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2021 Ford F-150. Photo: Ford

This week I'm driving the 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost hybrid, a surprisingly impressive pickup truck that delivers everything owners want, plus better fuel economy.

The big picture: The hybrid F-150 is no wimpy truck. It can still tow more than 12,000 pounds and carry more than a ton of cargo. But it'll also get you 20% better fuel economy at an EPA-rated 24 mpg, meaning you can go 700 miles between fill-ups.

How it works: Some hybrids are marketed as high-performance models, but not the F-150 hybrid. It's all about better efficiency.

  • Ford paired its twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 with a 47-horsepower electric motor and a 1.5 kWh lithium-ion battery.
  • The electric motor doesn't provide acceleration on its own, but is designed to let you cruise for short periods on electricity alone.
  • The combined output — 430 horsepower and 570 pound-feet of torque — is better than Ford's popular 3.5-liter EcoBoost powertrain.
  • In the $68,095 Lariat trim I drove, the hybrid was a $3,300 option.

1 fun thing: The hybrid also comes with an onboard generator in the truck bed that puts out 7.2 kilowatts of electricity, enough to run all your power tools at a worksite. It even works on the go to recharge batteries between jobs.

  • Inside, the shifter folds flat into the console, making room for a fold-out worktable that transforms your truck into a mobile office.
  • The F-150's standard 8.0-inch center touchscreen can be upgraded to a giant 12.0-inch unit that's easy to operate.
  • Ford's Sync 4 infotainment software comes with WiFi and over-the-air updates.

What's next: Aside from Ford's current CoPilot 360 assisted-driving technology package, the F-150 hybrid I drove came with a $995 "Active Drive Assist prep package" to enable hands-free highway driving.

  • The software, still in development, will be added via an over-the-air update next summer for an additional fee.

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Go deeper

Clean trucks are paving the road to the electric vehicle era

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The electric vehicle revolution is underway, led by the un-sexiest of plug-in models: the commercial truck.

Why it matters: Growing demand for cleaner trucks means 2021 will be a pivotal year for electric vehicles — just not the kind you might have expected.

Obama says Powell exemplified what America "can and should be"

Then-President Obama speaks alongside former Secretary of State Colin Powell (left) during a meeting in the Oval Office in 2010. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Obama called Colin Powell an "exemplary soldier and an exemplary patriot" in a statement honoring the former general following his death from COVID complications on Monday.

Why it matters: Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state, was known as a Republican but played a critical role in helping Obama get elected in 2008.

Justice Department asks Supreme Court to block Texas abortion ban

Abortion rights activists rally at the Texas State Capitol on Sept. 11 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

The Justice Department on Monday asked the Supreme Court to temporarily block Texas' near-total ban on abortions while federal courts consider its constitutionality.

The big picture: The court last month allowed the ban to take effect, rejecting an emergency application by abortion-rights groups. The law bars the procedure after cardiac activity is detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy.