Ford Debuts Full Hybrid Powertrain for F-150 Pickup, Industry First

Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn today announced the all-new 3.5-liter PowerBoost full hybrid powertrain is now available in the all-new F-150. It is the only full-hybrid powertrain available in a pickup.
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Ford F-150
The 3.5-liter PowerBoost full hybrid powertrain is now available in the all-new Ford F-150. // Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Co.

Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn today announced the all-new 3.5-liter PowerBoost full hybrid powertrain is now available in the all-new F-150. It is the only full-hybrid powertrain available in a pickup.

PowerBoost generates up to 430 horsepower and 570 lb.-ft of torque — the most torque ever in an F-150. Pricing information was not made available, but TheTruthAboutCars.com reports “the cheapest hybrid is the XL 4×2 regular cab with (an) 8-foot box, stickering for $38,495.”

“Just because it’s a hybrid doesn’t mean we treated PowerBoost with kid gloves,” says Craig Schmatz, chief engineer of the F-150. “To earn Built Ford Tough certification, PowerBoost went through the torture testing we put all of our powertrains through. No F-150 powertrain gets a pass, we have one standard for quality and durability.”

Tests included towing fully loaded trailers over desert mountain passes in 100-plus degree temperatures, withstanding punishing terrain off-road, over frozen tundra, and enduring high-humidity chambers, salt baths, and especially rough roads.

In addition, Ford engineers built a custom testing machine using multi-axis hydraulic actuation to violently shake the powertrain’s 1.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery — simulating conditions like hitting the harshest of potholes and washboard roads, then subjecting it to even more daily abuse.

Putting the battery through just 82 hours on this machine is the equivalent of 10 years of mechanical torture. “This thing is like a mechanical bull on steroids,” says Jack Parnoutsoukian, a Ford high-voltage application engineer.

In combination with the modular hybrid transmission, the battery enables the operation of Pro Power Onboard to deliver a standard 2.4 kilowatts of exportable power or available 7.2 kilowatts — 18 times more power than the nearest competitor, Ford official state.

For instance, Davis Dam in the Mojave Desert of Arizona is a massive 11.4-mile slope that climbs 3,500 feet with an average 6 percent grade and harsh heat. It is one of the toughest places in the United States to test towing performance. PowerBoost trucks loaded to the maximum available tow rating of 12,700 pounds climbed and descended the Davis Dam pass over and over and over again to prove the full durability of the engine, modular hybrid transmission, cooling systems, and towing technologies.

At the Ford Michigan Proving Grounds in Romeo, Ford said the PowerBoost was tested on road surfaces too punishing for test drivers. Robots repeatedly drove PowerBoost over a continuous series of man-made potholed and grooved roads at the unique Silver Creek test course.

Silver Creek includes a dozen distinct types of metal-edged chuckholes repeated for almost a quarter mile. Fully loaded to the maximum available payload of 2,120 pounds, PowerBoost successfully ran the course hundreds of times. It also proved itself against the extreme inclines of the proving grounds, on high-speed ovals, and in water intrusion events.

Ford engineers also traveled to the Anza-Borrego Desert in southern California. By subjecting PowerBoost-equipped trucks to mountainous sand dunes, slippery and jagged rocks, high-speed trails, and mud walls, engineers stated the hybrid system can deliver the power and capability F-150 owners need for work or recreation.

The all-new 2021 Ford F-150 goes on sale this fall. It is being built and assembled at the Dearborn Truck Plant at the Ford Rouge Center in Dearborn, and the Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Mo.

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