Ford adds Onboard Scales and Smart Hitch To 2021 F-150
“I don’t need help hitching up my truck” or “A real truck owner doesn’t need all this technology.” These are the comments I’m ready to hear about the latest truck technology from Ford.
And while it may apply to many F-150 customers, others may need or want a truck, but feel intimidated by towing or trailering. Heck, watch any boat dock during a busy Saturday and you can see, not all truck owners have the same level of confidence.
So, with those people in mind, Ford has announced new payload and trailering technology for the 2021 F-150.
Ford is introducing Onbaord Scales and Smart Hitch as well as continuously controlled damping, each engineered to help customers who tow and haul load their trucks up for the work they’re designed to do while also adding on-road confidence.
“We’re constantly working to deliver a continuous history of capable, strong and smart trucks designed to make the F-150 customer even more productive,” said Todd Eckert, Ford truck group marketing manager, “This summer we’re delivering three new features all about enhancing the F-150 customer experience while delivering even greater confidence when towing and hauling.”
Related story: Ford introduces hands-free technology BlueCruise to F-150.
How Onboard Scales Work in The Ford F-150
Customers can now gauge how much they’re hauling. New available Onboard Scales measure and display the approximate weight of the payload in the truck. Load information is displayed in the center touch screen with a graphic representation of the truck, on a mobile phone through the FordPass app or in graphics within the truck’s smart taillamps.
Smart taillamps operate like the battery charge indicator on a mobile phone, displaying the percentage of payload capacity by illuminating LEDs arranged in a built-in vertical bar. As the truck is loaded, all four lights illuminate, showing it’s fully loaded. If the truck is overloaded, the top lights blink. The maximum payload based on the pickup’s configuration is programmed into the system. Additionally, the truck can be set on scale mode, which zeroes out the current load and allows for approximate weighing of additional items loaded into the bed.
How Smart Hitch Can Help Ford F-150 Customers
Class-exclusive Smart Hitch is designed to help customers easily load trailers and better practice safe towing. Smart Hitch measures the tongue weight of a trailer being connected, to help the customer distribute trailer weight correctly.
After the trailer is set up in the center touch screen, Smart Hitch calculates its tongue weight and provides guidance on weight distribution or hitch overloading on the screen, on the FordPass app or within the smart taillamps. The truck also will indicate if the hitch weight is too high or low and can even guide owners through properly tensioning a weight redistributing hitch.
Continuously Controlled Damping In The 2021 Ford F-150
The all-new 2021 F-150 offers available continuously controlled damping for enhanced ride and handling characteristics, especially when towing or hauling heavy loads. A computer within the F-150 analyzes multiple signals collected from high-resolution sensors – adjusting vehicle response to each situation by controlling valves in the shocks.
Damping force is used to control unwanted motions such as bounce, pitch and roll reducing the severity the truck – and its passengers – will feel from traveling through the pothole. When the edge of a pothole is detected, the dampers firm up, preventing the tires from dropping as deep into the hole. Tuning can be adjusted by selecting any of the available drive modes.
In Tow/Haul mode, continuously controlled damping is specifically tuned to provide a smooth and confident driving experience, easing truck and trailer responses to road conditions while providing connected, precise, and linear steering despite a heavy trailer or load, helping reduce stress on the driver while towing.
When Are These Technologies Available and How Much Do They Cost?
According to Ford, Onboard Scales, Smart Hitch, and Continuously Controlled Damping can be ordered in early June, with deliveries beginning in late summer.
Onboard Scales with Smart Hitch is $650. The new Continuously Controlled Damping feature is $695.
They add to the already tech-heavy 14th-generation Ford F-150 which also has other features like Pro Power Onboard Generator, Trailer Reverse Guidance and Pro Trailer Backup Assist, Active Park Assist 2.0, and Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Detection.
Unfortunately for those who already took ownership of a 2021 F-150, the Onboard Scales, Smart Hitch and Continuously Controlled Damping cannot be installed at a dealer. According to Ford, they require special hardware that can’t be dealer installed and therefore are not able to be added retroactively.
Related story: Ford is first automaker to add Mappo, travel-oriented app.
I want to hear your feedback on this new technology. Do features like this appeal to you or are they unnecessary. Leave me your comments below. Be sure to check out my colleague Marc Stern's ongoing coverage of the chip shortage that is affecting production.
Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.