It looks like Ram has taken a page from Toyota’s playbook on how to spin a hybrid into a “class-shattering battery electric vehicle” that gets “unlimited range”: just make stuff up. Ram, owned by Stellantis, insists that we not call its new Ramcharger 1500 pickup a hybrid when it in fact houses a 27-gallon gas tank between the battery and the rear axle. So yeah, it’s clearly a hybrid.
Since making its commitment to go all-electric by 2035, Stellantis has been slowly trickling out new EV models, building loads of hype, and teasing that a range extender electric pickup – the first of its kind for trucks – has been in the works. Last April, the company unveiled the Ram 1500 Rev with a reported range of up to 500 miles due to a monstrous 229kWh battery.
Now Ram has released details about its Ram 1500 Ramcharger, which revives the old Dodge Ramcharger name but apparently turns it into the “ultimate” electric machine. The press release says it has “unlimited battery-electric range,” but then pares that down to a range of 690 miles. What? All of this just obfuscates what this thing actually is.
The Ramchanger is a plug-in series hybrid, an EV with an onboard range-extending generator. It’s a decent idea, with the REX configuration made popularized by BMW’s i3. The vehicle takes the battery-electric powertrain used for the Ram 1500 Rev and adds a Pentastar V6 as a 130 kW onboard generator (which can produce up to 190 kW when pushed). The Ramcharger has a 92 kilowatt-hour battery pack that can deliver 145 miles of range – and, when paired with the V6 combination, can potentially deliver that 690 miles of range.
Front and electric drive units put out 663 hp and 615 pounds of torque for 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds. As the vehicle reaches 20% state of charge, the V6 generator kicks on to either maintain or charge up the battery.
Ram executives at the launch event were sure to emphasize that since there is no direct mechanical path from the engine to the wheels, that it’s a battery-electric truck, not a hybrid. “There’s no connection between this generator assembly and the wheels, like one might find in even a plug in hybrid — all of the propulsion is electrical,” said Ram Trucks chief engineer Doug Killian, according to Newsweek. “And that’s really important to that story of this being an electric vehicle.”
Story aside, we are talking about trucks here, so this thing is designed to haul an incredible amount of heavy stuff. Like the Rev, the Ramcharger will be able to tow 14,000 pounds with a class 5 hitch and will have a payload capacity of 2,625 lb.
The Ramcharger 1500 will go on sale sometime at the end of next year. No word yet on pricing, but it’ll likely be cheaper than the Rev since it has a considerably smaller battery pack.
For those very few among us who actually need a massive truck to haul a lot of heavy stuff for a very long distance, the Ramcharger has you covered. It has way more capacity and range than pretty much any plug-in hybrid out there. And thanks to the freshly launched publicity blitz, it’s getting loads of hype from the media today – and there is surely a market out there who will find it sensible, an “entryway” into EVs “to bridge the gap” that everyone thinks is needed to get truck drivers to buy electric and stop stressing over range anxiety.
But that’s not the point. While as a work truck, this makes sense, but big, heavy EVs, including this Ram hybrid, aren’t part of the inspired electric future that we are hoping for. For one, smaller EVs can easily do the jobs most people use these big trucks for, like picking up kids or running errands. As for the deceptive Toyota-esque PR tactics (which we’ve covered at Electrek, showing how they promote science illiteracy and were ruled illegal as a result) – at this stage in the game, Stellantis/Ram have no excuse.
Author: Jennifer Mossalgue