Sources Say: Ford Planning Innovative Changes Aimed at Fuel Efficiency in Next F-150

Sources Say: Ford Planning Innovative Changes Aimed at Fuel Efficiency in Next F-150

In order to meet tough new federal regulations that raise fuel economy requirements to 30 mpg for light trucks and SUVs by 2016, Ford is considering radical ways to reduce weight in the next-generation F-150, sources have told

In 2007, Ford CEO Alan Mullaly pledged to reduce the weight of all of the company’s vehicles by 250 to 750 pounds through the use of aluminum and high-strength steel. We’re told that Ford is considering replacing the F-150’s conventional steel-ladder-frame with an all-new platform featuring extensive use of an innovative magnesium-aluminum alloy to shed pounds.

Why magnesium? It’s 36 percent lighter than aluminum and 78 percent lighter than iron. It's also plentiful. Magnesium is the eighth-most-common element on Earth and highly recyclable.

Auto manufacturers have increasingly turned to magnesium over the last decade. BMW has used the material to lighten its engine blocks and the Chevrolet Corvette uses magnesium in its front suspension. Ford shaved 22 pounds of weight from the 2010 Lincoln MKT by combining separate aluminum and magnesium panels in the crossover's liftgate instead of using steel.

Frame stiffness is important in a pickup truck for towing and hauling; to ensure the alloyed frame can perform its job, the F-150 is expected to use limited elements of unibody construction, though the cargo box and cab will be separate, instead of joined as in the Honda Ridgeline. A similar approach, we're told, was considered for the shelved Ford F-100 program.

Beyond the frame, the future F-150 is also expected to use aluminum body panels to save weight over a steel skin. The interior of the cargo box is expected to still be constructed of steel, to retain the durability required of a pickup truck.

Ford has introduced three all-new engines for the 2011 F-150 that the automaker says give its half-ton pickup class-leading fuel economy. Reducing the truck’s weight is expected to further improve mileage, which could open the window to new engine opportunities that keep the power-to-weight ratio the same as the current F-150. Those engine choices might include an inline five-cylinder engine, a source said.


'@Dave - the F150 box is only 1.4 inches deeper than a Chevy. I like the retractable side steps and tailgate step. I use mine all the time. Great idea regardless of the box depth.'

Exactly, Lou. I find that people that have a problem with the size are either 1) one of the diehards who wants a Ranger sized truck or 2) a competitor over-blowing the issue. I love to be able to load up a bed with cargo and shut a tonneau cover over it. Make the box just one inch smaller and I would not be able to.

The problem is the not the trucks!!!!! Ford, GM, Dodge, Toyota. It is the Govt. Forcing the people to buy a vehicle they don't want. They are brain washing everyone with all of this (enviromental global warming crap) you can disagree but I don't believe for one min that man caused "global warming" I do believe it is a natural progression of things. Stupid Liberal freaks have destroyed America. My GrandFather a WWII vet can't believe where we are in a sociaty, and that is one generation removed. Get used to it boys we will be all driving what the Govt. Tells us to drive. And if your stupid enough to think that isn't happening, turn off the TV and break open a book and educate yourself.

Lou :

I took my wife's 2009 Hyundai down the side of our levee to the fishing holes I go to, it went thru that stuff better than Ford's FAUX Suv called the Ford Escape, made the escape look like a toy off road. You should have seen the looks of the guys at the bottom in trucks looking at me like I was nuts....hell i woulda done the same. Fact is though, a car will go thru some $hit without tearing it up, I am proof of that (I don't recommend it though, I just don't care enough to worry about it). I drive thru soft sand near the dunes at our beaches here on the Texas Coast and it goes just fine. I still like my 4x4 though for the bigger hills and harder terrain. Many of the trucks I see never go offraod, much less a wet soccer field. So a Uni-body truck would work for most people that buy a HEAVY TRUCK to haul a couple hundred pounds here and there.

And for the govt being in my business, hell I don't care if they increase FE requirements or if fuel goes sky high, I will adjust where needed. The govt doesn't hold me down apparently like many on here.

I fear the US government is going to regulate our vehicles so much, that it won't be viable to purchase one, and domestic manufacturing will go through another 2009. I'm all for progress, just don't kill the industry from these good intentions.

@Red_4x4 - I had a friend who used to rally race. The guy could go some amazing places in a car.
Point is - can you go off-road with 2 weeks worth of gear, a 12 ft. boat, wife, 2 kids, 2 large dogs in a car? or pull a decent sized trailer?
I don't have a problem with unibody construction or downsizing trucks if it comes to that. I just want a truck that meets my wants and needs.
Anything smaller than what I have doesn't cut it. I've owned Ranger regular cab and extended cab trucks, as well as full size trucks. I just buy what meets my requirements. Sometimes I wish my truck was a foot wider so my kids can't touch each other.LOL.

This pickup truck Image is the same one that was posted in 2008 that was supposed to be the 2012 F150.
Seriously, Don't place any crediibility in these images.

Yeah. These images have lost all credibility. How about some secret spy shots?

@ 02tbird

my point exactly, toyota pioneered vvt years before anyone else, is the ONLY manufacturer that uses it on every single engine, and Dual Independent Variable Valve Timing since 2006 5 YEARS before ford has come out with it. and ford will stretch its truth for advertisement purposes like they ALWAYS do instead of letting the vehicle speak for itself.


