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Ford Focuses on Improving F-150 Fuel Economy; Up to 21 mpg Highway in Special Edition

21 September 2008

F150sfe_01
The F-150 SFE edition delivers up to 21 mpg highway while still providing 7,500 pounds of towing capability. Click to enlarge.

Ford has introduced the new 2009 F-150 full-size pickup with a focus on improved fuel economy, which is up an average of 8% across the entire line-up as a result of a number of engineering enhancements. The fuel economy gains reach as high as 12% versus the prior model year on F-150 models equipped with the high-volume 3-valve, 5.4-liter V-8 engine. At the same time, the new F-150 delivers class-leading towing capability of 11,300 pounds and hauling capacity of 3,030 pounds.

In addition, Ford is introducing a new F-150 SFE (superior fuel economy) edition that delivers up to 21 mpg on the highway while still providing 7,500 pounds of towing capability.

Epatruck
Pickup trucks have maintained a fairly steady 13-16% market shared since 1975. Click to enlarge. Source: EPA

Characteristics of the pickup truck market. The pickup truck segment has maintained a 13-16% annual new vehicle market share since 1975, according to data from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—the most consistent segment in the market.

All pickups held a 13.1% new vehicle market share in 1975, with a projected 12.9% share in 2008—although the latter figure may drop based on actual results this year (earlier post).

Epapickup2
Pickup sales fraction by vehicle size. Click to enlarge. Source: EPA

Within the pickup segment, large pickups hold the largest fraction—as they did in 1975. (The intervening years saw a surge in mid-size pickups, which then tapered off.)

The entire pickup market has seen a rapid increase in average weight, accompanied by increased power and performance, and lower composite fuel economy, since the mid 1980s. The mid-size pickup segment increased its average adjusted fuel economy by 6% between 1975 and 2008. By contrast, the large pickup segment has seen an average improvement of 44% in fuel economy from 1975 to 2008, according to EPA data.

Epapickup3
Pickup truck fuel economy and performance. Click to enlarge. Source: EPA

From 1988 to 2008, average fuel economy for the entire pickup segment has decreased 9%. Average fuel economy for mid-size pickups dropped 10% during that period, while the average fuel economy for large, full-size pickups increased 5%. Average composite adjusted fuel economy for the large pickup segment in 2008 is 16.0 mpg US, according to the EPA.

The 2009 F-150s. The 8% improvement in fuel economy across the entire lineup of V-8 F-150s is the result of using lightweight ultra-high-strength steel to lighten the truck up to 100 pounds versus the current model as well as aerodynamic refinements.

The new F-150 is now best-in-class for aerodynamics. The new F-150 SuperCrew 4X2 with a 5.5-foot box has the lowest coefficient of drag—.403—in the segment, according to Ford. That’s 6% lower than a comparable 2008 F-150.

Key aero improvements for the new F-150 include:

  • A new chamfered shape to the rear of the cab, which incorporated the center-high-mount stop lamp. This shape helps direct aerodynamic wake over the pickup box efficiently.

  • The top of the tailgate, which angles outward to create a bold lip. This wider surface at the top of the tailgate works with the cab chamfering to direct airflow over the box efficiently.

  • The front bumper valence and spoiler design, which has been improved to better manage airflow underneath the truck without compromising off-roading.

In addition, as part of the fuel economy improvements, Ford’s powertrain team delivered technology upgrades to make the F-150 powertrains more efficient.

The new six-speed automatic transmission offers a wider gear ratio span than four-speed transmissions, allowing engineers the flexibility to have responsiveness in low gears and better fuel economy in the taller gears. The new double-overdrive gearbox is designed to contribute a 4 to 6% fuel economy improvement.

Both the 5.4-liter and 4.6-liter 3-valve V-8 engines utilize open valve injection. This unique feature improves the air/fuel charge conditions in the combustion chamber, allowing greater spark advance at higher loads and engine speeds. This delivers increased horsepower during towing and higher rpm operations, lower emissions and more efficient use of fuel.

The F-150 also regulates gas consumption by using aggressive deceleration fuel shut-off. The fuel shut-off is automatic and requires no unusual actions from the driver. When the driver releases the accelerator pedal, the system temporarily turns off the fuel. The flow of fuel seamlessly resumes when the truck reaches a low speed or the driver accelerates again.

To prevent engine hesitation normally associated with fuel interruption, Ford’s powertrain team developed proprietary software to integrate the technology with the F-150’s powertrains.

F-150 SFE. The new SFE package will be available on F-150 SuperCrew XL and XLT 4X2 vehicles with 4.6-liter, 3-valve V-8 engines and 5.5-foot beds. The SFE pickup will achieve 15 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway.

The SFE package trucks also feature a new fuel-efficient six-speed automatic transmission, a 3.15:1 rear axle and 18-inch chrome clad aluminum wheels with low rolling resistance P265/60R18 all-season tires.

