On October 2nd, Ford presented its new range of Super Duty 2023 trucks in the Mauricie region (QC) to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the F-Series.
Recent technological advances offer a variety of new possibilities for carmakers to transform their cars into veritable multifunction supercomputers. So it’s not surprising that the Super Duty 2023 is a completely different machine from the first F-Series to leave the factory in 1948.
To celebrate the 75th anniversary of F-Series trucks, Ford invited the media to the Mauricie region to put the new 2023 F-250 through its paces on a route from Trois-Rivières to Shawinigan.
“Super Duty pickups have a 40% share of the heavy-duty truck market in Canada,” explains Matthew Drennan-Scace, Communications Manager at Ford of Canada. It’s therefore important for us to ensure that our customers are satisfied.
The strategy adopted by Ford is simple: observe their customers in order to identify the shortcomings of the light truck on their work sites (construction sites, towing, etc.). This approach, in reverse, is the recipe for the success of Super Duty.
This year, Ford’s goal was clear according to Drennan-Scace: “We wanted to create the most connected Ford Super Duty ever.”
New developments in automatic driving
One of the most ingenious features of the Super Duty range is the Pro Trailer Backup Assist, available as standard on the Lariat Ultimate, King Ranch, Platinum and Limited versions. To use the Pro Trailer Backup Assist, the new Super Duty models are equipped with a small knob located slightly to the left of the truck’s centre console. With just a few flicks of the wrist, you’ll be able to control the Super Duty from the little knob, like a remote-controlled truck.
This makes the Pro Trailer Backup Assist a very attractive option for inexperienced truck drivers. However, for the more experienced, using the thumbwheel can sometimes be more of a hindrance than a help, as they are already used to compensating for the confusing behaviour of the trailer.
Another impressive technology offered on top-of-the-range versions of the Super Duty is Pro Trailer Hitch Assist, a driver assistance software package capable of automatically positioning the truck in the ideal position for attaching a trailer.
When engaged, this system asks the driver to place the trailer’s receiver in a small target on the reversing camera image. Once the programme has identified the receiver, all you have to do is press the dedicated button again, take your hands off the wheel and let the Super Duty position itself perfectly under the trailer hitch.
However, during the tests carried out, the truck sometimes had difficulty getting into action when there were people standing in the truck’s blind spots. So when using Trailer Hitch Assist, make sure you keep the rear of the truck unobstructed.
With its new Super Duty models, Ford was aiming not just for the towing capacity podium, but for first place. In fact, according to the company, the Ford F450, the big brother of the F250, is capable of towing up to 40,000 pounds, surpassing the Ram and the Silverado.
The same Power Stroke engines can be found in the 2023 Super Duty as last year: a 6.7L petrol, a 7.3L petrol and the 6.7L diesel introduced in 2020. However, a new engine has joined the line-up this year: a high-output 6.7L diesel offering 1200 ft-lb of torque.
All new Super Duty models come as standard with a new 10-speed TorqShift transmission, completely eliminating the 6-speed SelectShift transmission available as standard on earlier Super Duty models.
The exterior of the new Super Duty is more neutral than its predecessor, with more rounded headlights at the front and less pronounced lights at the rear. The grille of the Super Duty 2023 has a more retro look, also helping to make the truck’s appearance less aggressive.
During the test session, Ford offered to take the wheel of the Tremor edition of the Super Duty, the off-road version of the truck. Let’s face it: these work machines are also very capable of performing on the trails. During the route, Ford had the trucks drive over a series of large logs, and the Tremor’s suspension managed this obstacle without the slightest squeak.
A personalised service for parks
Thanks to the connectivity of the new Super Duty 2023s, companies with fleets of vehicles have new opportunities. You can now do business with one of Ford Pro’s 135 Canadian service outlets to integrate more advanced technological systems into all its light trucks.
For example, the Super Duty can be configured so that it can be controlled and monitored remotely. Ford’s figures show that installing such monitoring systems in fleets reduces aggressive driving by 80% and speeding tickets by 75%.
These systems are also relevant for better fleet maintenance. Thanks to artificial intelligence, we can process a very large amount of data very quickly. It’s therefore possible to collect a whole host of data on the mechanical condition of Super Duty trucks to produce a detailed mechanical report in a matter of seconds.
This means that repairs to new Super Duty vehicles can be planned in advance, avoiding major mechanical breakdowns and saving companies with fleets a lot of money.
New solutions for the electrification of trucks
Ford Pro is also committed to developing new solutions and strategies to help organizations more easily electrify Ford truck fleets across the country.
Today, only the F-150 Lightning features in the electric line-up of the American manufacturer’s trucks. However, Ford intends to add other models over the next few years, perhaps even an electric Super Duty. Who knows?
It is therefore very important for Ford Pro to develop new strategies to limit the disadvantages associated with the use of electric trucks in business. As you can see, the main drawback is the time it takes to recharge the vehicles.
According to Kevy Stephen, Charging Solutions Manager at Ford Pro, companies looking to make the switch to electric vehicles need to think first and foremost about their charging solutions. The location of charging points, optimising vehicle routes and minimising recharging times are all parameters that need to be determined before purchasing electric fleet vehicles.
So it’s important to bear in mind that fleets of electric vehicles require more preparation. To make the most of electric vehicles, it’s important to limit the impact of recharging time on commercial activities as much as possible. Today, technology remains limited in this area, as electric trucks do not offer very long range.