This week, two rather large trucks have been released by two of the largest truck companies: The Ford Atlas and the General Motors-backed VIA Motors X truck.
The Ford Atlas is essentially an extremely large Ford F150, incidentally America’s best-selling car for the last 31 years (selling 645000 units in 2012 alone). It does have a lot of differences however, specifically relating to its aerodynamics performance and engine efficiency, as well as its sheer size.
The Atlas was released as a concept in this week’s Detroit Motor Show, descending from a roof into a press conference. Ford claim that the Atlas will be a revolution for pick-up trucks, with its Eco-Boost engine as well as clever stop-start technology. Power and specification are however still unknown, but we are betting that given the turbo-technology included in its new line-up of F150’s, there will be a similar treatment given to the Atlas too.
Environmentally Friendly Features
The Atlas has received a host of features, including LED headlights and backlights. Aerodynamically, it has also been improved with the front grille having shutters which open and close according to how hot the engine is. At high speeds, shutting the grilles improves the Atlas’s aerodynamics considerably. There are wheel bay shutters to make it that extra bit aerodynamic as well as a retractable front diffuser to guide airflow under the car.
Aerodynamics in Vain?
I can’t help wondering however, why Ford went to such great lengths to make something so box-like more aerodynamic. Surely, the negligible gains gleaned from a few grille shutters are cancelled out by the fact that the thing is a box and I would be interested to know what the Atlas’s drag coefficient is, before and after these alterations. You do however get a 360 degree camera which enables the driver to monitor parking in small spaces.
In the UK, you’re unlikely to see any Ford Atlases, it would be ludicrous to attempt to even park one in Central London, for instance. We should however see the aerodynamic technology employed on the Atlas in other models such as the smaller (although still rather large) Ford Ranger. It won’t do anything to help your motor insurance though, these things are costly to insure.