The Ramcharger takes the belt-and-suspenders approach to electric pickup trucks
There are two types of pickup truck drivers – wannabe cowboys who take pride in looking tough behind the wheel and those who make a living by hauling and towing stuff. Ram is conflicted about how to jump into the electric vehicle revolution with its pickup trucks, so it decided to hedge its bets with the all-new Ramcharger.
Last spring, Ram responded to the Ford F-150 Lightning and Chevy Silverado EV by saying that there would also be a battery-powered pickup truck available soon — assuming 2025 fits your definition of soon. Called the Ram 1500 REVolution, it promises a 229-kWh battery and 500 miles of range. But let’s be honest. Carrying a ton of stuff in the load bed or towing a travel trailer knocks the hell out of any claim.
It’s the same for traditional pickup trucks. I have a colleague who drives a Ford F-150 with an EcoBoost V-6. It claims to get 22 mpg on the highway. But when he hooks up his 32-inch travel trailer twice a year, he’s lucky to get 8 mpg with a tailwind. So let’s not pretend that those pickup trucks you see hauling and towing stuff get great gas mileage. They’re not, and if the owners tell you they are, they’re lying.
However, this 500-mile range assumes ideal conditions – moderate temperatures, flat terrain, a top speed of 55 mph, a full battery, and a willingness to drain the battery to zero before recharging. In the real world, when driving at 75 on supersurfaces and leaving 20% of the shock to the unexpected, most drivers would be lucky to get 300 miles before recharging. Now, 300 miles is nothing to sneeze at when you’re driving a vehicle with the aerodynamic efficiency of a garage door, but hitch a trailer to it and watch the range meter droop toward the 150-mile mark — or less, depending on the terrain and terrain. Temperature.
This is the reality and is why many potential pickup truck buyers are wary about purchasing a battery electric model. For those people, Ram has come up with a great solution – the Ramcharger 1500. It’s built on exactly the same chassis as the REVolution 1500 except that instead of 500 miles from a 229 kWh battery, it has an expected range of 145 miles from either. 98 kWh battery (Autoblog) or 71 kWh battery (Car and Driver).
But here is the big news about Ramcharger. It will come with the tried-and-true Pentastar 3.6-liter V6, a version of which is part of the Pacifica’s plug-in hybrid package. This motor is not connected to the wheels. Its sole function is to power a 130-kilowatt generator that feeds electrons to the battery while driving. That’s why Ram says the Ramcharger has an expected range of 690 miles, or as Ram CEO Tim Kuniskis says: “Range anxiety is gone.”
The Ramcharger uses a 400-volt electrical architecture and can charge at up to 145 kilowatts, which Ram says can add 50 miles of range in 10 minutes. At home, most people use a Level 2 (240V) truck charger with an output of up to 11 kilowatts. It also has a two-way capacity mobile charging station that provides a maximum of 7.2 kW of exportable power. The Ram’s on-board alternator is accessible through the charging port or power plate in the cargo box, and is similar to those found in the Ford F-150 Hybrid and F-150 Lightning pickups.
Tremendous power and towing capacity
Ramcharger is not weak. Ram says its new electric pickup truck will produce 663 horsepower and 615 pound-feet of torque. That should be good enough to propel it to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds — which is just 0.2 seconds slower than the Dodge Challenger Scat Pack. Power comes from dual motors. The front unit produces 250 kW (335 hp) and the rear 238 kW (320 hp).
But hey, truck fans. He’s getting better. The Ramcharger has a maximum tow rating of 14,000 pounds. The current Ram 1500 is “limited” at 12,750 pounds. Maximum payload is 2,625 pounds. Put it all together and you have a serious pickup truck for serious pickup truck drivers, a truck that can outwork, tow, and tow better than almost any other light-duty pickup truck on the market. It so happens that there are “no excuses” for the all-electric powertrain.
The Ramcharger is a true PHEV
In fact, the Ramcharger is a grown-up version of the Chevy Volt—a full hybrid with just enough battery range to make driving on electrons rather than molecules possible—assuming people bother to plug it in regularly.
here in Clean Technica World Headquarters, we tend to view pickup trucks with jaundiced eyes. We’re not just little people, but Ramcharger makes us excited. Yes we know. It’s stupid, wasteful and inefficient to have a battery and a motor. But if that’s what it takes to get some pickup trucks off the road, we say, “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.”
Especially when the divide develops between drivers in red states and drivers in blue states when it comes to the electric vehicle revolution. What an opportunity for those who are skeptical of electric vehicles to experience for themselves the blazing power and torque of an electric vehicle, the joy of regenerative braking (especially when towing a trailer), the joy of lower fuel costs, and the satisfaction of customers. Reducing maintenance expenses.
Put some electric vehicle skeptics in a Ram Charger and let them spread the word to other pickup truck owners that they can have it all—big power without any worries about range. Call us crazy, but we think the Ram Charger will be a transformative vehicle, one that finally silences all the critics who say the words “electric” and “pickup” should never be used in the same sentence. In fact, we think this plug-in hybrid from Ram might be more interesting than the Tesla Cybertruck.
Why? We know a lot of people won’t agree, but the Ramcharger (just like the Silverado and F-150) has been carefully optimized to meet the needs and desires of pickup truck buyers. Tens of thousands of hours have been invested in market research.
Cybertruck breaks all the rules. Some will be attracted by these differences but most truck buyers prefer a familiar vehicle. If you didn’t know the Ramcharger is a PHEV, there’s nothing about its appearance that reveals the secret of what lies beneath that rugged exterior. In fact, it looks almost identical to the regular Ram 1500. Just a few unique exterior touches make it special.
If we worked at Ford or GM, we’d be very concerned about the Ram’s supercharger. GM in particular should be embarrassed that it failed to capitalize on the Voltec PHEV package that made the Volt such a good car. This is the case with General Motors, which repeatedly comes up with engineering marvels that disappear by top managers who are too shy to boldly go where no car company has gone before.
We expect the Ramcharger to top the table and leave the competition – including the Cybertruck – in the dust. Will that happen? “We’ll see,” said the Zen Master.
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