Ford continues to up the ante with its top-selling F-150 by offering three new technologies this summer, including an onboard payload scale that will help owners stay within the payload rating of their truck. In addition to the built-in scale, the new Ford F-150 will offer what it calls a Smart Hitch to facilitate easier hitching and controlled damping for a better ride. Ford recently introduced a built-in generator that provides up to 7,200 watts of power. These new features will make the Ford F-150 even more attractive for those hauling a small truck camper.
“We’re constantly working to deliver a continuous history of capable, strong and smart trucks designed to make the F-150 customer even more productive,” said Todd Eckert, Ford truck group marketing manager, “This summer we’re delivering three new features all about enhancing the F-150 customer experience while delivering even greater confidence when towing and hauling.”
Owners can now quickly gauge how much truck camper they’re hauling without having to go to a CAT Scale. The new Onboard Scale measures and displays the approximate weight of the payload in the truck. Load information is displayed three ways: on the touch screen with a graphic representation of the truck, on a mobile phone through the FordPass app, and within the truck’s smart tail lights. The idea is so genius, that one has to ask why nobody had thought of it before.
The smart tail lights operate like a battery charge or water level indicator like the one in your camper, displaying the percentage of payload capacity by illuminating LEDs arranged in a built-in vertical bar. As the truck is loaded, all four lights illuminate, showing it’s fully loaded. If the truck is overloaded, the top lights blink. The maximum payload based on the pickup’s configuration is programmed into the system. Additionally, the truck can be set on scale mode, which zeroes out the current load and allows for approximate weighing of additional items loaded into the bed.
The Ford F-150’s Smart Hitch is designed to help customers easily load trailers and practice safer towing. Smart Hitch measures the tongue weight of a trailer being connected, to help the customer distribute trailer weight correctly. After the trailer is set up in the center touch screen, Smart Hitch calculates its tongue weight and provides guidance on weight distribution or hitch overloading on the screen, on the FordPass app or within the smart taillamps. The truck also will indicate if the hitch weight is too high or low and can even guide owners through properly tensioning a weight redistribution hitch.
The 2021 F-150 offers controlled damping for enhanced ride and handling characteristics, especially when towing or hauling a heavy load like a truck camper. A computer within the F-150 analyzes multiple signals collected from high-resolution sensors, adjusting vehicle response to each situation by controlling valves in the shocks.
Damping force is used to control unwanted motions such as bounce, pitch and roll reducing the severity the truck—and its passengers—will feel from traveling through the pothole. When the edge of a pothole is detected, the dampers firm up, preventing the tires from dropping as deep into the hole. Tuning can be adjusted by selecting any of the available drive modes.
In Tow-Haul mode, continuously controlled damping is specifically tuned to provide a smooth and confident driving experience, easing truck and trailer responses to road conditions while providing connected, precise, and linear steering despite a heavy trailer or load, helping reduce stress on the driver while towing.
How soon will these technologies be offered in Ford’s more capable F-250 and F-350 trucks and above? Ford didn’t say in its press release, but we expect that customers won’t have to wait too long if demand is high. Perhaps 2022?
Available Onboard Scales, Smart Hitch, and Continuously Controlled Damping can be ordered in early June, with deliveries beginning in late summer. They add to an already extensive catalog of available technology for F-150 like PowerBoost full-hybrid powertrain, Pro Power Onboard, Trailer Reverse Guidance and Pro Trailer Backup Assist, Active Park Assist 2.0, and Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Detection.