The aluminum-bodied F-150 that’s currently for sale today was introduced not too long ago as a 2015 model year truck. The gambit of switching metal body panels from proven steel to lightweight aluminum was a strategy to save weight, and thus increase fuel economy. The ripple effect was that the repair industry needed to learn how to work with this element more effectively, while contractors advertising their business on their trucks would no longer be able to use magnetic decals. Despite all of that, the Ford F-Series remained the best selling vehicle family in America, largely outselling any vehicle in any segment, despite being the oldest offering in the truck market currently. And in the truck market, the F-Series has remained America’s best-selling truck for over thirty years straight. Needless to say, it’s the lifeblood of Ford Motor Company, and more attention is given to this pickup than any other vehicle for sale by the automaker. And soon, a new chapter will written in the story, as fully built prototypes of the 2021 Ford F-150 have been spied on the road. This is giving the world the first indications of what we can expect from the Blue Oval’s golden goose.
According to sites such as Motor Authority and others, which have purchased the spy photos, the 2021 Ford F-150 will be more evolutionary than revolutionary, as components such as the rear solid axle appear to carry over from today’s truck. That said, the powertrain portfolio is expected to open up significantly, with the addition of a hybrid model, as well as a fully electric version of the truck. It’s worth noting that Ford Motor Company has invested $500 million in Michigan electric vehicle automaker Rivian, which will soon be launching the R1T and R1S electric pickup and SUV models. Ford could reap the benefits of this investment by using Rivian battery technology in its forthcoming electric F-150, which has been officially confirmed by executives.
For more traditional (gasoline) offerings, reports claim that Ford will soldier on with its EcoBoost V6 engines and will continue to offer a V8. However, rumor is that a 4.8L could replace the 5.0L Coyote engine in the truck, which would be a significant changeup. Meanwhile, we expect a diesel engine to cap the lineup in terms of capability, while a 10-speed automatic will likely be standard on most variants. We imagine that Ford will keep things more basic for a work truck-spec offering.
On the inside, the instrument cluster is going to be more digitized than before, with spy photos indicating a large center screen in the middle of the gauges, which could also be digital as well. Interestingly, in a very race car fashion, there’s a boost gauge on the driver’s side A-pillar. Cool.
The exterior is hard to make out, but a new headlamp and grille design appears inbound. It’s impossible to tell at this moment there are any more tailgate tricks up its sleeve for the 2021 Ford F-150. Remember, even though General Motors has the six-way MultiPro tailgate, and Ram has the barn-door styel MultiFunction tailgate, it was Ford that pioneered the integrated tailgate step. Complete with a slide-in step and retractable grab rail, this was a way for the average sized person to more effectively enter and exit the business end of the pickup truck, which has enlarged to absurd levels of size over the years.