Meet the first 2021 Ford F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid – here’s why it’s special

Chris Davies - Jun 26, 2020, 7:00 am CDT
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Meet the first 2021 Ford F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid – here’s why it’s special

The 2021 F-150 may be Ford’s 14th generation of the pickup, but it’s also the first to offer a full hybrid option. The 2021 F-150 PowerBoost sees the F-Series embrace electrification for the first time, and the advantages are in more than just economy.

Ford’s system doesn’t stint on the gas engine. It’s a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6, in fact, with horsepower and torque figures yet to be announced. The automaker combines it with a 10-speed modular hybrid transmission.

To that gearbox is mounted an electric motor, which contributes 35 kilowatts or 47 horsepower to the drivetrain. When the truck is slowing, the motor works as a generator, feeding power into a 1.5 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. That battery – liquid cooled – is packaged under the F-150, so as not to interfere with cabin or bed space.

In total, Ford says, it’s expecting the F-150 PowerBoost to offer the most torque and horsepower of any light-duty full-size pickup. Total range is to be confirmed, too, but Ford is estimating you’ll be able to go around 700 miles on a full tank of gas. As for towing, figure on at least 12,000 pounds.

It won’t just be kept for a select few trims, either. The 3.5-liter PowerBoost drivetrain will be offered on every trim level, from entry XL through to top-spec Limited. A 12V battery, meanwhile, will be used to power the engine starter, while a high to low voltage converter is responsible for handling low voltage loads.

Perhaps most interesting, though, is the Ford Pro Power Onboard system. It’s a generator built into the 2021 F-150, which can be used to power tools and other electronics using outlets in the cab and in the bed. Ford will offer it as an option on all of the 2021 trucks, but it’ll be most capable in the PowerBoost version.

The standard Pro Power Onboard system will offer 2.4 kW in the PowerBoost truck, and have two 120V 20-amp outlets. However there’ll be a second version, with a full 7.2 kW to play with, and not only four 120V outlets but a 240-volt 30-amp NEMA L14-30R outlet as well. That, Ford suggests, could be enough to drive a whole host of worksite kit, or make for a pretty epic tailgate party with an electric grill, TV, and more.

As well as offering power when the F-150 is parked up, Pro Power Onboard also works while it’s on the move, so it can be recharging tools while you’re driving between jobs.

What the F-150 PowerBoost is not, though, is a plug-in hybrid. Nor should you expect much in the way of electric-only range: Ford isn’t giving a figure for that, which certainly implies the hybrid system is intended to work with the gas engine running, not on its own.

Down the line, Ford has confirmed, there’ll be a fully-electric version of the F-150. Right now details about that truck are in short supply, however. All we really know is that – in keeping with what we’ve come to expect from EVs – there’ll be plenty of torque for hauling, and that Ford says to expect it sometime within the next two years.


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