The 2015 Ford F-150 Has Inventive ‘Air Curtain’ Technology: Feature Spotlight

You thought you knew all there was to know about how the 2015 Ford F-150 managed its impressive fuel economy figures, didn’t you?

Alas, you were mistaken; the efficiency of the 2015 Ford F-150 isn’t just as simple as lightweight aluminum body-plus-EcoBoost. In fact, the light duty pickup offers a technology first seen on the new 2015 Mustang, and one you’ll likely not have hear of: air curtains.

Here’s how it works: horizontal slots running beneath the headlamps allow air into channels placed under the bodywork on both sides of the vehicle. That air is routed out to the front wheel wells, creating steady flowing “curtains” of air which smooth flow past the wheels, reducing the 2015 Ford F-150‘s overall drag coefficient.

2015 Ford F-150 Air Curtains animation 03

Of course, that’s not the only aerodynamic trick Ford produced from its sleeve when making the new pickup; other touches include a flush-mounted windshield which negates the need for disruptive molding, trim to prevent air from becoming trapped between the cab and cargo bed, a tailgate top which effectively acts as a spoiler, and taillights designed to allow air to “detach” smoothly from the bed for a less turbulent wake.

Behind all of the aerodynamic work on the 2015 Ford F-150 were smart men and women, and of course, smart computers. Says Ford’s Technical Expert on Applied Computational Fluid Dynamics Rob Lietz: “With the new F-150, an extensive amount of time was spent running aerodynamic simulations and doing wind tunnel tests.

“Major advances in our computational fluid dynamics capability let us quickly see how we could improve airflow while maintaining the tough truck looks expected from F-150.”

Aaron Birch is an automotive enthusiast and writer/filmmaker from Detroit, MI. As a rule, he only buys cars older than himself.

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