“It’s all in the owner’s manual,” is an answer commonly given by impatient salespeople looking to get rid of their new and somewhat obnoxious customers after they’ve taken delivery of their new vehicle. That hefty and cumbersome book stashed away in the glovebox hardly ever sees daylight and is usually only opened to resolve basic issues that come up during car ownership. And it’s exactly because for that reason that Ford simply won’t print one for the all-new Ford F-150 pickup truck.
You read that right: there will be no manual in your pickup’s glove box. Instead, the manual will be digital and available on the F-150’s gigantic touch screen infotainment system.
Ford says that it will also have a “thin supplemental guide” to go along with the digital copy for those who prefer the old-school method of printed material, but in order to get into the nitty-gritty details, you’ll have to use the digital copy (which you were probably going to do on your phone anyway). A quick check online for the 2020 F-150’s user manual shows a 625-page document, meaning quite a bit of ink and paper will be saved to keep the rarely used reference document digital.
In fact, the move will save around 290 tons of paper annually—roughly the weight of about 122 F-150s.
We know Ford likes weird facts, so we’ve got some more for you. If you were to cram the paper saved from not printing the manuals into the bed of F-150s, you would need 178 trucks at full payload capacity in order to move it all. Would rather put it on a trailer? No problem, but you’ll still need about 71 trucks to pull the load, each one carrying 36 stacks of paper standing 7-feet-tall.
The benefit extends to being more than just saving the trees. The reader also gets to benefit from the ease of use, as the manual is completely searchable. Simply enter a phrase and the on-screen search function can help to locate any references to it within the manual—a real time-saver.
And in case you happen to get stuck along the way, Ford says that it will also have streamable videos available. Let’s see a book do that.
While a money-saving move on Ford’s behalf for sure—it certainly feels right and warranted. Perhaps a shift towards Ford’s cleaner, greener paradigm where it pledges factories powered by renewable resources and a move towards more fuel-efficient cars. Whatever the reason may be, it’s fair to say that moving to all-digital manuals signals a notion that the entire automotive industry is becoming more technologically friendly.
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