2021’s Top Ten Tech Cars: Ford F- 150

It’s a 7.2-kilowatt generator on wheels

1 min read
Image of the 2021 Ford F-150.
Photo: Ford Motor Co.

America's perennially best-selling vehicle, the Ford F-150 pickup, has gone hybrid, and there's an all-electric version in the works. And aside from showing class-best fuel economy of 9.8 liters per 100 kilometers (24 miles per gallon), the F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid finds a versatile sideline as a megapowered mobile electric generator.

Base price:

US $30,635

The onboard system cranks out up to 7,200 watts, enough to supply a home during power outages. Ford says the system could power 28 typical home refrigerators. More practically, the Ford could simultaneously power a TiG (tungsten inert gas) welder, air compressor, plasma cutter, chop saw, angle grinder, and work light, all with no need to carry a noisy, bulky gasoline generator in a pickup's bed.

A cargo-box panel, in the bed, has four 120-volt outlets and one 240-V connector. And there's a pair of household outlets in the cab. A touch screen displays power draw in watts for each of two circuits.

The truck's mini power station is fed by a 35-kilowatt (47-horsepower) motor-generator sandwiched between the truck's gasoline engine and its 10-speed transmission. A garden-variety power inverter converts DC power to AC and smooths power spikes so users can plug in laptops and other sensitive electronics.

A 1.5-kilowatt-hour onboard battery supplies power. Once it's depleted, the gasoline engine fires up automatically to keep energy flowing and recharge the battery.

A robust 7.2-kW generator is a US $750 option for the F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid, which comes standard with a 2.4-kW generator. And there's a 2.0-kW unit on nonhybrid models. The fuel-saving hybrid system itself adds $2,500 to $4,495 to the basic truck's price, depending on the model.

The Conversation (0)

A ​Quadruped Humanoid Robot Might Be Able To Do It All

Swiss-Mile's robot can stand on two legs, walk on four legs, and drive like a car

2 min read
A red quadruped robot with wheels for feet balances upright on its hind legs in an empty room.

Last year, we wrote an article arguing that for legged robots, motorized wheels offer a number of significant advantages over feet. Locked wheels can behave similarly to point feet, and unlocking them gives legged robots the ability to travel both faster and more efficiently.

While we’ve seen several examples of legged robots leveraging wheels, the best example of this strategy almost certainly comes from ETH Zürich’s Robotic Systems Lab, which has been exploring what’s possible with wheeled-legged robot performance built around ANYmal quadruped robots. That technology has just been spun out into a company called Swiss-Mile, which wants to commercialize wheel-legged robots for a wide variety of tasks including mapping, inspection, disaster relief, and logistics in urban environments, to name a few.

Keep Reading ↓ Show less

Being More Inclusive Is Paying Off for This IEEE Society

The Instrumentation & Measurement Society saw double-digit growth

6 min read
Illustration of a world map with icons of people over different land masses of the map.

Small changes made over time can lead to big results, the saying goes. A great example of that is the concerted effort the IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Society started more than two decades ago to become a more welcoming and inclusive environment for women and members from outside the United States. Since 2012, the society has increased the number of female members by more than 60 percent. And more articles are now submitted from authors in China, India, and Italy than from North America.

“We tackled one diversity factor at a time,” says IEEE Senior Member Ferdinanda Ponci, the society’s liaison to IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE), a position established more than 10 years ago to coordinate joint activities and programs.

Keep Reading ↓ Show less

EP29LPSP: Applications in Plasma Physics, Astronomy, and Highway Engineering

Ideal for demanding cryogenic environments, two-part EP29LPSP can withstand temperatures as low as 4K

3 min read

Since its introduction in 1978, Master Bond EP29LPSP has been the epoxy compound of choice in a variety of challenging applications. Ideal for demanding cryogenic environments, two-part EP29LPSP can withstand temperatures as low as 4K and can resist cryogenic shock when, for instance, it is cooled from room temperature to cryogenic temperatures within a 5-10 minute window. Optically clear EP29LPSP has superior physical strength, electrical insulation, and chemical resistance properties. It also meets NASA low outgassing requirements and exhibits a low exotherm during cure. This low viscosity compound is easy to apply and bonds well to metals, glass, ceramics, and many different plastics. Curable at room temperature, EP29LPSP attains its best results when cured at 130-165°F for 6-8 hours.

In over a dozen published research articles, patents, and manufacturers' specifications, scientists and engineers have identified EP29LPSP for use in their applications due to its unparalleled performance in one or more areas. Table 1 highlights several commercial and research applications that use Master Bond EP29LPSP. Table 2 summarizes several patents that reference EP29LPSP. Following each table are brief descriptions of the role Master Bond EP29LPSP plays in each application or invention.

Keep Reading ↓ Show less