During the reveal of the 2021 Ford F-150 last night, we learned that the all-new best-selling pickup truck will get a full hybrid powertrain, which Ford is calling “PowerBoost.”
It’s a nice play on the already-established EcoBoost name, and it’s oddly accurate given that Ford has said this new hybrid F-150 will have the most horsepower and torque of any light-duty, full-sized pickup truck.
Of course, Ford neglected to share a lot of the details surrounding PowerBoost, but here’s what we do know:
It’s available on every trim
Often, an automaker only makes the hybrid or up-level powertrains available on top-tier trims. So, what Ford is doing with the F-150 hybrid is special: It’s available on the XL and Limited and everything in between.
While pricing hasn’t been announced, it’s worth noting Ford hybrids in other models command about a $2K – $4K premium over their gasoline counterparts. So, we can assume something similar will happen with the F-150 PowerBoost.
It starts with a 3.5-liter V-6
The PowerBoost takes the 3.5-liter V-6 EcoBoost, which is available as a stand-alone gasoline powertrain in the 2021 model and adapts it for hybrid driving and mobile generator requirements.
Ford uses a lot of superlatives when talking about the PowerBoost powertrain without giving any specifications. But looking at the current 3.5-liter EcoBoost, which delivers 370 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, we can make the assumption that whatever PowerBoost is will be better than that.
It adds a 35kW electric motor
The electric motor will be integrated into the 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission and calibrated for truck use. For those who are unfamiliar with the kW measurements, which, frankly, is most of us, this translates to 47 horsepower.
This electric motor will work in tandem with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine for more power as well as utilize regenerative braking capture.
Pro Power Onboard is standard
While the Pro Power Onboard generator is available in the gasoline models, it’s standard on the hybrids. Standard output will be 2.4 kW; 7.2 kW output will be optional on PowerBoost models.
Access to power comes through in-cabin outlets as well as up to four cargo bed-mounted 120-volt, 20-amp outlets, with a 240-volt, 30-amp outlet on the 7.2-kW version.
Passenger space isn’t compromised
When designing the new F-150 PowerBoost, Ford did a nice job of packaging the hybrid components so they don’t interfere with passenger or cargo spaces.
The 1.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack is mounted between the frame rails below the load floor.
Ford targets 700 miles on a tank of gas
Range is a very nebulous data point – especially when we have no idea what the fuel economy will be. But 700 miles on a tank of gas seems pretty solid.
If you’re looking for more solid fuel economy numbers, even though we don’t have them, we can make some extrapolations. If you look at the Ford Escape, which is one of the only other current Ford vehicles that comes as both a gasoline and a hybrid, you can see that the EPA estimated fuel economy improves by about 11-12 mpg in combined driving from gasoline to hybrid.
While that might be a bit of a leap considering the F-150 is a full-size pickup truck and not a compact SUV, we think a 5-7 mpg improvement isn’t out of the realm of possibility — and that puts it in diesel fuel economy territory.
What we do know: The F-150 PowerBoost will get a 30.6-gallon fuel tank. This likely means PowerBoost will only be available in one cab/box configuration (likely a crew cab) because all the other engine options show three different fuel tanks sizes (23, 26 and 36 gallons), which are dependent on cab/box configurations.
Max towing capacity should exceed 12,000 pounds
Again, Ford is stingy with details when talking about payloads and towing capacities, using descriptors such as “at least” when saying 12,000 pounds.
For the sake of comparison, the 3.5-liter gas-only EcoBoost on the current generation F-150 has a max towing capability of 13,200 pounds, so at least 12,000 pounds for a hybrid seems decent.
The bottom line
Across the line, we’ve been fairly impressed with the Ford F-150 powertrains – including the incredibly quiet Power Stroke diesel introduced in 2018.
We expect big things from this hybrid, including seamless gas/hybrid transitions, excellent fuel economy and capability on par with its gasoline counterparts.