Besides new powertrains, including a 3.5-liter twin-turbo Ecoboost V6 and 5.0-liter V8; the 2011 Ford F-150 will also receive another update in the shape of electrically assisted steering. Truck manufacturers have already been experimenting with electric power steering systems as they seek to reduce parasitic loss and improve fuel economy.
However, until very recently, the only vehicles to be actually fitted with EPS systems on the market were small cars and crossovers. Besides reducing energy losses caused by driving a hydraulic steering system off the engine’s crankshaft, electric steering systems also allow for an infinite amount of tuning to suit optimal road conditions. Furthermore, by using an electro-mechanical motor to drive the steering system instead of a hydraulic pump, EPS is only needed when the vehicle is actually turning, as opposed to hydraulic systems which are constantly drawing power from the engine when it’s running. The result is an average four percent gain in fuel economy and with the ominous cloud of tighter Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards on the horizon for light trucks as well as cars, the automakers are currently looking at any way they can to improve fuel consumption.
According to order guides released by Ford, electric power steering will be standard fitment on all 2011 F-150s equipped with the 3.7-liter V6; the Ecoboost twin-turbo and 5.0 V8; but specialty rigs, like the SVT Raptor and recently introduced Harley Davidson (both powered by the larger 6.2-liter V8), will continue to use hydraulic power steering.
[Source: Pickup trucks.com]