Envision a full-size pickup truck and what comes to mind? Winching another vehicle out of a ditch or a tree stump out of the ground? Attaching a house trailer to the hitch and easing out onto a highway? Loading it down with enough pieces to lumber to start to frame up a house?
Those are typical uses for a workhorse pickup, no doubt. But doing so while saving the planet is a rather new idea, at least for most North Americans. Actually, Ford is one of the companies that has been selling flexible fuel (FFV) vehicles around the world for some time. (In some South American countries, for example, folks can brew their own pure ethanol from stalks of sugar cane.) Now that Ford has its top selling F-150 pickup truck available with FFV technology for the home crowd, it would seem a natural extension of being earth friendly.
For 2007, Ford has an available 5.4-liter V-8 for the F-150 to run on the ethanol/gasoline mix sold in the U.S. as E85. Like some other auto makers, the technology is appearing first on larger, fuel-hungry vehicles where emission gains and cost savings can have the biggest impact. If ethanol or another fuel source isn't available, say on a trip, it's no problem. The flex-fuel F-150 can be filled up with regular gasoline instead. While E85 burns cleaner and can be produced here at h ome, vehicles
using it lose an estimated 20 to 25 percent in fuel economy. According
to EPA estimates, a two-wheel-drive F-150 FFV gets about 15/19 MPG on
gasoline, but 11/14 with E85.
Other '07 adds include available in-dash navigation system, higher towing and payload numbers, self-dimming driver's side mirror, and other premium upgrades. On the safety side, Ford boasts the F-150's standing as the only full-size pickup to win the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) 5-star driver and front occupant frontal crash safety rating.
And about pulling those tree stumps out of the ground: There are some pretty savvy cowgirls who can do the job as well with the right truck.