If you are thinking Ford is contemplating a new rocket ship called the Atlas, then you would be just slightly mistaken. The new Atlas Concept, making its debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week, is a glimpse into the future of pick-up trucks from Ford. You can say the Atlas will be a virtual rocket ship in the sense of propelling the company into overdrive for the commercial pick-up truck market merging with normal consumers making an even bolder statement with more brute.
The Ford Atlas Concept will push the limits for combining fuel efficiency from Ford’s next generation EcoBoost turbocharged engines and all the capabilities you would want out of a full-sized pick-up truck, including competitive towing, rugged construction, versatile utility and a technologically functional yet comfortable cabin.
Some of the design of the Ford Atlas Concept has many traits of commercial vehicles, which is a useful aspect wanted in many new pick-up truck consumers. Turning to intensive aluminum construction to reduce weight and increase fuel economy, the Atlas will probably be offered alongside of a forthcoming F-150 having a more upscale vibe to it.
Ford Atlas Concept: The Future of Pickups
• Ford Atlas Concept is the future vision for pickup trucks
• Innovative design integrates capability and smart technologies to transform customer
expectations of what Built Ford Tough® will look like in the future
• Next-generation EcoBoost® – coupled with advanced engineering and design
innovations – creates leading fuel efficiency and increased capability
• Trailer towing and cargo hauling are made easier with innovative features designed
specifically for truck owners to improve utility and confidence
DETROIT, Jan. 15, 2013 – Ford today unveiled the Ford Atlas Concept to showcase the design,
capability, fuel efficiency and smart technologies that will define future pickup trucks.
“The Ford Atlas Concept previews the innovations that will transform what people expect from
their pickup,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “With 36
years as America’s best-selling pickup, we are absolutely committed to setting the agenda in the truck market.”
Design with purpose
The Ford Atlas Concept is inspired by decades of listening to customers at the places they work
and play. The result is a purpose-driven design with prominent wheel arches, a wide stance and
chiseled grille – all to reinforce its functional Built Ford Tough® image.
“We wanted the concept to reflect how Ford trucks help customers in both their worlds –
professionally and personally,” said J Mays, Ford group vice president and chief creative officer.
“Every surface and feature in the vehicle has been crafted for purpose and capability while
retaining an unmistakable Built Ford Tough look.”
Designers enhanced truck functionality, while creating new advanced features (see infographic
here). For example, multiple tie-down points are integrated within the cargo box walls and load
floor, along with 110-volt electrical outlets in the cargo box to charge power tools. An integrated roof carrying system and hidden extendable ramps give the truck unique functionality for a variety of jobs.
The interior is themed with structural styling cues and features the latest thinking in comfort, utility and refinement. Innovative, thin, lightweight seating in comfortable leather allows for extra legroom for rear passengers – along with integrated storage for smaller items. “Floating” instrument pods and glove-friendly buttons and controls keep the interior functional and ruggedly stylish.
Leading fuel efficiency
The Ford Atlas Concept features a next-generation EcoBoost® powertrain, which introduces
truck-enhanced Auto Start-Stop engine shutoff technology. Auto Start-Stop shuts off the engine
when stopped in traffic to save fuel – and smartly suspends the feature when the truck knows it
EcoBoost engines use gasoline direct injection and turbocharging to deliver fuel-economy gains
of up to 20 percent and reduction of CO2 emissions of up to 15 percent, compared with largerdisplacement engines. More than 500,000 EcoBoost engines have been sold globally, including 250,000 in the Ford F-150.
The Ford Atlas Concept goes further to save fuel through a combination of active aerodynamic
elements that reduce wind resistance. They include:
• Active Grille Shutters: Automatic shutters behind the grille stay open when extra engine
cooling is needed, such as during low-speed stop-and-go driving or while working in hot
weather. The shutters automatically close to improve aerodynamics when cruising on
the highway at steady speeds
• Active Wheel Shutters: Automatic shutters in the wheels are hidden to improve style at
rest and low speeds, but automatically close at highway speeds to improve
aerodynamics. Self-charging batteries use energy from the wheels’ motion to power the
• Drop-Down Front Air Dam: A drop-down front wind spoiler lowers at highway speeds to
improve underbody airflow. The air dam is raised at low speeds to improve ground
clearance – helpful for off-roading
• Power Running Boards: Auto-deploying running boards help passengers enter the truck
at rest and tuck up against the truck when it is moving to improve aerodynamics and
ground clearance The combination of these fuel-saving features saves more than 2 mpg on the highway without diminishing towing or hauling capability.
Work and play smarter, not harder Ford Atlas Concept is a rolling showcase of features that improve capability, durability and productivity to meet the diverse needs of pickup truck owners. Features include:
• Dual-Purpose Tailgate Step and Cargo Cradle: The acclaimed Ford Tailgate Step goes
a step further by adding the ability to also act as a cargo cradle – lifting and holding
extra-long cargo items above the truck and freeing valuable bed space
• Trailer Backup Assist: This segment-first innovation allows drivers to back a trailer with
the twist of a knob. Ford research shows that backing a trailer is often the most
intimidating task a truck customer can face
• Dynamic Hitch Assist: Hitching a trailer can be time consuming and difficult. Dynamic
Hitch Assist helps precisely line up the truck’s hitch with the trailer coupling, eliminating
maneuvering guesswork by showing visual cues in the truck’s center display screen
• 360-Degree Point-of-View Camera: A Ford truck first, the system gives a bird’s-eye view
of the truck to help position the vehicle in tight places or when there are obstacles near
the truck – such as on a busy job site or grocery store parking lot
• LED Headlamps and Taillamps: Advanced LED lighting offers better road illumination
than conventional halogen or HID lights and lasts longer. LED lamps also offer nearinstant
response, giving valuable extra warning time for following traffic
• LED Cargo Box and Side Mirror Lighting: Advanced, powerful yet efficient LED lighting
brightly lights the cargo box and job site after the sun goes down with minimal battery
drain compared to standard headlights or plug-in lights
• Hidden Cargo Ramps: Lightweight, durable loading ramps stowed below the cargo box
can be quickly removed and set up to assist with loading wheeled items into the bed