Ford has always been good at making trucks — in fact, they lead the pack in sales every year with their F-150 pickup. With that in mind, we would have thought it would be very hard to come up with something even better than what they have had in the past.
Better is exactly what they have done, coming up with the first fully hybrid powertrain available in a truck. At first, this may not seem like much, as there have been little electric additions to trucks over the years, but the new F-150 can run on electricity alone and regenerate its own batteries.
Our first thoughts after finding out we would get a week with a hybrid truck were how that is possible and will it perform up to par with trucks currently on the market today? Well, it is possible and the folks at Ford have found a way to make all that technology come together in a hybrid truck.
It is always a game to see if we can run a hybrid out of gas during our week with it, to see just how good it really is. When the truck arrived at our home, it indicated there were 587 miles to go until we would need fuel. Now, it is a truck, so that should not be hard to accomplish, and it was gauging the mileage on the long freeway trip here from Denver.
Well, it turned out to be not so easy, as there are times that the new F-150 with Powerboost will run on electricity alone, increasing the range in the gas tank. After a week in the truck, we had gone 447.7 total miles, 99.4 of those on pure electricity, so close to 25%, and still had 172 miles to empty.
Doing the math, we would be able to go 619 miles before filling up. However, with the way the truck would handle around town, we know that the electric miles would increase, and if it held around 25%, then our original 585 miles would really be more like 731 before we needed fuel.
We do need to point out here that the F-150 will get much better mileage and utilize the electric motors more around town than out on the open road. We found the truck switching to electric power in low speed ranges up to 40 miles per hour.
The first time it happened and the tachometer fell to zero, we thought something was wrong with the truck! This was not the case as it was cruising on electricity alone — along with this came a very quiet truck indeed. It would switch almost every time we entered our subdivision, cruising in stealth mode around the neighborhood. We averaged 20.9 miles per gallon for the week.
If this whole hybrid setup were not enough, the folks at Ford had thrown in another little gem for the 2021 Powerboost model, something they call Pro Power Onboard. One would ask what could that possibly be? Turned out to be an onboard inverter that would generate up to 7,200 watts of electricity in the bed of the truck.
That is a really good-sized generator right in the bed of the truck. There is even an included 220-volt twist lock plug in the bed, with 30 amps of power coming down each leg. This is a huge advantage in a work truck. Now, a farmer, for instance, would not need temporary power from the city; they could run their compressors right from the truck.
Or how about being able to go camping and run your trailer from a generator that came with the truck you used to haul said trailer to the camp site — and the truck was very quiet when running, unlike some of those noisy generators out there.
Oh, and speaking of pulling a trailer, this F-150 will lead the way again with 430 combined horsepower and 570 foot-pounds of torque, able to pull up to 12,700 pounds of trailer. It can also haul more than 2,000 pounds in the bed at the same time. For a light duty truck, this is amazing to say the least.
Especially when you find out that the engine is only a 3.5-liter Powerboost V6! Had we not been able to spend a week in the truck, it would have been hard for us to believe that all this technology really worked in a full-size truck.
Oh, and by the way, the inside of the truck was loaded with over-the-top creature comforts to make the ride getting to one’s destination even more enjoyable. They seats were leather-clad, heated and cooled, adjustable pretty much in any way we could think of and they had massagers in them! It would not have been Ford’s fault if we could not find a comfortable seat up front.
Technology ruled the inside of the truck with a 12-inch infotainment screen that dominated the center console. It was set with the 12 inches going horizontally, which we came to like better than others we have driven that have a vertical 12-plus-inch screen.
The driver’s gauge cluster was also a huge 12-inch LED screen that would configure itself in different ways for different types of driving, like off-road, trailering or just running around town. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto were the norm in the new SYNC system.
The truck was also loaded with the full suite of safety features, including adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitor, front and rear parking assist, forward collision and automatic high beam headlamps. We loved the lane keep assist as it did a great job of keeping us centered in the lane on the freeway.
The new Powerboost F-150 proved to be a great truck — and even more important, a very useful truck, as we continually came up with new ways we could have used the extra power in the back. There is a reason Ford calls it the toughest, most productive and most powerful truck in its class, as it most likely is!
Base price: Pre production no price given.