Just a few short hours ago, Ford pulled the wraps off the all-new 13th-gen F-150 to a stadium of journalists at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The highly-anticipated pickup uses so much high-strength steel and lightweight aluminum that it shed a staggering 700 pounds — putting the 2015 F-150 leaps and bounds ahead of the outgoing model.
The signature fully boxed frame is still around, but this time 77 percent of it is made up of high strength aluminum, helping to increase stiffness while reducing weight. Officially, the new frame is up to 60 pounds lighter than the current one, and the new aluminum body is claimed to be more resistant to dents and dings while also contributing to serious weight reduction. All in all, the 700 pounds in weight savings will contribute to increases in fuel efficiency while also allowing the F-150 to tow more, haul more, accelerate faster and stop shorter.
“Our objective was to find materials that allowed us to design the truck to be as tough, or tougher than the current model, yet could help it be hundreds of pounds lighter for better capability and fuel economy,” said Pete Friedman, manager of Ford manufacturing research. “Out of all the materials we tested, we carefully selected only certain grades of aluminum that met our high performance standards in all of our tests, while allowing us to trim hundreds of pounds from the truck.”
The lightweight aluminum body panels were tested extensively, ensuring they were up to the standards of Ford and its customers. During development, the F-150 also endured salt sprays and acidified sprays, simulating years of corrosion. One test mimicked six years’ worth of corrosion over the course of just six weeks. In that regard, Ford says that the new F-150 is the most tested pickup in its history, and by the time it goes on sale later in 2014, it will have endured more than 10 million miles of testing throughout a variety of harsh driving conditions.