The SFE package will be a no-cost option on XLT SuperCrew pickups with the chrome package and will cost $1,095 when ordered on XL SuperCrew pickups with the decor package.

Through August, the F-Series accounted for 25.4% of all Ford’s US sales in 2008, down from 27.5% for the same eight-month period in 2007. Quantitatively, F-Series sales have dropped 25.2% to a total 359,971 units for the eight months in 2008 from the same period in 2007.

Fuel economy has moved from 10th to third place (behind durability and value) among pickup buyers’ top purchase considerations, according to Ford.

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September 21, 2008 in Fuel Efficiency | Permalink | Comments (55) | TrackBack (0)

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The F-150 also regulates gas consumption by using aggressive deceleration fuel shut-off. The fuel shut-off is automatic and requires no unusual actions from the driver. When the driver releases the accelerator pedal, the system temporarily turns off the fuel. The flow of fuel seamlessly resumes when the truck reaches a low speed or the driver accelerates again.


^^ if the no fuel state is a coasting state, we have a winner on our hands. If you know that you won't be stopping for awhile, why waste the energy to engine brake when you can coast for a longer distance with no fuel?!?


Replace that gas engine with a comparable, efficient, diesel engine and fuel economy will go to 27 mpg (30% better).


Replace that gas engine with a comparable, efficient, diesel engine and fuel economy will go to 27 mpg (30% better).

4.4L diesel engine is supposedly in the works for 2010 model, available late 2009.

Sure would be nice if they made a good little T2B5 diesel for the mid-size trucks combined with one of the new 6 sp. transmissions. Would be a great little work truck. I use our larger truck (not a pickup) for big work, but most of the time only haul a moderate amount of tools/materials and a very efficient mid-size would be just the ticket.

Acceleration of pick-up truck should not be allowed to be less than 13s for 0 to 60MPH. Pick up are utility vehichle not car.if performnaces of truck and pick were regulated peoples will use them only for what they are supposed to do : carrying heavy stuff, not for commuting or for the fun of driving a truck

WOW: "best in segment drag coefficient of .403!"

The average dimpled golf ball has a drag coefficent of 0.33.

I am sorry to hear that the best our car manufacturer's can muster for their beloved pick-up trucks is 26% worse than a golf ball!

Welcome to the 21st century! Perhaps we will look back and laugh at the days when achieving 21mpg was laudable?

There's so much room for improvement.

WOW: "best in segment drag coefficient of .403!"

The average dimpled golf ball has a drag coefficent of 0.33.

I am sorry to hear that the best our car manufacturer's can muster for their beloved pick-up trucks is 26% worse than a golf ball!

Welcome to the 21st century! Perhaps we will look back and laugh at the days when achieving 21mpg was laudable?

There's so much room for improvement.

WOW: "best in segment drag coefficient of .403!"

The average dimpled golf ball has a drag coefficent of 0.33.

I am sorry to hear that the best our car manufacturer's can muster for their beloved pick-up trucks is 26% worse than a golf ball!

Welcome to the 21st century! Perhaps we will look back and laugh at the days a Superior Fuel Efficiency (SFE) model that promised 21mpg was laudable feat?

There's so much room for improvement, why are the "SFE options" not standard across the range? Taking a page from Toyota hype-brids: charging more for better fuel economy? Shame!

Fix Or Repair Daily & GM should just call it quits & disappear from the U.S. marketplace altogether. We've had enough of their crap - and the flag-waving patriotism guilt they use to try and get people to buy their substandard U.S. cars. It's obvious they care a heckuva lot more about foreign markets than the US market - it's been that way for many years. Chrysler deserves to stay.

How about an automatic engine start-stop for all automobiles? I have heard these are starting to be on all cars in Europe and will be here in the US before long.

It doesn't make much sense to have the engine running while coasting down and at a stop, especially when AC and power steering can be electric nowadays.

'Acceleration of pick-up truck should not be allowed to be less than 13s for 0 to 60MPH. Pick up are utility vehichle not car.if performnaces of truck and pick were regulated peoples will use them only for what they are supposed to do : carrying heavy stuff, not for commuting or for the fun of driving a truck'

Not be allowed? So the government is going to start regulating acceleration? Typical communist crap!

Perry

Less crappy than your simplistic and idiotic reasonning, US import 60% of its oil and the trade deficit resulting from this, is unsustainable, not mentionning that truck that can accelerate like cars are way too dangrerous for other cars driving araound. Last but not least if the government can regulate mileage why couldn't he regulate acceleration ?

You can regulate anything you want and if some call you communist, socialist or whatever so what. The ethical principle is the "most good for the most people" and if not going to war for oil and not running huge trade and budget deficits is good for most people, then so be it.

Regulating the acceleration isn't going to be much of a benefit if they start making hybrid F150's someday. Plus it would just kill their sales, which is a goal with a hefty price for the US economy.

