The Ford F-Series has been the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. for 36 years straight. That’s quite a feat, and one that we’ll likely never see again (if it’s ever broken). Hundreds of thousands of these trucks are sold every year.
So, you can expect that people are pretty hyped about an updated, new F-150—the most popular of the F Series, which makes up 70% of F-Series sales—that’s on the rise. We can expect the 2020 Ford F-150 (which will have the 2021 year model moniker) to make some huge leaps in the hybrid, electric, and technological games.
Beyond that, Ford has been pretty tight-lipped about any specific options and specifications. But savvy photographers who have taken spy shots of the test prototype vehicles have managed to deduce a few things that truck lovers will most likely love.
Here are twenty facts about the 2020 Ford F-150 that you should probably know.
20 There Will Be A Hybrid
The new Ford F-150 hybrid will be a big leap in the life cycle of the F-Series, as it will mark the company’s attempt to traverse the new landscape in the automobile industry for their trucks; as we all know, they're the most popular vehicles in America, and have been for decades.
A hybrid F-150 might seem counterproductive, but many people are looking forward to this new animal, with a few of the reasons why detailed below.
19 It Will Have Improved Fuel Economy
Although there haven’t been any official announcements yet, you can rest assured that the hybrid version of the full-size F-150 will have improved fuel economy over any F-150 before it. This is the number one reason to get hybrid vehicles, after all (with the exception of having less emissions).
At the moment, the base models get 22 mpg if paired with the 2.7L EcoBoost or 3.3L V6, 21 mpg with the 3.5L EcoBoost, or 19 mpg if combined with the 5.0L V8. Expect those numbers to skyrocket.
18 Assembled At Dearborn, Michigan
The Ford River Rouge Complex lies upstream from the Detroit River. Construction of the factory began over 100 years ago, in 1917, and when it was completed in 1928 it was the largest integrated factory in the world.
It’s a National Historic Landmark, and Autowise.com reports that the hybrid Ford F-150 will be assembled exclusively at this Dearborn, Michigan location. It’s where the Boston-based XL Hybrids’ kits will be fused with the freshly built conventional trucks.
17 Hybrid Powertrain Will Double as A Mobile Generator
The early models of the hybrid F-150 will not be full-fledged hybrids, but rather “mild-hybrids,” as Autowise calls them. One of the best uses of the new technology assigned to the F-150 hybrids is the fact that its hybrid powertrain will double as a mobile generator, which will help provide electricity for tools that are used on remote sites. It’s another way that the workhorse truck will still fit into the blue-collar world that it thrives in today.
16 Hybrid Paired With The Most Powerful F-150 Engine
According to Autowise, even though the details of the XL Hybrids’ hybridization kits has not been released, it's been reported that the hybrid F-150s will be exclusively paired with the most powerful F-150 engines on the market—the 5.0-L V8, and as such, it’ll hopefully provide even more than the 395 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque that it currently has in its conventional form.
15 Initially It’ll Only Be Offered In RWD
Although we don’t know if the payload and towing capacities of the truck will increase with the torque and HP increases, Autowise reports that the initial hybrid F-150s will only be offered as rear-wheel-drive vehicles. The XL Hybrids can provide both rear- and all-wheel-drive setups alongside smaller engine kits for the F-150 in time. So, we can expect further hybridization and updates to the 2020 hybrid F-150 in the future.
14 Testing Began In Early 2019
Back in May of this year, Trucks.com managed to get first-time exclusive spy shots of the upcoming 2020 Ford F-150 (which will be available as the 2021 year model). The trucks were spotted driving around the streets of Dearborn, Michigan, near the Ford plant, in complete camouflage to try to hide any specifics about the vehicles. But savvy photographers were able to note certain amenities even with the camouflaged body.
13 2020 Will Be The Most Significant Upgrade Since 2015
According to Trucks.com, the new F-150 will have the most significant upgrades since the introduction of the aluminum-bodied 2015 model. After all, we'll be seeing hybrid and all-electric versions in the works in Ford’s attempt to catch up to RAM’s and GM’s updated technology.
The 2021 F-150 will be an evolution of the current version, rather than a dramatic departure, and Trucks.com expects Ford to offer new stylings and engine options.
12 Other Possible Engine Options
Trucks.com believes that the conventional 2021 F-150 will include updated versions of the turbocharged EcoBoost engines in the current models, and that the 3-liter turbodiesel V6 that was introduced in 2018 will carryover too. Ford could also replace its 5.0L V8 with a more efficient 4.8L V8.
Trucks.com also expects the hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and full-electric versions to have their own engine options (such as the powerful 5.0L V8 that Autowise mentioned).
11 Ford Expects Big Sales
Currently, the Ford F Series is the most popular truck in the United States, and it has been for the past 36 years. That being the case, Ford expects the light-duty F-150 to make up the top-selling vehicle in the U.S. market with an estimated 70% of full-size truck sales coming from the F-150. Other heavy-duty models like the F-250 and F-350 and Super Duty will make up the other 30%. In 2018, sales of the F-Series rose 1.4% (again) to 909,000 vehicles.
