Within the world of Truck Trend, few vehicles are more anticipated or significant than the upcoming 2015 Ford F-150. We got our first glimpse of what could be coming with the Ford Atlas Concept, and have since seen many mules driving around in various states of cover. We now have a hint of what could be on display at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, in a report from Bloomberg.
In an effort to increase the F-150's fuel economy, the 2015 model is expected to be dramatically lighter than its predecessor, by as much as 700 lb or more. While it's believed the frame will remain steel on the 2015 F-150, almost all the exterior body panels are believed to be made from aluminum. To counter the conventional wisdom that aluminum is flimsy or weak relative to steel, Ford is reportedly working with supplier Alcoa to display some military uses of aluminum in a show of strength at the truck's display at the Detroit show.
Neither Ford nor Alcoa had official comment. To say Ford has a lot riding on the F-150 is an understatement, with the truck holding the title of being the best-selling truck in the U.S. for more than 35 years, and the best-selling vehicle in America for more than 30. Two plants build the current F-150, and the outgoing model will continue to be built into calendar 2014 as one of the plants changes over its tooling and equipment to make the new aluminum body panels.
Aside from the significantly greater use of aluminum, the 2015 F-150 could also use the 10-speed automatic Ford is co-developing with General Motors. The 2015 Ford F-150 could also offer Ford's next-generation EcoBoost V-6, believed to be as small as 2.7 liters, code-named Nano, as a powertrain option. With its 28-mpg highway rating, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel has significantly raised the bar for expectations of full-size truck fuel economy, and Ford is reportedly aiming for close to 30 mpg highway on the new model, and without a reported diesel engine option.