Ford Atlas Concept: The Future of Pickups

Innovative design integrates capability and smart technologies to transform customer expectations of what Built Ford Tough will look like in the future


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 is towing.  

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 larger-displacement 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 shutters
  • 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 
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