which negatively affected many parts of society including the unemployment rate, not incidentally.

Generally during the post-war boom, everybody worked, everybody earned a paycheque, and almost everybody contributed to the economy. About late 1973 or early 1974 this began to profoundly change in the United States and in the Western nations generally.

Not to blame the American auto manufacturers for the Arab Oil Embargo, as the Big Three had been assured of low petroleum prices by foreign governments and several domestic administrations — hence the big, V-8 powered cars of the era and their consequently-low MPG figures were popular with both manufacturers and consumers.

But American consumers are a fickle lot. Once the gas price shot upwards in the aftermath of the Arab Oil embargo, Datsun (now Nissan), Toyota and Honda nameplates began selling as fast as the ships could deliver them from Japan.

If only the foreign vehicles were of inferior quality! But they’re not. If only they used more fuel than their U.S. equivalents. But they don’t. The corporate fuel economy average for foreign and domestic makes still favours imported vehicles. Not by the wide margin it once did — and not that GM and Ford haven’t scored impressive MPG victories in some categories, because they have.

But, to put it bluntly, many employed Americans prefer their foreign-built cars. (“And those millions of now-chronically-unemployed Americans will just have to get by.”)

It’s not just cars and trucks either. Historically, most home electronics sold in the U.S.A. including televisions, smartphones and computers were also ‘Made in the U.S.A.’  — but not these days.

Most of the clothing, plastics and extruded metals purchased in the U.S. are now manufactured in Asian and Southeast Asian nations, where countries like Indonesia rely heavily on textile exports to us and other Western nations.

Much of the American conversation these days revolves around the old austerity vs. stimulus debate which reporters and op/ed journalists are required by their respective organizations to cover.

Meanwhile the 80-ton elephant in the room is the trillions of manufacturing dollars which have transferred from the West to Asia since 1970 — and the manufacturing jobs that have gone with them.