2012 Ford Super Chief Concept
Ford unveiled a new concept truck at the North American International Auto Show that really blew me away. First of all the name is fantastic, it really alludes to a powerful and aggressive machine, which is exactly what Ford has built here. While this truck was first shown in 2006, it is obvious that Ford has been morphing their design closer to what we saw with this concept truck. The standard Ford F-250 SuperDuty and KingRanch editions of their HD trucks have served us well for years, but in a bold move Ford has tried to surpass the toughness and bring ruggedness up another notch. The Super Chief design has inspirations from locomotive design with the aggressive front end and grill assembly.
“Ford took the lead in vehicle compatibility when it equipped the 2000-model Ford Excursion with special beams under the front end and redesigned a standard trailer hitch for the rear end,” said Priya Prasad, Ford safety technical fellow. “When we saw an opportunity to improve the compatibility of SUVs and pickup trucks, we acted in the interest of our customers. The IIHS study validates that decision.”
In an industry-wide agreement in 2003, automakers, including Ford, pledged to either lower all SUVs and full-size pickup trucks up to 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating or include energy-absorbing beams underneath the front and rear bumpers of the vehicles by the end of 2009. However, by the time the pact was announced, Ford already had implemented one or the other measure on most of its larger vehicles.
The company’s innovative, industry-leading patented BlockerBeamTM underride protection system, conceived and championed by Prasad and introduced on Excursion, is fashioned with less than 50 pounds of steel and utilizes a unique design. It is used on vehicles whose frame rails cannot be sufficiently lowered due to ground clearance and approach angle requirements for off-road use. Currently on the Ford F-250 and F-350 Super Duty models, the system allows a larger vehicle and a car to share energy during a crash, instead of the smaller car absorbing the bulk of the crash energy The Ford BlockerBeam essentially is a hollow cross member attached to the frame approximately 2.5 inches below car bumpers and 6.5 inches behind the conventional front bumper. During a frontal collision with a car, the structure is designed to make contact with the frame rails of a car in an effort to help prevent the car from sliding beneath a higher-riding vehicle. To help manage crash energy from rear collisions, vehicles equipped with the BlockerBeam are fitted with Ford’s largest trailer hitch — standard on all models. The hitch spans more than three feet across the vehicle’s rear and attaches to the frame. The 3.5-square-inch hitch is designed to prevent lower-riding cars from sliding underneath the back of the F-250 and F350 Super Duty trucks. It also reduces the amount of intrusion into the passenger compartment of the car.
“The BlockerBeam and special trailer hitch both had to be carefully designed so as to provide increased compatibility with cars and still maintain adequate ground clearance to ensure the functionality of the vehicle equipped with the systems,” said Prasad.
Ford has opted to lower the frame rails on other SUVs and pickups in order to provide better compatibility with cars. Those vehicles include the Ford Expedition, Explorer, Freestar and F-150, Mercury Mountaineer and Monterey , Lincoln Navigator and Mark LT, and the Volvo XC70.
V10 Tri-Flex Engine
- Ford designers have introduced a new supercharged v-10 engine with a tri-flex fueling system that allows users to enjoy a choice of three different fuels including gasoline, E85 ethanol or hydrogen. Because the Super Chief offers these choices drivers have the comfort of knowing they can still find fuel as the ethanol and hydrogen infrastructures are developing. In a tri-flex fueling system owners can utilize any or all of these fueling options using the same engine and only the flip of a switch.
- The tri-flex fueling system on the Ford F-250 Super Chief allows operators to go 500 miles between total refueling with the supercharger activated only when using the hydrogen fueling system. The hydrogen system also provides 400 lb.-ft. of torque. The transfer between fueling options is performed through a switching system onboard and can be accomplished while the vehicle is running. The hydrogen based fuel alternative boasts 12-percent greater fuel efficiency when compared to either of the remaining fueling options. Using hydrogen also provides 99-percent less CO2 emissions than the gasoline-only option.
- While the tri-flex system is a new concept at Ford, the automaker has been committed to providing customers with a flex-fueling system in their F-150 models for 2005 and 2006 that allows either unleaded or E85 to be used in the same tank. The tri-flex system is a bold proclamation by Ford that hydrogen may be the next readily available fuel supply for the world and they are ready to roll with the roll out.
- The Ford F-250 Super Chief also offers a couple of different innovative safety features worth mentioning. The Super Chief’s Beltminder technology lets the driver know when any of the passenger seat belts are unbuckled, even in the rear seat. The Super Chief’s Blockerbeam technology is a frontal crash under ride protection system that not only protects passengers in the hydrogen truck but also protect cars in case a frontal impact occurs. The frame-rails and L-brackets help to prevent cars from sliding underneath the higher riding truck and help to disperse energy during a crash.
- The Ford F-250 Super Chief was inspired by America’s railroad history with a front grill that is reminiscent of a locomotive, while the interior is pure luxury. The back seats come with an onboard ottoman, while rich American walnut and brown leather seats cradle driver and passenger in pronounced comfort. The roof is totally made of glass and the back doors swing out independent of the front door. The Super Chief’s front headlamps are LED’s in order to reduce power consumption.
- While many are complaining about high fuel costs and world fuel supplies, automakers, like Ford, are working to find ways to minimize the world’s reliance on a depleting fuel supply. The Ford F-250 Super Chief is one bold concept that is leading the way toward energy independence and a cleaner and greener world for all.