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The 2015 Ford F150 will have a new look with plenty of exterior technology and a body that is comprised heavily of aluminum rather than steel – and this choice to use lightweight body panels has many people concerned about the durability of the new half ton Ford pickup. Fortunately, I am here to tell you that there should be no concern that the 2015 Ford F150 will be the best truck ever with the greater capability and better efficiency than any truck on the market.

Since it has been announced that the 2015 Ford F150 would have aluminum body panels, the critics have questioned whether this lightweight material would be tough enough to face the rigors of pickup truck life. Realistically, those people are crazy, as there is no way that Ford Motor Company would make an F150 that can’t stand up to some abuse and to show that these aluminum panels could be tough enough for the new F Series, Ford used similar panels on some current generation trucks sold through their fleet program.

Ford issued 2 prototype trucks each to a mining company in Nevada, a construction company doing dam work and road work in Pennsylvania and Alabama, and a utility company in North Carolina. These three companies were given these trucks in 2011 without knowing that anything was special about them, but they learned after three years of use that they were actually fitted with the aluminum cargo box that will be featured on the next generation 2015 Ford F150. In those years of usage, the customers racked up over 350,000 miles.

“Our customers demand the highest levels of toughness and productivity – so we wanted to test the truck outside, in the harshest conditions and in the hands of real customers – with no limits,” said Larry Queener, program manager for the new F-150. “But we did not want these customers to know what was different. So, when we gave them the prototype vehicles, we told them to use the trucks like their other hard-working Ford trucks, and we would be back to follow their progress.”

The fact that aluminum beds similar to what will be featured on the 2015 Ford F150 have already faced the abuse of a construction company, a mining company and a utility company should put to sleep any rumors that these new cargo boxes won’t be tough enough.

The only early criticism of the aluminum body panels on the 2015 Ford F150 was durability and with the prototype testing seemingly putting those concerns to rest, there are only upsides to these new aluminum components – and those upsides center around weight.

Ford has stated that the new F150 will be some 700 pounds lighter and while we don’t know the specific breakdown of where that weight will be cut, a drop like that will make a big difference.

First and foremost, the fact that the 2015 F150 will likely be the lightest half ton Ford truck ever will likely guarantee that it is also the most efficient half ton Ford truck ever. Even with a carryover of engines (not counting the new 2.7L EcoBoost), the massive weight reduction should allow Ford to reach fuel economy levels like never before.

Next, the reduction in weight will allow the 2015 Ford F150 to be more capable than previous models with similar engines on both the towing and payload charts. Figure that when a vehicle’s capacities are figured, the weight of the vehicle itself can play a part in how much the truck can tow or haul so cutting 700 pounds from the F150 should allow it to tow and haul at least that much more.

Finally, reducing the weight of the new F150 by 700 pounds will improve the power to weight ratio and that will allow this new Ford pickup better performance than ever before. While not everyone buys a truck to go fast, this lighter body should allow the new F150 to be faster in a straight line while also handling better than any truck lineup before it – from Ford or anyone else in the industry.

The 2015 Ford F150 is expected to hit dealerships this fall and when it does, the most fuel efficient and most capable F150 ever will likely take a run at being the bestselling F150 ever as well.

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