Regenerative Braking Virtually Invisible in F-150 Hybrid

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DEARBORN, Mich. — The Ford F-150 PowerBoost™ Full Hybrid pickup truck, reviewed in this week’s TBR Drive, goes about its business quietly and efficiently, including the blending of its regenerative-braking and hydraulic-braking capabilities.

Depending upon the hybrid’s need for energy replenishment of the 1.5-kilowatt battery, lifting off the accelerator pedal will signal the truck’s regenerative braking system to kick in for recharging. Any vehicle braking resulting is subtle, unlike the abrupt slow down which accompanies many regenerative systems in battery-electric vehicles (BEV) or some other hybrid-electric ones (HEV).

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“The charging really depends upon the battery,” explained Brian King, the Ford engineer responsible for the PowerBoost Full Hybrid’s powertrain. “The system will transfer enough energy to replenish the battery.”

King further explained the relatively small battery used in the F-150 Full Hybrid – the first full-size hybrid pickup offered in the American market – does not need a lot of energy to attain full charge, thus minimizing the amount of regenerative braking necessary.

The overwhelming majority of the F-150’s braking is left to the “standard mechanical” braking system shared with the non-hybrid versions of the truck. This system includes electronic brake boost, anti-lock (ABS) and a power-assisted four-wheel disc (13.7-inch vented rotors front, 13.2 rear) system with an electronic parking brake.

Stepping on the brake pedal begins the braking process and the truck’s various control units determine and blend the right amounts of regenerative braking and hydraulic braking. Regardless of the blending percentage, the driver does not notice anything different in vehicle dynamics or operation.

And, unlike some other hybrids when compared to their sibling vehicles with a traditional gas-engine powertrain, stopping distances for the F-150 hybrid are not any longer than the gas-powered versions.

Like the other modern technological advancements evident in the F-150 PowerBoost Full Hybrid, the braking system goes about its business without fanfare, just solid, positive results.

Mike Geylin
Mike Geylin

Mike Geylin is the Editor-in-Chief at Hagman Media. Geylin has been in automotive communications for five decades working in all aspects of the industry from OEM to supplier to motorsports as well as reporting for both newspapers and magazines on the industry.