Rare is the contractor that hasn’t had to deal with the issues that come with deploying a decent portable generator on a remote jobsite.
Now the setup, maintenance and noise-related hassles of gas-powered gensets may become a thing of the past with the introduction of the Ford F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid pickup. In fact, properly equipped, it’s not a stretch to think of it as an electric power plant on wheels.
At the heart of this all-new F-150, the only full-size electric hybrid pickup truck on the market, is the Pro Power Onboard system that can put out up to 7.2 kW of pure sine-wave alternating current.
In practical terms, that means it can run enough equipment—say, a 120V plasma cutter, a 120V TIG welder, a chop saw, a 1.5-hp compressor, an angle grinder and a work light—to fully outfit a mobile metal shop. What’s more, the truck can keep delivering that electricity for up to 32 hours on a full tank of gas.
The Pro Power Onboard setup is offered across the entire F-150 model lineup, including trucks fitted with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 and the 5.0-liter V8. Power output is limited to 2.0 kW with those engine choices, which is still enough to run a circular saw or recharge a set of batteries for power tools.
Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Co.
But things get more interesting with the PowerBoost Hybrid model, which pairs a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Sandwiched between the gasoline engine and transmission is a 47-hp electric motor that recharges a 1.5-kW-hour lithium-ion battery pack located underneath the truck’s bed. A total output of 430 hp and 570 lb-ft of torque makes this the F-150’s most muscular powertrain.
Here the Pro Power Onboard system is offered with a choice of a standard 2.4 kW or available 7.2 kW output. Ford says the former can put out enough power to build a deck with a circular saw, while running a battery charger and portable speakers. The 7.2-kW system can supply enough electrical power for a crew to frame out an entire house, including power tools such as circular and compound miter saws, a 0.5-hp air compressor, flood lights and a gang battery charger.
Power comes from outlets both in the truck’s bed (up to four 120V/20A outlets and a 240V/30A outlet) and its interior. While the obvious use case is to have the truck parked at a jobsite, power is also available when the truck is being driven, making it possible to recharge tool batteries on the go.
Many of the Pro Power Onboard system’s features can also be controlled remotely from the FordPass mobile app, allowing for quick adjustments to be made without having to go back to the truck.
The Pro Power Onboard setup will be offered on all F-150 trim levels, from basic XL work trucks to the high-end Platinum models. Even the 7.2-kW power option is expected to add only a modest $750 to the window sticker’s bottom line.
The total cost for the well-equipped, four-wheel-drive crew cab Lariat model of the F-150 that ENR took for an extended test drive came to $68,765.
When it comes to traditional capabilities, the F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid can hold its own against other ½-ton models. Towing capacity is rated at a maximum of 12,700 lb, and a sensor providing blind-spot alert with trailer coverage helps make the process less stressful. The truck’s bed and tailgate feature multiple tie-down points to keep the 2,120-lb maximum payload in place.
Other clever contractor-friendly innovations include a fold-down work surface between the front seats, lockable storage beneath the rear seat and over-the-air software updates to minimize downtime. Like the regular F-150 model, the cab features good-sized knobs for climate and infotainment controls, with larger touchscreens available on upper trim levels. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration allow for mobile apps to be accessed from the center-mounted touchscreen.
Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Co.
Keeping an eye on fuel economy, the new F-150 has several aerodynamic design features including active grille shutters and an automatically deployed front air dam. These help get the truck to a respectable EPA fuel economy estimate of 24 mpg combined. Taken with the F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid’s 30.6-gallon fuel tank, this truck has a range of more than 700 miles between fill-ups.
The hybrid F-150 is also a strong performer on the road. The combination of the 3.5-liter V6 and an electric motor gave the test truck ENR took for a spin some surprisingly lively acceleration, at least as good as that delivered by the biggest gasoline V8 engines in Ford’s lineup.
Handling and ride quality were also better than expected, without the heavy, lumbering feel one might expect from a full-size pickup.
ENR’s time behind the wheel left us with the impression that the Ford F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid is a fully equipped work truck without compromises.