Ford F150 EV’s 1.25M-Pound Train Pull Turns Out To Be Pretty Easy
Do you remember all the hubbub last week when a prototype Ford F150 EV pulled 10 railway cars loaded with 42 Ford F150s? Supposedly, the feat of a prototype EV hauling more than 1 million pounds worth of railway cars and trucks was of major significance. There were only two questions that could arise from this stunt: to whom was this stunt necessary and why was it important?
Ford F150 EV Important To P.R.
So, to who was this important: the answer is obvious, Ford PR. And, why was it necessary – bragging rights. If an electric pickup can pull over 1 million pounds of weight, by extension, the truck was capable of doing anything you might want. Ford likely had hoped for more, but, after this information from Road & Track showed up, they will probably have to scale back their accolades. They’ll have to use the data from the great train roll for towing, and that’s about it. Let’s take a look at the whole issue, starting with a bit of history and finishing up with the conclusion.
A couple of weeks ago, a story broke on the evening news from Ford about its prototype electric F150 pickup. In the runup to the actual demonstration, viewers saw a bunch of skeptical current Ford F150 owners – both old and new – who received an idea of the plans and the Ford F150 EV concept. They were supportive of the idea of an electric Ford F150. And, as they stood around discussing electric trucks, the F150 owners were startled when the pickup they had apparently assumed was a regular F150 turned out to be electric. There were several “Wows,” and other comments when a member of the Ford staff pulled off a large piece of tape covering Electric Vehicle Prototype beneath it. It was an unexpected moment and pointed out just how much planning was already going on for upcoming models. For instance, Ford plans to increase the size of the center display in 2020 models.
The plan was to load a bunch of the owners into the Ford EV Prototype where they would witness the pickup pull a few rail cars. The startled crew heard the word 10, and they waited. Meantime, with the chief engineer behind the wheel of the prototype, the F150 EV slowly started to haul the 10 empty rail carriers. A bit later, after pulling the railroad cars, they heard another plan unfold. Ford planned a second rail car pull with the Ford F150 EV. This time, though, instead of empty rail cars, the 42 Ford F150 examples, lined up next to the rail track would be loaded on the car-carriers. The total weight for this enterprise was 1.25 million pounds.
Ford F150 EV Did Strain, But Managed The Pull
It took a bit more strain on the F150 EV to get rolling, but the prototype hauled the loaded rail cars 1,000 feet. This feat convinced the skeptics in the crowd of the capability of an electric pickup. And, the chief engineer spoke to the future of the F150 EV.
With this background set, let’s take a closer look at the feat through the research of Road & Track. According to the popular automotive publication, the F150 EV did, indeed, haul all that weight, but, it looks like the deck was stacked more than a little. Indeed, the ringer here was the construction of railway cars and tracks. The key was steel.
That’s right, steel. Since the rail cars had steel wheels on their bogies and the tracks were also steel, the rail cars had very low rolling resistance, so it was relatively easy to get things moving once the F150 started forward. R&T ran the numbers and found some startling results.
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Ford F150 EV Pull Numbers Plugged In
After plugging the numbers into their PC systems, the publication found that it would only take about 1,875 pounds-feet of torque to get those rail cars moving. Light trucks are easily able to provide this level of force.
Road & Track explained the mathematics of the rail tow this way. It says that to reach 1,875 pounds of pulling force, you need a vehicle with traction that weighs more than 1,875 pounds. The Ford Authority weighed in over the weekend with a comment about this when it said: “We’ve seen stunts like this where heavy loads are pulled on asphalt.” If this particular stunt involved asphalt, it would require a much larger vehicle because the coefficient of rolling resistance for asphalt is about 10 times higher for a tire on asphalt than on steel. That’s the key to this whole publicity effort.
The Ford Authority, Road & Track