The 2021 Ford F-150 has been officially revealed to the world, and along with it, a first-ever hybrid model.
Like Ford’s turbocharged “EcoBoost” engines, this new hybrid system gets its own marketing tell-tale: “PowerBoost.” Unlike the former, Ford is making no attempt to greenwash this new powertrain brand. Yes, they’re hybrids, but saving the world isn’t really the point. The F-150 PowerBoost will be the model with the most power and torque of any half-ton pickup in the segment when the new truck line launches this fall, meaning it will boast more than 420 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque. Green? Maybe. Powerful? You betcha.
So, what makes the F-150 hybrid tick? As it turns out, Ford chose a fairly conservative approach to this powertrain, and we don’t necessarily consider that a negative. The PowerBoost hybrid system comprises a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, a 1.5-kilowatt-hour battery pack mounted under the load floor, and an as-yet-unspecified electric motor (likely integrated into the transmission, based on Ford’s limited documentation) and an inverter — either 2.4 kW or 7.2 kW — to capture energy via regenerative braking.
Yes, there are two potential inverters, and this leads to another key element of the PowerBoost architecture: It also acts as a generator, juicing the 2021 F-150 hybrid’s rather robust in-bed power station. This system is not actually unique to the hybrid, but its utility is maximized with the electrified powertrain. Gasoline engine models equipped with the Pro Power Onboard option (as Ford calls it) max out at 2.0 kilowatts.
With the PowerBoost system, that increases to 2.4 kW with an optional upgrade to 7.2 kW. If you choose that upgrade, you get 30-amp, 240-volt service in the bed via a NEMA L14-30R hookup along with four 20-amp, 120V outlets. 2.0 and 2.4 kW models merely get 20-amp 120V outlets, but that’s still more than the competition offers. The above slides demonstrate exactly what each tier of this system can accomplish, lending credence to the fact that Ford’s new hybrid system is more than just a way to save a little cash at the pump.
We’re hoping to learn more about the specs of Ford’s new hybrid system shortly, as ordering for the new half-ton are expected to open in July. Until then, we can only speculate as to just how potent (and how expensive) this new system will be.