Tuesday, September 19, 2017

How Ford Quietly Went About Early Testing of The F-150 Cargo Box with Real Customers in the Toughest Conditions



  •     Beginning in 2011, at job sites including a Nevada gold mine and a Pennsylvania dam, as well as in servicing power lines in Appalachia, six prototype F-150 pickups with high-strength, aluminum-alloy cargo boxes were quietly tested in the hands of longtime Ford fleet customers
  •     Extreme real-world customer testing early on has helped prove durability of aluminum alloy and determine final cargo box design, ensuring the all-new Ford F-150 will be the toughest F-150 yet
  •     First time Ford has given customers advanced prototype vehicles so far ahead of production
Ford Motor Company went beyond its labs to test a key part of the all-new Ford F-150. The company embedded six prototype pickups – each with an experimental aluminum-alloy cargo box – at some of its fleet customer job sites then quietly went about evaluating the design and engineering of the next-generation pickup in the toughest conditions.

Three longstanding Ford fleet customers, unaware of Ford’s experiment, took delivery of prototype F-150s with current steel bodies and all-new, high-strength, aluminum-alloy cargo boxes in 2011. Three years later, these fleet customers and the Ford team who built the prototype trucks are convinced the new 2015 Ford F-150 will be the toughest truck the company has ever made.

“Our customers demand the highest levels of toughness and productivity – so we wanted to test the truck outside, in the harshest conditions and in the hands of real customers – with no limits,” said Larry Queener, program manager for the new F-150. “But we did not want these customers to know what was different. So, when we gave them the prototype vehicles, we told them to use the trucks like their other hard-working Ford trucks, and we would be back to follow their progress.”

Denis Kansier, F-150 prototype lead engineer, visited the customer sites every three months to check on the integrity of the vehicles and identify possible adjustments to the design of the new Ford F-150.

“This secret testing almost immediately yielded results and lessons we have rolled into the all-new F-150,” said Kansier. “For example, we made the cargo box floor thicker to improve strength, and we made modifications to the tailgate based on lessons we learned through customer usage.”

The six-vehicle fleet accumulated more than 350,000 miles in just more than two years.

Blind testing with customers

The job sites where the real-world testing was done were chosen for the tough nature of the work these fleet customers do there – from picking up and hauling heavy objects, like 40-pound pintle hitches used for heavy towing, to rolling over unforgiving off-road terrain. The customers were given two prototype vehicles each. The customers and the sites they worked on include:


  •     Barrick Gold Corporation, Elko, Nevada: The Barrick surveying team drove the vehicles through severe terrain at the company’s Bald Mountain and Cortez mines, including travel into mine pits before and after blasting. The prototype F-150 trucks are still being driven between 100 and 300 miles a day, and have accumulated more than 150,000 miles between them
  •     Walsh Construction, Holtwood, Pennsylvania and Birmingham, Alabama: Walsh Construction was selected for the severity of use at two of its work sites – first, a hydroelectric dam in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, then a highway interchange construction site in Birmingham, Alabama
  •     Regional utility company in North Carolina: One F-150 prototype was assigned to a meter reading crew that drives up steep mountain roads; the second truck was assigned to line crews that drive up overgrown paths to replace old poles and electrical lines. The meter readers removed the truck’s tailgate to improve visibility – an alteration Ford engineers responded to by incorporating height modifications into the final F-150 design. The trucks at these sites are still being driven an average of 200 miles a day

As the testing of these six F-150 prototypes ensued, drivers began to notice differences compared to typical steel truck beds. One of the differences they noticed was a lack of rust.

“They told us they noticed the boxes did not produce red surface rust when heavy use scratched through the paint,” said Kansier.

The fleet customers were informed of the modified, high-strength aluminum-alloy cargo box at the reveal of the all-new F-150 at a North American International Auto Show.

To watch the customer tough testing in action at Barrick Gold Corporation, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBuYbGXVHdE&feature=youtu.be.

Tough testing strategy

Ford’s extensive testing strategy for the new F-150 includes three phases that will allow engineers to understand how each truck stands up under an array of harsh conditions: “We Test,” which takes place in Ford labs, “They Test,” at fleet customer sites and “You Test,” in which consumers will have an opportunity to put the new truck through its paces.

In addition to testing by the three fleet customers, prototype F-150s have been tested in a number of real-world environments. Among them is Davis Dam – a durability route in a remote corner of northeast Arizona – where the F-150 climbed 13 miles pulling a maximum trailer load in 120 degree heat. In California’s Anza-Borrego State Park, an hour east of San Diego, the truck ascended a mountain of sand and rock with a 30-degree grade, sometimes reaching an altitude of 6,000 feet, 250 times over five days – all without fail.

Before the first 2015 F-150 rolled off the assembly line, the new truck was to 10 million miles of combined real-world and simulated durability testing. For a list of some of the ways Ford has torture tested the next-generation F-150, visit

https://media.ford.com/content/fordmedia/fna/us/en/news/2014/04/09/10-ways-ford-torture-tested-the-2015-F150.html.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 183,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit corporate.ford.com.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Knapheide KnapKap Ultra Cab High Utility, Supreme Utility Walk Around



Watch Tony Marshall, Manager of Product Strategy and Marketing, Nathan Campbell, Regional Sales Manager, and Carl Schumacher, Strategic Account Manager, as they go through features and options on the KnapKap Ultra High Cab Utility and KnapKap Supreme Utility from The Knapheide Manufacturing Company.