People are going to buy what they want, not what meets their minimum needs. You've got to make them want to buy high mileage vehicles by making APPEALING high mileage vehicles. Cutting the F150's performance will not achieve anything, boosting it's performance while raising its fuel economy will actually make a difference as you'll sell more.

You guys are the same people who blame the car companies for producing big thirsty vehicles. Why dont we just sue all the poeple who bought them? Or better yet why not just make one efficient car and require everyone to have one? Then we would be off oil!!

You folks are missing the big picture here. The beefed up 4.6 paired with the new 6 speed is going to offer a big chance for people to downsize from the 5.4. The 2008 5.4 was epa rated 13/17. The new 4.6 gets 15/21. Only those that do a lot of towing will still need the 5.4.

For comparison
new 4.6 is 292HP/320 lb/ft
old 5.4 was 300HP/360 lb/ft

Let them install to that Ford F150 one of the steam engine from Cyclone Technology
http://www.cyclonepower.com/cyclone_engine_uses.html
the one that have 100hp and 700ft/lb from 0 RPM. You have option to not have idle cycle at all. You eider go or not go with external combustion engine (steam). No transmission necessary. I think that clutch might be required for costing. The millage probably in such arrangement will be closer to 40mpg.

What I am surprise that none automotive companies looking in such option. From the Clone Technology web side : http://www.cyclonepower.com
You can find that just one lawnmowers company is really interested in that technology. Where is Detroit?

word about the acceleration.
I agree that there should be minimum limit on acceleration.
Unnecessary short acceleration is main reason of high fuel usage in city driving.
The only group that need high acceleration are teenagers that looking to show off, and fast die off in accidents unfortunately. You do not need truck with 6s acceleration (and most cars too). May be acceleration limit is goos idea.
Somebody mention above that car manufacture produce what people demand. That not true. It it was true you will have all the efficient Diesel from Europe here.
I think that it should be special annual tax on people that buying trucks that live in city and do not have a business that required such vehicle. Truck and SUV in city that insane.
I still can believe that in US average pick up truck have more then 5L engine capacity - for what? In Europe same truck will have 2.5 to 3L Diesel engine that will be more then sufficient for all it need to do.
By the way in communist countries they impose higher annual fee base on engine capacity.

There are difficult times a head and we have to switch to survival gear so everything and every one count.


Regulate acceleration... how utterly absurd.

How about getting rid of the fuel tax and implementing a GPS based road use tax system based on miles driven and GVWR? Bigger and heavier vehicles pay more based on the amount of damage they do to the roads. It is only fair, democratic, and patriotic. It charges those who cause the greatest cost to the country while still allowing them to do so if they have the money. Simple and capitalistic as well.

Too complicated for you to comprehend? Then forget it and just start REGULATING stuff with no regards to the true cost.

Only high gas prices will increase fuel efficiency. Government regulations do nothing but increase taxes.
When it comes to our energy problem look to the free market to solve your problems, not the government.

So an F-150 SFE combined with ecoboost would get you 25 mpg highway, what maybe 20 city? Not bad for a full size pickup.

This is AFTER the improvements?

"The new F-150 is now best-in-class for aerodynamics. The new F-150 SuperCrew 4X2 with a 5.5-foot box has the lowest coefficient of drag—.403—in the segment, according to Ford. That’s 6% lower than a comparable 2008 F-150."

A Cd of 0.403? Are we allowed to say "lipstick on a pig"?

Fix Or Repair Daily & Gotyer Money are simply refusing to make and market the sort of fuel efficient cars that people need to be driving.
This isn't because they can't, but because they have decided to make money on OIL, not cars.

The American Auto industry giants deserve kicked to the curb.

21 mpg highway sounds awful. Why didn't they tell us what city milage is? The best way to decrease gas consumption would be to add another $2/gallon tax, then cut other taxes.

Perry: So the government is going to start regulating acceleration?

No, it was simply a proposal from Treehugger. It won't save much fuel, but to suggest monitoring acceleration is "communist" is a bit strange, given all the careful speed monitoring that goes on.

Fungolo: How about getting rid of the fuel tax and implementing a GPS based road use tax system based on miles driven and GVWR?

Road damage goes with the fourth power of weight:

http://books.google.com/books?id=8DIUKgo1T5IC&pg=PA51&lpg=PA51&dq=road+damage+fourth+power&source=web&ots=t4qHdNK6RU&sig=pFspbbSejOKTOBkDlEvBCnxPrWE&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PPA51,M1

What this means is that that cars or even heavily loaded pickups have almost no effect on the roads compared to large trucks. Or, if you want to put it into dollars: if a large truck is hit for $1000, then a car, 1/30th the weight, we would hit it with (1/30)^4 = $1000/1000000 = 1 millidollar = 0.1 cents. Do you think they could tack that onto the normal drivers license fee?

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