Ford provide six prototypes of its 2015 aluminum F-150 to a Nevada gold mine, Pennsylvania dam, and utility service provider in Appalachia to test the durability of its pickup truck and cargo box.
Beginning in 2011, Ford provided the vehicles to the fleets for real-world testing, the company has announced.
The prototype vehicles went to Barrick Gold Corp. in Elko, Nev.; Walsh Construction in Holtwood, Pa., and Birmingham, Ala.; and a regional utility company in North Carolina.
The Barrick surveying team drove the vehicles through severe terrain at the company's Bald Mountain and Cortez mines, including travel into mine pits before and after blasting. The prototype F-150 trucks are still being driven between 100 and 300 miles a day, and have accumulated more than 150,000 miles between them.
Walsh Construction was selected for the severity of use at two of its work sites. The trucks were used at a hydroelectric dam in Lancaster, Pa., and at a highway interchange construction site in Birmingham, Ala.
The North Carolina utility assigned one F-150 prototype to a meter reading crew that drives up steep mountain roads and the second truck to line crews that drive up overgrown paths to replace old poles and electrical lines. The meter readers removed the truck's tailgate to improve visibility. Ford engineers responded to this alteration by incorporating height modifications into the final F-150 design. The trucks at these sites are still being driven an average of 200 miles a day.