Friday, September 15, 2017

New Products at WTS17


"Always something new ... always something to learn." - Michael Meeks, Franklin County Engineer http://www.worktruckshow.com

Monday, September 11, 2017

Motive Places More Battery School Buses


Starcraft eQuest XL Bodies on Ford F-59 Chassis, FZSoNick Batteries, Placed via Creative Bus Sales with Partial Funding by CEC & SCAQMD

More all-battery school buses with Motiv Power Systems drives are being placed in California, as two vehicles for the Colton Joint Unified School District east of Los Angeles join 13 Motiv-drive school buses for Sacramento and four already in service in the San Joaquin Valley.

The two new Starcraft eQuest XL-bodied buses for Colton Joint USD bring Motiv’s all-battery school bus total in California to nearly 20.

The latest pair, sold via Creative Bus Sales, are Type C buses with Starcraft eQuest XL bodies on Ford F-59chassis. They are powered by sodium nickel batteries from Switzerland’s FZSoNick (aka Fiamm).

The buses provide a maximum capacity of 48 passengers and a range of up to 85 miles on a single charge, Motiv says. They are available with battery packs with capacity up to 127 kilowatt-hours, according to a Creative Bus Sales spec sheet, which indicates 60 miles of single-charge range with an 85-kilowatt-hour pack.

Six-Year RoI

Operators can expect an 85% reduction in fuel/operating costs and a 66% reduction in maintenance costs, Motiv says, yielding return on investment in about six years.

“The Motiv electric powertrain is giving Creative’s eQuest XL school bus unprecedented performance previously uncharacteristic of electric buses,” Joe Angeli of Creative Bus Sales says in today’s Motiv announcement.

Power and Acceleration

“The hill-climbing power and acceleration provided by the electric powertrain gives these buses a driving experience consistent with standard buses creating a safer driving environment for the buses and the children they transport,” he said.

The two new buses have flexible seating, support wheelchair access, and can be configured to accommodate as many as eight wheelchairs for routes with special needs children.

Entering Service Soon

They are to be enter service with Colton Joint USD “within the next few weeks,” Motiv says, noting that they have been funded in part by the California Energy Commission and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

Erick Richardson is director of transportation at Colton Joint USD. Raynona Orona is bus operations supervisor.

Source: http://www.fleetsandfuels.com/fuels/evs/2017/09/motiv-places-more-battery-school-buses/


Saturday, September 9, 2017

FORD PROVIDES MORE THAN $3.5M TO HURRICANE RELIEF; OFFERS 'TEXAS IS FAMILY' PACKAGE TO AID VICTIMS


  • Ford Motor Company, our employees and our dealers are working to help victims of Hurricane Harvey rebuild their lives
  • Ford dealers and Ford Motor Company commit to raising more than $3.5 million in hurricane relief for affected communities, first responders, dealership employees and their families
  • Ford Fund is contributing up to $500,000 to the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army and other agencies to assist with the relief effort
  • Ford is extending a special “Texas Is Family” assistance bundle for customers whose vehicles were lost or destroyed; this includes the same no-haggle, below-invoice price as Ford employees and their families receive, with payments deferred until next year
  • First responders in hurricane-affected areas are eligible to receive a special discount toward the purchase of any Ford or Lincoln vehicle
DEARBORN, MI,  – Ford Motor Company and its dealers, taking action to aid Hurricane Harvey victims, are committing millions of dollars in relief funds and offering special assistance to those who need to replace lost or destroyed vehicles.

“Our hearts go out to all of those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Texas is like family for Ford,” said Jim Hackett, Ford president and CEO. “Our teams are working day and night to help our customers, dealers and communities get back on their feet.”

Ford has launched multiple initiatives to assist in the relief efforts, including committing more than $3.5 million in relief funds. These actions include:

  • Ford Motor Company Fund is contributing $500,000 to disaster relief efforts in Texas. This includes contributions to the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, Team Rubicon, Toolbank and the purchase of four Chariot Transit Vans that will also support the relief effort
  • Texas-area Ford dealers already have donated $200,000 to disaster relief organizations via the Cowboys-Texans telethon and have committed to raising more than $1 million to go toward helping dealership employees and local charities. Ford will match this effort up to a total of $1.5 million in relief to designated community relief charities
  • Ford is announcing a special customer assistance bundle, “Texas Is Family,” to assist customers with a loss claim to meet their immediate vehicle needs:
  • “Texas Is Family” customer assistance bundle
  • The same no-haggle, below-invoice price as Ford employees and their families receive
  • No payments until next year
  • Low Ford Credit APR or lease rates
  • Simple online application process
Existing customers affected by Hurricane Harvey can apply to have their payments deferred for up to two months by contacting Ford Credit or Lincoln Automotive Financial Services online, at FordCredit.com or LincolnAFS.com, by or phone at 800.723.4016 or by using the FordPass smartphone app

First responders in hurricane-affected areas are eligible to receive a special $1,000 discount (in addition to all available incentives) toward the purchase of any Ford or Lincoln vehicle
Ford has 114 dealerships in the Houston region. Currently, 101 remain open, 13 are closed and 10 (some open and some closed) have incurred extensive damage. While assessments are still under way, Ford expects dealer vehicle losses to be in the low thousands and isolated to a few dealers.

“The outpouring of support from dealers and employees who want to help is truly remarkable,” said Raj Nair, executive vice president and president of North America. “Thousands of people have suffered tremendous loss as a result of Harvey. For these people, Ford is committed to taking action to make the process of getting their lives back on track a little easier.”

ABOUT FORD MOTOR COMPANY
Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions. Ford employs approximately 203,000 people worldwide. For more information regarding Ford, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit www.corporate.ford.com.​​