7.2kw Generator Equipped 2021 Ford PowerBoost F-150 Packs a Punch
Like it or not, Ford’s electrification efforts are not slowing down. And while many here on SVTP vocally lament the use of the sacred “Lightning” nameplate on a crew-cab battery powered F-150, I’m here to tell you the future isn’t completely bleak. There’re some really interesting applications for a battery pack connected to some magnets spinning inside a ball of copper wire that may help in ways you really hadn’t thought of. That’s how I approached the latest truck we had in for testing, a 2021 PowerBoost equipped F-150 Lariat.
Check out our full walk-around review of this 2021 F-150 PowerBoost.
IMO, this is a great looking half-ton truck.
It's a bit odd cruising along at 30 MPH while turning 0 RPM.
True, I was skeptical of how useful the PowerBoost slate of features would be in practical situations. After all, how many 120V AC devices do you typically need to plug in for an average job? However, after a week with the truck I can say that the on-board power generation capabilities were far more useful than I originally anticipated. We’ll save that for a little later in the review though. First, let’s discuss the other merits of this F-150.
The generator outlet panel in the bed is well laid out and comprehensive.
Though the 2021 model looks quite similar to the 2015+ F-150s, Ford tells us it’s an all new from the ground up. I’ll be honest, I can’t tell much difference in the ride and handling of this truck versus most of the 2015+ F-150s I’ve driven. That’s not a bad thing though. All of the aluminum bodied ½ ton Fords I’ve driven have been a pleasure to live with on a daily basis. Ford has made great strides in NVH reduction and ride quality enhancement over the past decade, and the 2021 F-150 is just the latest iteration of that technological application. The ride and handling are confidence inspiring without constantly reminding you that you’re driving a truck (which is what you get with the Super Duty). For those who appreciate a smooth ride and a quiet interior, the 2021 F-150 should check those boxes for you.
We have a relaxed off-road drive/review for your viewing pleasure.
On the whole, the 2021 F-150 interior is pretty good.
Speaking of interior, that is the one area where this Lariat F-150 left me a bit disappointed. While there certainly are some very nice features( I really like the HVAC controls), I was really turned off by the fake “stitched padded vinyl” on the dash. I’d rather have a sea of hard plastic than something so obviously artificial. The rest of the interior is fine. The seats are comfortable, and there’s certainly no shortage of power points to be found throughout the cab. You should have no problem keeping your electronics charged. The back seat passengers should be thoroughly pleased with the legroom, of which there is plenty. Ford has shortened the hood over the years and added that space to the cab. The result is ability to essentially comfortably camp in the back seat area of a crew-cab.
The fold-out flat work space built into the center console is handier than you may first think.
The tailgate top has also been transformed into another very useful work space with lots of creative features built-in.
Another big upgrades to the 2021 model year includes the headlights. This truck had the better LED versions, and these are probably the best lights I’ve experienced in a vehicle. These things light up the world when on high-beam. Woe is the oncoming traffic that meets those blistering photons. The 10R80 10-Speed Auto transmission is a tough unit that is unnaturally efficient. Unfortunately, the shift strategy leaves a lot to be desired. The 1-3 skip shift on this truck is horrendous. It occurs at about 10MPH during normal driving which also happens to be the exact spot where the truck likes to switch from full electric mode over to hybrid operation. The result is super noticeable dead spot in acceleration when the transmission decides to shift from 1st to 3rd while the 3.5L EcoBoost engine simultaneously comes online. The real issue is this phenomenon is most noticeable when you’re pulling out into traffic, which presents a safety concern. A tuning update could take care of this quite easily, and I really doubt the 1-3 skip shift provides much of a mileage increase anyway.
How much stuff did Ford pack under the hood and body of the PowerBoost F-150??? Only one way to find out.
A decade ago the engine bay of an EcoBoost equipped F-150 looked nearly empty; things certainly have changed.
The hybrid mode is actually pretty good, and I consider it a solid first effort for Ford to implement this technology in its trucks. In a quiet neighborhood you can roll around on full electric propulsion. Once you get a little aggressive on the throttle the EcoBoost will fire up and provide copious amounts of additional horsepower. Once you get to 35-45MPH in steady state driving the gas motor will shut down and you’ll once again be running on the battery for a minute or so. The transition between propulsion modes is nearly imperceptible. The only downside I see to the hybrid system is it’s not quite aggressive enough. I’d like it to run in full electric mode under more circumstances, but due to the smallish battery pack it’s a bit limited. I can see this improving greatly in the future.
The PowerBoost battery management system take up quite a bit of real estate, and has substantial cooling requirements.
However, in my opinion the real reason anyone would tick off the PowerBoost option box would be for the 7.2kW of A/C generating capability. To put it simply, this is a game changer. This is one of those capabilities you will find uses for far into the future. We tested the generator under numerous conditions, from simply running a vacuum cleaner to charging a Mach E at the drag strip and it never failed to perform flawlessly. I see this option being very popular with two groups; those that may need backup power for emergency situations (think about losing power in a hurricane) but don’t want to store and maintain a separate generator, and those who love dry camping. We were able to run two air conditioners on a Class-A Motorhome with a no issues at all. You could hook a camper to this truck and be off the grid in full comfort for as long as the fuel holds out. That’s impressive to me.
Just how capable is the PowerBoost F-150 generator??? We put it to the test.
We've never been shy about putting these new Fords to the test, and that includes maxxing out the PowerBoost F-150's power generation capabilities.
My take away is that the PowerBoost F-150 is in a class of its own. I can see Ford continuing to develop this technology package on into the future, with the product only improving. I believe anyone who gets to spend some real time with a PowerBoost equipped truck will end up wanting one in their garage. Ford me, I’d like to see Ford develop a PTO driven PowerBoost generator option for the Super Duty. I could see the take rate for something like that being through the roof. In an ever electrifying world, the ability to generate your own juice on the go is invaluable, and it looks like Ford is pioneering yet another segment in the truck market. I can’t wait to drive what’s next.