Built Ford Smart

Gary S. Vasilash

Certainly, pickup trucks must be strong, durable, capable, and all other related adjectives.

But what’s interesting to note is that in the development of the 2015 Ford F-150, the people working on the truck had to be really smart.

2015 Ford King Ranch F-150

That is, according to Alana Strager, Ford program analyst, “Ford engineers filed more than 100 new patents for technologies on this truck as they have worked to redefine the light-duty pickup for the next generation.”

This number of patents (and those pending) is the greatest number ever in the development of a Ford truck.

The 2015 F-150 has the controversial (especially if you’re in the steel industry) aluminum body and box. Among the patents filed by Ford engineers are those for spot welding methods, adhesives, and hydroforming.

They’re using, incidentally, a proprietary heat-treating method that Ford engineers developed for the nonferrous material. It is said to “nearly double” the strength of the aluminum.

Other developments include LED spotlights on the side mirrors and a remote tailgate release.

While customers may find those things to be of the greatest interest, industry observers—including Ford competitors—are undoubtedly most keenly interested in that aluminum.