Ahead of the release of its full-electric truck, Ford rolls out the F-150 Hybrid.
Ford has been in the news much lately. Earlier this month, we featured the all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E crossover utility vehicle. Then, the automaker unveiled the 2022 F-150 Lightning, an electric truck. Before long, plenty of Ford’s products will become electrified, including the Transit van.
Meanwhile, the Ford F-150 is all-new for 2021. This year, though, a hybrid model joins the fleet. Neither fully gas nor fully electric, the hybrid utilizes both systems for propulsion. Notably, no plug-in is required – the battery system is replenished by the engine. Further, the F-150 Hybrid has a range approaching 700 miles when completely fueled. We’ll pay special attention to the hybrid, but many of the features also apply to the standard gas model.
Ford offers the 2021 F-150 in six trims. Two more models, the Tremor and Raptor, are marketed separately. The base XL Regular cab retails from $30,985, including the destination charge. But this is where it becomes tricky: Ford offers extended (SuperCrew) and full Crew Cab models too, your choice of two-and four-wheel drive, an untold number of package upgrades, and six engine choices. At the top end of the pricing order, your truck might cost $80,000.
As for the hybrid, it is available only with the Crew Cab, which starts at $37,000, then adds $4,495 for the powertrain upgrade. The hybrid is available across all trims. Yet, that price premium is $500 less than the diesel upgrade and includes a slight edge in fuel economy with it.
The all-new F-150 represents more of an evolution than a revolution in design terms. It is nearly the same size as the previous model, but just slightly wider. Although the changes are subtle, the 11 different grille designs, 15 color choices, and another 15 wheel designs allow for much customization.
Inside, the cabin features a clean look with oversized instrument panel dials, large buttons, and a humongous center console at the ready. A standard 8-inch touch-screen display seems quite modest, but upgrading to an available 12-inch screen gives it a better look. Every current tech feature is available, including wireless charging, a head-up display, and upgraded sound systems.
On lower-trim models, plastics dominate, but soft-touch materials and real hides accompany the premium trims. Further up the trim range Ford adds heated and ventilated front seats. A massaging function is also available with a package upgrade. Back problems, be gone!
One of the key elements of the F-150 Hybrid is the 2.4-kWh Pro Power Onboard panel or onboard generator located on the left rear inside wall of the truck bed. This feature includes dual 120-volt outlets and is designed to supply enough power to build a deck, operate a jackhammer, or power loudspeakers.
But that is not all: an available 7.2-kWh version, exclusive to the hybrid, supplies four 120-volt and one 240-volt outlet, the latter suitable for running a line to a house. You may have heard about these trucks last winter when an ice storm gripped Texas, cutting power to millions. Some truck owners ran a power line from their vehicles to their homes to keep the heat on and appliances running during the blackout. This highly useful feature is new to hybrids and electric vehicles and something we believe will soon become commonly available.
Consider the usual hybrid system and the manufacturer typically matches an undersized gas engine with a hybrid powertrain to maximize fuel economy. That approach, however, doesn’t work with pickup trucks as shoppers expect strong power, excellent payload, and superior towing.
With its hybrid system, Ford took its most powerful engine, a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 and matched it with an electric motor. Unlike some systems, the 47-horsepower motor doesn’t turn the wheels. Instead, it is tasked with delivering supplemental power or running on its own.
When the two systems combine, there is 430 horsepower and 570 pound-feet of torque available, the maximum for any F-150 model that isn’t a Raptor or a Tremor. The electric motor resides between the engine and the transmission, while the lithium-ion battery pack is located adjacent to the fuel tank. Power routes to the rear wheels or all four wheels utilizing a 10-speed automatic transmission.
The hybrid is fast with excellent step-off acceleration and robust passing power. It’s difficult to detect when the two systems combine, but you’ll know the electric motor is working when cruising. This is where the truck is the most efficient, as the engine shuts down while the motor takes over. At the precise moment you need more power, the engine switches on.
If you’re concerned that the hybrid is weak in the areas of payload and towing, rest assured it is not. Notably, the maximum payload is 2,120 pounds with maximum towing registering 12,700 pounds. Further, it averages 24 mpg compared to 20 mpg with the standard truck. Our real-world testing supported these numbers.
Ford won’t drop its gas or diesel engines anytime soon. They represent the engines of choice for consumers, but the F-150 Hybrid is a compelling alternative. Likewise, the hybrid serves as a transition model to full electric, including for those who might consider the 2022 F-150 Lightning. We think any F-150 above the base trim is worth considering. But keep in mind the intervening price increases due to the various options and packages available can cause your costs to soar.
Exterior photos copyright Stumpwater Media Group, LLC. Interior shots copyright the Ford Motor Company. All rights reserved.