Instead of conventional hydraulic assisted turning, the 2011 Ford F-150 will be offered with standard electric power steering – the first full-size pickup truck to get this feature.
With the EPS, fuel economy is improved by up to 4%. It does this by eliminating the losses that are the result of operating a hydraulic pump, the endless tuning of steering feel and the removal of hydraulic steering fluid and hoses.
EPS systems had been offered only in smaller cars and crossovers since the components weren't sturdy or efficient enough to handle the higher front axle steering loads of pickup trucks.
EPS was only offered by GM's 2009-11 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra Two-Mode Hybrid pickups because their powerful (and unique) 42-volt electrical architectures released enough energy to sustain the feature.
A hydraulic power steering system features an engine-driven pump and pressurized hydraulic fluid to help turn a truck's wheels and lessen driver effort. In comparison, the EPS replaces the hydraulic pump and fluid with an electromechanical motor-driven connection to the steering system.
A hydraulic steering pump constantly needs power even when the truck is moving in a straight line but the EPS needs power only during steering maneuvers, making the vehicle more fuel efficient.
Last week, dealerships in the US and Canada received Ford’s 2011 F-150 order guides, which indicates that EPS will be standard for trucks that feature the new 3.7-liter V-6, 5.0-liter V-8 and 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engines.
Specialty models such as the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor and Harley-Davidson F-150 won’t feature the EPS as they are powered by heavier large displacement 6.2-liter V-8. These specialty models will be using conventional hydraulic steering. [via PickupTrucks]