10 A Full Electric Version Has Been Spotted
Also earlier this year, in March, Motor1 managed to spot the full-electric version of the F-150 that's reportedly (or expectedly) going to hit markets in 2022 (possibly in 2021, for the 2022 year model). This comes after InsideEVs.com also saw it being tested in early February, 2019.
Photographers noted that the new Ford F-150 EV has an exhaust pipe, but it doesn’t connect to anything. The exhaust pipe on the passenger’s side is mounted to fool watchers.
9 The Ford F-150 EV Rides Higher Than The Standard Model
Spies at Motor1 also noted that he Ford F-150 EV rides slightly higher than the standard model in order to fit the batteries underneath the cab. The extra height doesn’t look too substantial, and since it’s still in the early testing phases, this could just be an engineering mark that doesn’t make it to final production. We’ll just have to wait and see.
8 Charging Outlet Is Hidden In A Front Panel
A close-up shot taken by the photographers at Motor1 managed to find a sneaky, hidden compartment on the camouflaged car. They think they’ve figured out where the charging outlet for the EV will be: in a concealed panel on the driver’s side that hides the receptacle, above the front bumper. Ford’s engineers deserve some credit for hiding the area so well, even if the spies managed to track it down.
7 The Conventional F-150 Will Have A Slightly Smaller Engine
According to Motor1, back in August, the discounts for the new Ford F-150 were reaching as high as $6,500, if you went down to the local Ford dealer to place an order for one. It’s Ford Authority’s understanding that the Blue Oval is looking to retire the 5.0L Coyote V8 engine to make room for a brand new, slightly smaller 4.8L V8 that will be hooked up to the familiar 10-speed automatic transmission.
6 New Engine Equals Improved Horsepower, Torque, And Mileage
Presumably, this new, smaller engine is set up to improve gas mileage, first and foremost. But even so, the as-yet-to-be-confirmed 4.8L V8 will be naturally aspirated and is going to pack 420 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque, which is better than the 395 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque Coyote engine.
The healthy 25-hp and 20-lb-ft bump will come with better fuel efficiency that should increase over the 23-mpg highway, 17-mpg city, and 19-mpg combined effort of the Coyote engines on RWD F-150s.
5 The Current F-150 Might Be Getting Updates Before This One
The 5.0L Coyote V8 has not been a popular choice lately among F-150s, and Ford has had to dial down production at the Essex engine plant in Ontario, Canada, due to poor demand. But Motor1 expects there’s another reason why we’re not seeing official stats of the 2020 F-150: because Ford might not be done updating the current-generation F-150.
A hot Tremor derivative (the Raptor’s brother) could be in the works, slotted between the FX4 Off-Road Package and the Raptor.
4 The Touchscreen Inside Is 50% Bigger
Slowly but surely, Motor1 is helping to paint a picture of the new Ford F-150.
According to a report from September, reports indicate that the next-generation F-150 is going to increase the size of its touchscreen by 50%, in direct response to RAM implementing the same thing. The increase in size will make it 12-inches, and it shows that Ford is all-in on the touchscreen technology.
With a larger screen, Ford can integrate new features and clear the F-150s interior of extra buttons, too.
3 F-150 Is Moving From Work Truck To Luxury Vehicle
Don’t expect the larger touchscreen to be installed in every F-150, but rather for higher trims. When RAM debuted its 12-inch screen that changed the truck interior game, in the latest-gen RAM 1500, Ford was eager to catch up and make the move from humble work truck to luxury vehicle.
Hopefully, Ford can keep certain features, like climate control, off the screen. Expect the upgraded luxuries to be available in the Platinum and top-level Limited trims, with the larger screen as an option on lower-trim F-150s.
2 Confirmed To Have Independent Rear Suspension
According to CJ Pony Parts, one of the most exciting new features of the 2021 F-150 is the fact that it’ll have independent rear suspension. Spy shots found that the electrified F-150 was showed driving around with IRS, which was big news since IRS is not generally used on trucks.
The F-150 appeared to have a solid rear axle, so even though IRS isn’t likely the norm for future F Series trucks, the suspension setup might be specifically used to deal with the extra weight of the EV batteries.
1 The Electric Prototype Towed 1 Million Pounds
Although there are many skeptics about the video, Ford wanted to show how powerful their all-electric F-150 was going to be when they showed a prototype hauling a train, towing a total of 1 million pounds.
Chief Engineer of the F-150, Linda Zhang, sat at the steering wheel in the electric prototype and easily towed 10 double-decker rail cars. Sitting beside the rail cars were 42 2019 F-150s to represent 42 years of dominating the truck market.
References: motor1.com, insidedevs.com, insideevs.com, autowise.com, fordauthority.com