Image source: Ford Motor Co.
This will produce a driving range of approximately 700 miles on the 30-gallon fuel tank and 12,000 lbs. of towing capacity. All 2021 F-150s are equipped with 10-speed automatic transmissions, and Ford assures us that the hybrid-electric system is capable of sustained use, even at extreme ambient temperatures and heavy loads.
The new F-150’s electrification extends outside the truck, with an available Pro Power Onboard electric power system gives customers the option of a 2.0-kW 120-volt AC electric power system in trucks with conventional gas engines. The PowerBoost hybrid trucks can be fitted with either a 2.4-kW, 20-amp system or an upgraded 7.2-kW, 240-volt, 30-amp system that can run heavy-duty equipment like welders and compressors in the field.
There is also innovation inside the cab, where the F-150 has a 12-inch instrument cluster display and an optional 12-inch central infotainment display, with an 8-inch display on entry- and mid-level trim levels.
One novelty is a power-folding shifter, which lies flat to clear space for a flat work space for a laptop computer atop the center console. And Max Recline seats in King Ranch, Platinum and Limited models fold completely flat like business class airline seats to provide comfortable sleeping surfaces for the two front seats.
Absurdly high-quality audio is available in the ’21 F-150, including an eight-speaker Bang & Olufsen on F-150 XLT and an optional 18-speaker B&O Unleashed system with speakers in the headliner and front headrests on F-150 Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum, and standard on Limited. You might think such a lavishly equipped truck should well just drive itself, and the 2021 F-150 can oblige that impulse.
The new Active Drive Assist system allows for hands-free driving on more than 100,000 miles of divided highways in the U.S. and Canada. It uses a driver-facing camera to track head position and driver eye gaze to ensure driver attention to the road while the truck guides itself with no hands on the steering wheel.
New F-150s will be delivered with the necessary hardware, while the extra-cost software to enable it will come via an over-the-air update during the third quarter of 2021, the company says. Another key new safety technology is Intersection Assist, which detects oncoming traffic while the driver is attempting a left turn. If there is risk of a collision with an oncoming vehicle, the truck will automatically apply the brakes. This will be a crucial benefit to motorcyclists, who are frequent victims of vehicles that turn left directly in front of them.
Ford’s Dearborn, Mich. truck plant and Kansas City assembly plant in Claycomo, Mo. will build the trucks, with delivery to customers this fall. Pricing, horsepower and EPA ratings will all be released later this year.
Dan Carney is a Design News senior editor, covering automotive technology, engineering and design, especially emerging electric vehicle and autonomous technologies.