MDS is neat in theory, it helps a manufacturer such as dodge's hemi to meat epa regulations and post better fuel economy (2 plugs per cylinder) when tested because without, you would be embarrassed of the stats on your truck. quite frankly the people you are speaking of getting good mileage are what are considered "hypermilers" in my world. they are "TRYING" their absolute best to stretch out the economy. when are arent driving on flat ground or being tested for epa ratings on flat surfaces that are predictable you can get better economy with MDS. heres the difference with dual VVT-i.......

See Tom, without "TRYING" my 2010 5.7 Tundra Crew Max 4X4 with 4.30 gears doing 78-85 mph speeds gets me 19.8 mpg. bet your dodge with smaller gears dont even come close at those speeds. i dont have to make excuses or point out someone else that gets some crazy mileage that never tows anything. i USE my truck. lumber, firewood, towing my cars (that weigh 6k without the trailer), towing quads, mowers, ect. ect. you get the point. What i just pointed out to the guy above is the same i will type to you, dual VVT-i is a MUCH MUCH better answer to power and economy than simply shutting off a few cylinders it just cost the manufacturer ALOT more money to Develop. i'm glad you like your dodge, i'll take my "american" built Tundra over it anytime. thats my opinion, you have yours ;) and i respect that. hyper milers dont count for fuel economy arguments though.

Good job Toyota! Tundra has led the charge in frame innovations.

Another solution to this would be to make the F-100, and let it be the "new" F-150, then rebadge the current F-150 to the F-250, and let the F-350/F-450 pickups be the Super Duty versions. Due to the government's proposed 35 mpg CAFE standards, this would be a "painful solution" for us pickup owners (and I really love my 2008 F-150 Crew Cab). A half ton pickup could be smaller and still be considered a half ton (1,000 payload capacity). In 1960, the Ford F-100 (which was only available as a regular cab) had a wheelbase of 110 inches for the 6 1/2 foot bed, and 118 inches for the 8 foot bed. Now the regular cab with the 6 1/2 foot bed has a wheelbase of 126 inches (mostly due to a larger cab).

The payload capacity on the Sport Trac is over 1300lbs.

LOL TUNDRA getting 19.8 MPG at 78 and over! The computer readout must be really optimistic! It's really getting deep in here! Good thing I have boots on! That must be with the super street friendly non 4x4 tires they put on 4x4s! My friend has a Tundra, he kinda said he wished his had better tires than the mileage getters. Dodge is just beginning to figure out MDS, and as they try more differant things, and get a 6 six speed. Or 8 speed. but 6 will do.

But I will say it is cool Toyota made the plugs easy to reach, and long interval.

Lou, there will always be big rigs for guys like you who need them.

For me, a 140 mile round-trip "to town" + need for 8 ft. bed = Make my next truck this new F-150 (because we have a permanent oil shortage coming, pals).

Only problem: the old Ford refuses to die.

I'm not a Ford guy, so I could give a hoot who designs a good work truck with high MPG. It's stupid how overpriced, guzzling, and overpowered most light trucks are...but for suburban boys who want to look like they know how to do work...and don't :)

@: Living Farmville, not Playing it
You make a valid point.
I bought a F150 Supercrew 4x4 with 6.5 box more to meet my recreational/lifestyle needs.
I don't need it to make a living and pay the bills.
If my wife and I were not planning on buying a camper trailer, we'd of considered a compact/midsize. Problem is the only one I like is the Tacoma and it costs as much as a full size and with similar fuel economy.
I'm not a fan of SUV's as the inside starts to smell like your cargo - wood(ok), dirt (not okay), wet labrador retrievers (definately not ok) LOL.

kEEP the F-150’s conventional steel-ladder-fram, KEEP fram and body currently used. PUT 100 MPG 6 AND 8 CILINDER MOTOR UNDER HOOD FOR POWER AND DO NOT SHRINK SIZE OF PICKUP TRUCK. YOU ALREADY HAVE 100 MPG ENGIONS! Farmers and ranchers need a real heavy duty F150 truck not a town pickup truck. Most farmers use the F150 for everyday use going to town for parts.

Put standard transmission in F150, F250. This inclludes all small trucks!. We need deeper Pickup bed that is longer in length on crew cab. Large truck size is excellent for most people who use this truck. City people fuss about it being too large. You should build a smaller version for city people and a large F150 version for farmers, rancher. Both should have the same price.. Ford is overprceing their trucks.

Will Ford build these new frames themselves or will one of their suppliers? Does anyone know the answer to this?

Sooner or latter we have to accept change, a little over a year ago everyone was saying no one wants a V6 pickup, in the first year the 3.5L Eco boost surprised every one and was 40% of the f150 engines sold (they had hoped for 15%). Ford and mullaly will do their homework and the new F150 will continue to be the best truck available

I drive my '11 SCrew everyday to work! Here in WV you have to have a 4x4 the way the weather can change! And it's perfect size for the whole family. Getting grocerys to building supplies & all with one vehicle just makes since. I like where Ford is going, leed the pack like always!! Just don't use that design!!

nice post

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