2021 Ford F-150 3.5-liter PowerBoost Endures Harsh Testing (Video & Photos)

Ford unveiled a full-hybrid powertrain for its new F-150 earlier this year, the first full-system hybrid of its kind on the truck market. Although news of this model and a soon-to-be-announced all-electric model leaked months ago, specs were anybody’s guess. Now Ford has given us a glimpse at some of the testing they are doing for the 2021 F-150 PowerBoost, the official name for the full hybrid F-150.

2021 Ford F-150: Almost Everything You Want

The new F-150 has a 35-kW motor powered by a 1.5-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, paired to its turbo V6 engine. Its targeted EPA-estimated range is 700 miles on a single tank of gas. The Pro Power Onboard feature serves as a mobile generator for your power tools or mini-fridge for a Sunday tailgate party.

But the main event is how the 2021 Ford F-150 now offers a 3.5-liter PowerBoost full hybrid powertrain that delivers 430 horsepower and 570 lb-ft. of torque (the most ever for an F-150). When properly equipped, the full hybrid F-150 has a max payload of 2,120 lbs. and a max towing capacity of 12,700 lbs. That puts it within earshot of the 2020 Ram 1500 with a 5.7-liter Hemi with eTorque Hybrid Technology, which has a max tow rating of 12,750 lbs. when properly equipped.

“Just because it’s a hybrid doesn’t mean we treated PowerBoost with kid gloves,” said Craig Schmatz, F-150 Chief Engineer. “To earn ‘Built Ford Tough’ certification, PowerBoost went through the torture testing we put all of our powertrains through. No F-150 powertrain gets a pass; we have one standard for quality and durability.”

PowerBoost Testing

Ford has always put its F-150 through rigorous tests, but the PowerBoost had to clear extra hurdles to make it market worthy. The automaker crafted a custom testing machine with multi-axis hydraulic actuation to repeatedly (and violently) shake and vibrate the lithium-ion battery pack. The video above shows more.

Ford developed the test to replicate the abuse the truck would endure when it hit deep potholes, or while driving on gravel and dirt roads. The 82-hour test is the equivalent of 10 years of rugged rides. “This thing is like a mechanical bull on steroids,” said Jack Parnoutsoukian, Ford high-voltage application engineer.

F 150 Torture Testing Stills 02
Photo: Ford Motor Company.

2021 Ford F-150: Pricing & Availability

The 2021 F-150 is available in XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited trims. Like last year, the available cab styles are regular, extended, and Supercrew. Bed lengths are five foot six inches, six foot six inches, and eight feet. Six powertrains, including the Power Boost hybrid, will be available. This handy guide includes a chart with the specs on each of the six powertrains.

Ford has not released the MSRP or the exact date of availability. All 2021 F-150s will be built in Dearborn, Michigan and Kansas City, Missouri.

Nancy Dunham is a life-long journalist whose work appears in many national automotive and general interest magazines and accompanying websites. Her dad was an executive with Western Auto Supply Co. (sold to Sears), so the smell of tires still brings back a flood of childhood memories. Favorite professional assignment: driving on the Texas Motor Speedway. She lives in Austin, Texas with her cat Prudence.

Photos & Source: Ford Motor Company.

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