For obvious reasons, precise timelines are up in the air for now across the automotive industry, but it’s still all but certain that Ford will launch a new F-150 later this year. While Ford-related leaks of late have focused mostly on the upcoming Bronco and Bronco Sport SUVs, an f150gen14.com forum member dropped what appears to be a VIN decoding chart for the new 2021 F-150 — a chart that details the forthcoming engine lineup. And the most interesting engine on there is a new hybrid powertrain.
We’ve known a hybrid F-150 was in the cards for some time now, but Ford’s played their cards close to the vest; we haven’t known exactly what sort of gas engine would make up the internal-combustion half of the powertrain. This new leak — assuming it’s valid, which we bet it is — clears that up: the hybrid will use a 3.5-liter V6.
Right now, the F-150 lineup only contains one engine matching that displacement: the twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that puts out 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque in its least-potent variation. Adding a hybrid component to that engine — which seems more likely than Ford building an entirely new engine of the same displacement as the EcoBoost — presumably would mean the hybrid would pack a power output well above the ICE-only version, making it the most powerful in the lineup. (Tantalizingly, that hybrid-electric engine’s output is listed as “TBD” on the leaked chart.)
What makes that hybrid even more interesting is that the VIN decoding chart lists the F-150 Raptor will still be an available trim for 2021, but the document does not mention the Raptor’s current turbocharged 450-hp V6. There’s always a chance that Ford simply noted the base horsepower for the engine on its document, but it also suggests Ford may be phasing out the more-powerful versions of the EcoBoost 3.5-liter, like the ones found in the Raptor and F-150 Limited, in favor of the hybrid.
And even if they don’t, there’s a chance the Raptor could still offer a hybrid setup — either standard or as an option. After all, Ford has always found a way to cram the most powerful F-150 engine it has into the Raptor; if the hybrid does prove the most potent engine on offer (and that’d be a great way to get reluctant truck buyers on board with the tech), the odds seem decent that the hybrid-electric engine will find its way into the performance truck.
Ford taking the F-150 hybrid — with the Raptor in particular — may sound controversial. But Ford opting for lighter weight aluminum and predominantly V6 power with the current generation felt like sacrilege to many back in 2014. Sales numbers increased significantly. In an era where GMC is going all-in with a battery-electric Hummer and Ford planning its own all-electric F-150 in the next few years, buyers — even pickup buyers — may care more about the performance than what combination of fuel is powering it.
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