Aluminum Isn’t the Only Thing That Makes the New Ford F-150 So Fuel-Efficient
Ford’s switch to an aluminum body for its new F-150 was so revolutionary and headline-grabbing that it overshadowed the other features the Blue Oval incorporated to make its half-ton less thirsty than the one before it.
It’s not as if Ford reskinned the 2014 body with the lightweight metal. It gave the 2015 an entirely new exterior with such gas-saving design cues as a tailgate that gives the air flowing over the top of the F-150’s cab a place from which to detach and strategically angled rear corners/tail lamps to reduce turbulence behind the truck and an airflow-enhancing flush-mounted windshield.
Even the wheels on the full-size pickup were taken into consideration. When they spin, they generate a lot of aerodynamic resistance. Rob Lietz, Ford technical expert in applied computational fluid dynamics, and his team worked around that issue by starting in front of it. According to Ford, “Horizontal slots underneath the headlamps channel air from the front of the truck through ducting to openings in the wheel wells – directing it across the outer surface of the wheel and tire” and minimizing drag.
Right now, a two-wheel-drive F-150 with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 is capable of covering 19 city, 26 highway, or 22 combined miles per gallon of gas. The six-speed auto is the biggest impediment to those numbers climbing higher. Luckily, a 10-speed unit is coming for 2017.
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