The press materials for the Ford Atlas Concept Truck are now available and I can share the new features and photos with you.
There is an iconograph detailing all the new features in the text below and, you can go to Ford’s YouTube site for an actual walk-around view of the truck. Especially interesting: Ford put that video on YouTube on January 11th without telling anyone. (What a scoop that would have been.)
J Mays, Ford group vp and chief creative officer said that every surface and feature in the vehicle have been crafted for purpose and capability while retaining an unmistakable Fordlook. I have to agree. The new features called out for the media include:
- Next generation EcoBoost powertrain with truck-enhanced Auto Start-Stop engine shutoff technology to save fuel when the vehicle is stopped in traffic — suspending the feature when the truck is towing.
- 360-degree point-of-view camera (a Ford Truck first) to give a birds-eye view of the truck to help position the vehicle in tight places or when obstacles are nearby.
- Active grille shutters (behind the grille) stay open when engine cooling is needed, such as during low-speed stop/go driving or while working in hot weather. These automatically close to improve aerodynamics at cruising speed.
- LED headlamps and taillamps for better road lighting. These last longer and illuminate more swiftly than conventional halogen or HID lights. LED cargo box and side mirror lighting illuminate the box after dark with minimal battery drain.
- Dropdown front air dam (wind spoiler) lowers at highway speeds to improve under bodyairflow, and raises at low speeds for better ground clearance.
- Active self-charging battery charged wheel shutters are hidden to improve styling when the truck is stopped and at low speeds, automatically closing at highway speeds for better aerodynamics.
- Power running boards deploy for passenger entry and exit, but tuck up under the truck when it is moving.
- Hidden cargo ramps are lightweight and durable. They stow below the cargo box for quick removal and set up for easy loading and unloading of wheeled items.
- Multiple tie-down points are integrated within cargo box walls and load floor, and 110-volt electrical outlets in the cargo box can charge power tools, or any other items that you can think of for camping, fishing, hunting or (and Ford doesn’t mention it) tailgating.
- Segment-first trailer backup assist allows the driver to back a trailer with the twist of a knob. This is great for trailering of boats and RVs and, knowing that Ford is showing it on a concept, I suspect that patent protection for this and other Atlas features is not far behind.
- Dynamic hitch assist helps to precisely line up the truck’s hitch with the trailer coupling. Visual cues are shown on the truck’s center display screen.
- The Ford tailgate step is redesigned to add the ability to act as a cargo cradle, lifting and holding extra-long cargo above the truck and freeing bed space.
The specs for the Atlas concept are: length- 238″, width – 88″ without mirrors, height – 81″, wheelbase-150″, track-78″; engine is next-generation EcoBoost with auto start/stop optimized for trucks; transmission is six-speed SelectShift automatic with auto start/stop system; wheels and tires-22″ alloy wheels with All-Terrain LT325/50R22 tires (not identified by maker); 500-lbs. cargo cradle weight capacity; 55,000-psi high-strength steel ladder frame with high-strength steel body including boron. Neither towing or payload levels were rated since this is strictly a concept vehicle.
Please bear in mind that concept vehicles, like the Atlas Truck, are showcases for technology and features, and anything shown is subject to major change or exclusion from future models. That said, concept vehicles and their nifty features better resemble next gen models much more closely than their space-age predecessors; and that, although my last post mentioned perhaps a 2015 intro for a similar truck may be wishful thinking, concept-to-market has a shorter timeline than ever before.
I expect that Ford will bring many of the Atlas features to market quickly since the pickup truck market is loaded with new vehicles. Chevrolet and GMC introduced their 2014 trucks to the marketplace at the LA Auto Show, Chrysler continues to upgrade and enhance their entire pickup line, and I have heard rumor of a new Toyota Tundra. Each of these brands have their own very loyal customer base, but are trying to increase market share with their new entries.
This is a wonderful time to be a truck writer/editor—or a truck buyer. The competition only makes the product better.