2021 Ford F-150 hybrid testing
Jimmy Dinsmore's picture

Ford Put Hybrid F-150 Through Rigorous Tests In Real-World Conditions, Simulating 10 Years Of Use

New PowerBoost hybrid technology put to the test by Ford engineers to show that a hybrid pickup can be Built Ford Tough. A special laboratory test rig was specifically built to abuse the 1.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery used in the PowerBoost system, simulating 10 years of pummeling in just 82 hours.
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Too many people hear the word hybrid and automatically think of a Toyota Prius. That vehicle is the top of the class when it comes to hybrids and has been around forever, but just as I wrote a while ago, the 2021 Ford F-150 hybrid won’t be Prius like.

And now Ford released a video showing the brutal tests their engineers did on the 3.5-liter PowerBoost F-150. See the video below.

“Just because it’s a hybrid doesn’t mean we treated PowerBoost with kid gloves,” said Craig Schmatz, F-150 chief engineer. “To earn Built Ford Tough certification, PowerBoost went through the torture testing we put all of our powertrains through. No F-150 powertrain gets a pass, we have one standard for quality and durability.”

The all-new 3.5-liter PowerBoost full hybrid powertrain is available in the all-new F-150 and is the only full-hybrid powertrain available in a pickup. PowerBoost was created by the Ford team to deliver years of dependable, hardworking service with 430 horsepower 570 lb.-ft of torque - the most torque ever in an F-150.

The full hybrid powertrain is the most powerful engine in the all-new F-150 lineup, delivering 430 horsepower and 570 lb.-ft. of torque. To prove it will deliver the long-term performance customers demand, it also had to pass the same tests all other F-150s must complete.

2021 Ford F-150 hybrid rocks

Putting The Hybrid F-150 To Test
Ford’s engineers punished the all-new F-150 PowerBoost in grueling real-world proving grounds and laboratory conditions. Tests included towing fully loaded trailers over desert mountain passes in 100-plus degree temperatures, withstanding punishing terrain off-road, conquering frozen tundras, and enduring high-humidity chambers, salt baths and roads designed to destroy.

Engineers added a unique durability test specifically for PowerBoost. Ford built a custom testing machine using multi-axis hydraulic actuation to violently shake the powertrain’s 1.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery – simulating conditions like hitting the harshest of potholes and washboard roads, then subjecting it to even more daily abuse. Putting the battery through just 82 hours on this machine is the equivalent of 10 years of mechanical torture. “This thing is like a mechanical bull on steroids,” said Jack Parnoutsoukian, high-voltage application engineer.

In combination with the modular hybrid transmission, the battery enables the operation of Pro Power Onboard to deliver a standard 2.4 kilowatts of exportable power or available 7.2 kilowatts – 18 times more power than what the nearest competitor can manage.

2021 Ford F-150 hybrid towing

That was in addition to the battery of Built Ford Tough testing that spans America.
For instance, Davis Dam in the Mojave Desert of Arizona is a massive 11.4-mile slope that climbs 3,500 feet with an average 6 percent grade and harsh heat. It is one of the toughest places in the United States to test towing performance. PowerBoost trucks loaded to the maximum available tow rating of 12,700 pounds climbed and descended the Davis Dam pass over and over and over again to prove the full durability of the engine, modular hybrid transmission, cooling systems and towing technologies.

Ford’s Proving Grounds
At the Ford Michigan proving grounds, PowerBoost was tested on road surfaces too punishing for test drivers. Robots repeatedly drove PowerBoost over a continuous series of man-made potholed and grooved roads at the unique Silver Creek test course. Silver Creek includes a dozen distinct types of metal-edged chuckholes repeated for almost a quarter mile.

Fully loaded to the maximum available payload of 2,120 pounds, PowerBoost successfully ran the course hundreds of times. It also proved itself against the extreme inclines of the proving grounds, on high-speed ovals, and in water intrusion events.

Part of pushing F-150 to the extreme means putting it through punishing off-road adventures, so engineers traveled to the unrelenting terrain of the Anza-Borrego Desert in Southern California. By subjecting PowerBoost-equipped trucks to mountainous sand dunes, slippery and jagged rocks, high-speed trails and mud walls, engineers ensured the hybrid system can deliver the power and capability F-150 owners need for work or recreation.

2021 Ford F-150 hybrid sand

Ford has its work cut out for it. There’s a lot of misinformation regarding hybrid technology, as well as misnomers regarding all-electric technology. So, just as I reported yesterday regarding potential range anxiety for the 2022 all-electric Ford F-150, Ford will have to do a lot of publicity and promotion regarding the PowerBoost hybrid technology to show that it’s nothing like a Prius.

Putting it through the rigors of any other truck in the lineup is a good start. And the video they released really demonstrates that it’s capable and can handle any road condition, just you’d expect an F-150 to do.
Production of the 14th-generation 2021 Ford F-150, including the PowerBoost hybrid version has begun t Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Michigan, and Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Missouri. The 2021 F-150 goes on sale later this fall.

I want to hear from any potential truck owners, but really want to hear from anyone who has ordered or is thinking about ordering the PowerBoost F-150. Tell me why you chose that. Leave me a comment below.

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.


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