Sunday, June 1, 2014

Is Ford's Quest for an Aluminum Chassis Worth it?

Ford's Quest for better MPG and lighter pick-ups.

Shaving weight and adding power.

Ford has announced their new approach with an aluminum chassis in efforts to maintain sales and thwart off high MPG guzzlers'. The new 2015 F-150 made its debut at the 2014 Detroit auto show and Ford announced how they have meshed various grades of (top secret) aluminum to create a lighter, tougher truck. The new F-150's towing capacity wasn't announced, but is expected to increase through body mass savings from the aluminum switch by 700lbs.  This comes from Fords announcement of a 70% weight savings, including 500 lbs from the short cab and 700lbs on a super crew. 


Ford hasn't defined what or how certain alloys were used, it was hinted that they used the same tactics from military HMMWVs and data gained from assisting in the development of the original aluminum Jaguar XJ.(seen below)  The new metal is expected to resist dents and dings better than steel and drop repair costs by 10%.  We all thought Saturn was on to something with their dent resistant doors. And why is it when I hear aluminum, I still think of a soda can?

The weight distribution was played out through a "cascade effect" which is lightening other components because of lighter bodywork.  The F-150 still comes with an array of options, the aluminum shell is still capable of four engines, the downsized 3.5 Liter from 3.7-liter TiVCT V-6, the new 2.7 liter EcoBoost V-6 and a 3.5 liter EcoBoost followed by the 5.0L V-8 which remains leader of the pack.  All the engines will be backed by a 6-speed automatic transmission. Someone has to say it though... isn't it a little ironic that V-8 power and steel were the main attributes for American power, and now, we are seeing the embrace of the Japanese Turbo and aluminum engineering? ... Just saying.  On a better note, all power to Ford for embracing new R&D technologies and innovation with their new automobiles. Might I add,  doing so without becoming a government bailed out corporation full of recalled product.



The 2.7 Liter EcoBoost was put to the test in 2013 by running the Baja 1000 incognito and finishing without trouble or issues. Not sure if incognito would be the right word though, as it does say Eco boost right on the side of the truck...


 

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