The decision to switch to aluminum body panels for the 2015 Ford F-150 in order to decrease weight and increase fuel economy didn’t require any substantial amount of genius; it doesn’t take input from a rocket scientist to tell you that aluminum is lighter than steel.
What likely did require some amount of engineering wizardry, however, is endowing the 2015 Ford F-150 with the strength to withstand almost any crash.
A release from the automaker details that the 2015 Ford F-150 is the only full-size, light-duty truck to earn 5-star crash test safety ratings from the NHTSA, for both driver and passenger, in every single test configuration and cab style. That list includes the Regular Cab, SuperCab and SuperCrew cab, in both frontal crash and side crash testing.
Ford reports that integral to its performance in the NHTSA crash tests is the 2015 Ford F-150’s high-strength frame steel, military-grade aluminum alloy in the body, and of course, some talented engineering. Reportedly, 31 different safety-related innovations were pioneered by product development veterans and researchers for the truck, including new structures, materials, and joining methods. Those innovations were first tested virtually with supercomputer simulations, and later retested in Ford’s own laboratories.