F-150 Hybrid put through its paces

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Ford is making its latest 3.5-liter PowerBoost hybrid powertrain available in the new F-150 pickup, making it the first hybrid truck on the market.

However, as Craig Schmatz, F-150 chief engineer, explained, “Just because it’s a hybrid doesn’t mean we treated PowerBoost with kid gloves. To earn Built Ford Tough certification, it 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.”

These durability tests included towing fully loaded trailers over desert mountain passes in high temperatures, crossing frozen tundra and punishing terrain off-road, while also enduring high-humidity chambers, salt baths and rough roads.

Ford notes its engineers also developed a unique durability test specifically for the powertrain, building a testing machine using multi-axis hydraulic actuation to violently shake the powertrain’s 1.5kWh lithium-ion battery, simulating conditions such as hitting potholes and washboard roads, then subjecting it to regular daily abuse.

According to the company, putting the battery through just 82 hours on the machine is the equivalent of 10 years of mechanical torture.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he oversees Automotive Powertrain Technology International and Professional Motorsport World magazines as editor.

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