Published on January 6th, 2014 | by Jo Borrás


Less Ford Tough, More Ford Frugal For 2015 F-150?

January 6th, 2014 by  

2015 F-150 concept

The Ford F-150 is the undisputed king of new “car” sales, and has been for decades. As such, it’s always big news when Ford redesigns the thing — and that’s especially true this time. That’s because, when Ford unveils its new-for-2015 F-150 pickup at next week’s Detroit Auto Show, the truck will make extensive use of aluminum for the first time.

Anticipating some potential market backlash, Ford plans to play up the “toughness” of its new lightweight aluminum pickup with some military spec. stuff on the stand. You can read more about Ford’s plan for the 2015 F-150 in this article, reposted below, which originally appeared on CleanTechnica sister site Gas2.

2015 Ford F-150 May Trade “Ford Tough” for Better Fuel Economy (via Gas 2.0)

Ford has asked suppliers at Alcoa to provide a sample of “military grade aluminum” for display alongside the new 2015 Ford F-150 set to be unveiled at January’s Detroit Auto Show. It’s believed that the move is meant to put a tough “spin”…

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About the Author

I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the Important Media network. You can find me on Twitter, Skype (jo.borras) or Google+.

  • Jkos

    A lot of you folks must be unfamiliar with the facts here. The aluminum replacement will actually save 650 or so pounds, a very meaningful amount. Also, the aluminum being used is not some rinky-dink pop can 1000 series aluminum (if anyone is familiar with the metal inustry), It’s more than likely closer to 6000 series (quite strong) and will not have the weakness issues most of you are claiming. I’m sure ford has also though through the bed issue if they are using an aluminum bed because there are durable coatings that are available to alliviate those issues.

    • ben

      Agree. Many people are very uneducated when it comes to the material properties as well as other factors that go into the structural design of say a truck bed. Instead they just fall into the hype that the media promotes. For instance the section modulus of a aluminum shape can be made to duplicate that of steel – maybe it requires thicker material or a deeper section (taller corrugations) – but it can still be done.
      I’m all for a truck being made of aluminum in order to combat the rust we deal with in the northeast.

  • Rick

    And who said anything about rivets. Aluminum can be beautifully welded together these days. Ever heard of friction stir welding?

  • Rick

    Whe was the last time you seen a steel jet airliner? Think aluminum isn’t tough? Think again

  • FordMan

    1979 Standard cab V8 F150 4X2 weighed 3900 pounds. My 1986 Chevy K10 with 4inch lift and 383 Stroker weighs 4600 pounds. By 2005, standard cab 4X2 V6 F150 weighed 4600 pounds. About time American trucks cut weight! I love Ford, but the 4K rivets holding alum together WILL BE A DISASTER!

    • FordMan

      Rivets will come loose with vibration over time. HUGE mistake for Ford, unless there is some new tech with rivets I am missing?

      • Gary

        I’m a truck driver, i haul steel. Just about all the trailers used for 18 wheelers are Aluminum. They stand up much better than steel trailers .

        • Roland

          I repair trailers and you r right the aluminum trailers hold up way better than steel

    • Bob_Wallace

      Where does the 4k rivet part come from?

  • Crama

    If the price is around the same as a steel body, I’m all for aluminum. If the bed of the pickup truck is aluminum, at least the bed floor, then that will be a problem for a lot of users who actually use their trucks for construction type work; were they’re throwing in material day in and day out. I suppose the after market folks will quickly come out with bed floor protectors one would need to purchase immediately.

    • Wayne Williamson

      Crama…Almost everyone that I know that has an F150, also has a bed liner….

      • Bob_Wallace

        I’ve got a bed liner in my Ranger. I’ve hauled a lot of firewood, many tons of gravel and rock, all sorts of stuff and it still looks like new (except where I spilled some paint).

        I wonder if a solution for making pickups lighter might be some sort of bed made from liner material with a strengthening frame….

        • Crama

          I just don’t see how these new F-150s bed will stand up to commercial abuse even with a bed liner. Some things hauled are dropped into the bed. I’ve seen many bed floors where the sheet metal is been pushed down between the cross supports. Has a kind of scalloped look. How are they going to engineer an aluminum bed floor to at least have the same integrity? I guess we will see!

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’m thinking that aluminum may not be the answer. I’ve seen the same scalloped beds, but that’s pretty extreme use.

            I’ve had well over 1,400 pounds of gravel dropped in from six feet above the bed of my truck many times in a half ton pickup with no damage.

            I’m betting there is some solution which saves weight while retains a strong bed.

          • Crama

            The solution is probably a mix of aluminum and carbon fiber. Carbon fiber has the ability to “spring back”. It has a memory of its shape, and is amazingly strong and lightweight. Here’s a video of Amory Lovins at his Rocky Mountain Institute showing the advantages of carbon fiber:

          • Bob_Wallace

            Carbon fiber will likely play a large role in reducing vehicle weight. But right now it’s expensive.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Isn’t it only expensive when compered on a per Kilogram basis, not on a per vehicle basis?

          • Bob_Wallace

            I don’t know. But I found this interesting article on a site for people who do purchasing work. I also spotted something stating that carbon fiber was 80% cheaper to form into shape than steel.

            There’s some interesting stuff after this –

            “Look for carbon fiber prices
            to continue dropping, putting it more in the purchasing conversation for applications that require strength and stiffness at very light weight. Plastics reinforced with carbon fiber weigh 30% to 60% less than similar components made from aluminum and steel.

            At stake are thousands of applications in transportation, electronics, earthquake-proofing in construction, sporting goods, and power equipment. The problem has been price. But that’s changing.

            Experts say that the price for standard grades, such as those in cars, will drop from the $10 to $17 per pound range to the $5 to $10 per pound range in the next 4-5 years.
            – See more at:

          • No way- CF is too brittle. If it cracks, the repair bill will be huge. Aluminum can, at least, be hammered back into shape.

          • That’s the issue- and Ford may be aware of it, since the F250+ will reportedly have steel beds.

      • Good point.

  • Matt

    Trucks were the big push 30-40 years ago, because they don’t have the same mileage/safety standards. Because they are for farm/construction workers, yea right. So the big 3 saw a gap and made tons on them.

  • Omega Centauri

    So how much is Aluminum? I would imagine quite a lot is still steel.

    • Looks like the hood, the doors, and the cargo bed.

    • Roland

      It’s only going to cost ford $800 more to produce parts out of aluminum than steel and for all of us who live where the trucks like to rot out I welcome the use of aluminum

  • Michael Berndtson

    Aluminum or steel? The weight differential is meaningless with a 250 pound engineer driving his crew cab to a suburban office park. Decrease the size, add a flywheel and make it more aerodynamic – than consider materials.

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