It is no longer towing capacity or horsepower that is the measuring stick by which full-size trucks are gauged: it’s fuel economy and today Ford made the competition a little more difficult.
It made Auto Start-Stop technology standard on its 2016 F-150 powered by the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6. The technology will roll out to all of its EcoBoost-powered trucks in 2017 – including the new high-output Raptor.
“EcoBoost already powers F-150’s best-in-class towing,” said Doug Scott, Ford truck group marketing manager. “Now, with every EcoBoost-equipped F-150 mildly electrified with standard Auto Start-Stop technology, customers’ fuel efficiency is expected to improve as well.”
The automaker expects it will account for more than 60% of the company’s truck line-up. Specially tuned for truck customers, Auto Start-Stop shuts off the engine when the vehicle is at a stop – except when towing or in four-wheel-drive mode – to give drivers power on demand when they need it most. When the brake is released, the engine restarts quickly, the maker said.
(Ford swoops in with new Raptor SuperCrew. For more, Click Here.)
The technology is not new having been around in some form on and off during the last decade, but only in recent years have makers been able to work out the problems associated with the technology, in particular, the lag time between putting foot to pedal and the vehicle accelerating.
In addition to fuel economy improvements, which range from 3% to 12%, according to Edmunds, depending upon the vehicle and driving conditions, the technology also cuts carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles. Ford did not offer up any fuel savings estimates.
However, with the F-Series being the best selling vehicle in the U.S. last year and the automaker also making the technology standard equipment on EcoBoost-powered Escape small crossovers, the impact begins to add up.
Automakers have been scrambling for years now to find ways to improve fuel economy as the federal government’s 54.5 mpg standard looms on the horizon. Turbocharging small engines, as Ford does with its EcoBoost line-up, is one way to improve overall fuel economy. Cylinder deactivation, diesel technology, hybrids and other efforts are all part of that mix.
(Click Here for details about makers shifting production from sedans to SUVs and trucks.)
However, despite the acceleration lag issue, Europeans appear to have adopted the technology. According to Johnson Controls, about 60% of the new cars sold in Europe each year have start-stop.
Ford’s F-150 and Escape aren’t the only models using the technology as the company’s Fusion midsize sedan does as well. General Motors adopted the technology for its Chevy Impala and Malibu models as well as its new GMC Acadia crossover and European vehicles of all sorts come similarly equipped.
However, the supplier estimates that currently about 5% of U.S. vehicles use start-stop. Part of that may be due to the additional cost it adds to the window sticker.
(To see how GM scored a third consecutive year of record global sales, Click Here.)
JCI estimates that drivers recoup the upcharge – about $250 to $300 – within three years due to the reduction in gas used. The investment then continues to pay an annual dividend. The supplier expects the take rate to jump to 40% by the end of the decade.