Electronic parking brakes have started replacing hydraulic e-brakes across the automotive industry, but the technology has not yet found its way into light trucks.
The 2018 Ford F-150 will be the first to change that. The new full-size pickup features an electronic park brake, or EPB, made by supplier ZF Friedrichshafen AG, the first heavy-duty EPB in the world for a light truck.
The technology saves about 20 pounds compared with the traditional hand brake, allowing for improved fuel economy and reduced emissions, according to ZF. The company announced the partnership at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show in Atlanta on Tuesday.
“The electric park brake is a remarkably versatile technology ideal for larger light vehicles,” said Manfred Meyer, senior vice president of global braking for ZF. “By eliminating the park brake lever or pedal, it frees up space in the interior cabin and activates with the touch of a button.”
The company has similar technology in smaller passenger cars such as the Audi A8, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and even the Acura MDX mid-size SUV.
The new heavy-duty version opens the possibility for electronic parking brakes to appear in other light-duty pickups, larger SUVs and commercial vans.
“EPB offers important, potential safety advantages,” Meyer said.
Equipping vehicles with an EPB also opens the possibility of incorporating automated or autonomous features in the future. The heavy-duty unit from ZF “can be integrated with other vehicle systems to enable advanced functions,” according to the company.
For example, the system can link with electronic stability control to assist in emergency stops or ease driver strain and fatigue in stop-and-go traffic jams.
The 2018 Ford F-150 is also available with automated features such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping technology and automatic braking with pedestrian detection.
The automaker has also pledged to bring a hybrid F-150 pickup truck to market by 2020.