The Ford F-150 is one of the most popular pickup truck series in recent history, but for all the virtues of the F-150 ñ rugged durability, style, convenience, etc ñ one thing it has never been renowned for is its fuel efficiency.
Ford is out to change that.
The bestselling pickup truck in America is getting a makeover for model year 2015, and the Ford Motor Company has recently given insiders a sneak peak at its new F-150 concept, dubbed the ìAtlasî designed to give the popular utility vehicle a much-needed boost when it comes to fuel economy.
And the best part about it is that Ford seems to have achieved this lofty goal without sacrificing the strong, masculine look of the F-150, the power of the engine, or the utilitarian nature of the pickup.
The new F-150 will feature Fordís new turbocharged engine, known as the EcoBoost, which the Detroit automaker claims is able to considerably improve fuel economy with no significant loss of power or style.
Furthermore, Ford has redesigned the pickupís front grille and wheel shutters in an attempt to make the vehicle more aerodynamic, further increasing fuel efficiency.
The early returns from those following the automotive industry closely seem to be universally positive. In fact, the day after the F-150 Atlas concept was unveiled earlier this year, Ford stock prices rose to its highest level in almost two years.
Ford spokesmen say that the unveiling of the new F-150 is a sign that the automaker is firmly committed to improving fuel economy of their entire fleet of vehicles, in order to satisfy stricter federal standards for fuel economy and an automotive public that is increasingly wary of vehicles that get poor gas mileage.
By showing off their more fuel efficient pickup trucks, Ford is looking to make a splash with consumers. Throughout the automotive industry, pickup trucks are known to be the most difficult vehicles to make more fuel efficient; naturally they are large vehicles, with increased tire sizes, and must be capable of towing heavy loads.
Ford has been experimenting with new materials such as high-strength steel, aluminum and carbon fiber in an attempt to cut down on the overall weight of all the vehicles in the Ford lineup. The new F-150 is a whopping 700 pounds lighter than its predecessors, and boasts redesigned axels, brakes and tires, in order to drop excess weight.
They have also indicated a willingness to at least experiment with hybrid and electric car technology, though using these innovations on their pickup truck line is thought to be cost prohibitive at this time.
One curious thing to note is that amidst all the discussion of the changes to the F-150 in design, weight, composition, etc., Ford did not reveal any specific with regard to actual miles per gallon that they expect their new concept truck to achieve.
Nevertheless, one thing is clear: Ford is responding to what they expect the market to demand, more fuel efficient vehicles, even with their light and heavy-duty pickup trucks. Most auto industry experts believe that the recent unveiling of the F-150 Atlas is a real step in the right direction, even if Ford and its competitors have a ways to go yet in making their entire lineups conform with realities of a eco-friendly buying public.
Author Jack Payton is an automotive enthusiast who covers auto related topics for the online tire retailer Tires-Easy.com