Ford USA addresses overloading issues
In mid-2021 Ford in the USA will add on-board scales to the options list for F-150 buyers. The scales display the approximate weight of the load on the truck on the infotainment screen.
Heavy truck/trailer combinations have been using on-board scales for many years and these air-spring or load-cell activated systems have proved invaluable in avoiding overloading fines for truck operators.
Another motivator is that, increasingly, insurance companies are denying accident claims where they can prove that the truck/trailer combination was overloaded. This course of action has also been actively pursued by insurance companies in the case of caravan accidents.
However, light truck, ute and wagon makers haven’t seemed to care whether their vehicles are overloaded – despite the availability of low-cost technology to measure axle and towbar weights.
At Outback Travel Australia, we’ve been calling for action from vehicle makers and governments for years.
At last, one ute maker – Ford – has acted to improve the safety of utes in the USA. We’ve asked Ford Australia if there are plans to introduce this technology to the Ranger-Everest lineup and we’ll let you know what they say.
The North American Ford Onboard Scale system is selectable through modes that display: cargo weight; the weight on a fifth wheeler coupling and, thanks to a smart trailer hitch, the weight on the towbar. The weight can also be viewed via the FordPass app.
Additionally, the F-150’s taillights show the amount of payload in four bars, much like a battery percentage. The top bar blinks when the maximum payload has been reached.
The new smart towing hitch measures the tongue weight of the trailer and shows the best weight distribution or hitch overloading on the touchscreen, the app and the taillights. The onboard scales and smart hitch come together as a US$650 option.
Adaptive dampers are also now available on F-150 upper-trim levels. They require the onboard scales option and cost US$695. They’re adjustable for damping rate via the truck’s drive modes, including the tow/haul mode.