Ford Atlas Concept Ford Atlas Concept Ford’s Atlas is a pickup concept that showcases ideas Ford could incorporate into the next F-Series pickup when the line is redesigned for the ’15 model year. Styling philosophy remains consistent with the Ford F-Series brand, but there are a host of new “smart” features that directly attack the problem of fuel economy in pickups, and add utility. It has been widely reported that Ford intends to make extensive use of aluminum in order to make the truck about 700 lbs. lighter, for fuel economy reasons. Also to enhance fuel economy, we can expect that a version of the twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 will be offered, along with a start-stop ignition. The concept also sported active aerodynamic elements to clean up air flow, which is a primary culprit affecting highway mileage in boxy vehicles, such as pickups. These included active grille shutters that automatically close on the highway, a drop-down air dam and power running boards that retract when the truck is running. Active wheel shutters, capable of closing at highway speeds, use self-charging batteries that collect energy from the wheels’ motion. All of these ideas, and others, would save more than 2 mpg on the highway without diminishing towing or hauling capacity. Other features showcased on the Ford Atlas Concept were based on utility. There is a dual-purpose tailgate step and a dynamic hitch assist that can precisely line up the truck’s hitch with the trailer coupling. LED headlamps and taillights are brighter and longer lasting than halogen or HID lights. The concept also has hidden cargo ramps that stow beneath the cargo box and can be quickly set up to enable easy loading of wheeled cargo. Other utility features included multiple tie-down points 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 adds functionality and cargo capacity. The interior features thin, lightweight seating in comfortable leather to create extra legroom for rear passengers. “Floating” instrument pods and glove-friendly buttons and controls keep the interior functional, with rugged yet stylish design elements. It’s not clear how many of these features will make the production version of the new F-Series pickup, or what the cost will be, but it seems obvious Ford is intent on exploring every possible option.