When Chrysler announced in March of 2010 that they would be producing a small fleet of these hybrid Ram pickups, their intention was to offer around 140 of them with help from the US government’s Department of Energy’s help.
Chrysler Group was hoping to get a hold of roughly $48 million of the $2.4 billion set aside for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act/Department of Energy Vehicle Electrification program and while there has been no indication as to how much of that money came through (after GM has reportedly pulled their request for DOE funds), the debut of this plug-in hybrid Ram is proof that the project is alive and well.
The new Ram 1500 Plug-in electric hybrid uses a 5.7L Hemi V8 making 390hp and 407lb-ft of torque mated to a two-mode hybrid transmission and a 12 kWh lithium ion battery. This setup allows the Ram, hybrid to travel up to 20 miles purely on electric power (zero emissions) and with the help of the hybrid system, this Hemi Ram should yield fuel economy roughly 65% better than the standard Hemi-powered Ram pickups. Click here for the full press release from Chrysler (from last March) courtesy of the hardcore enthusiasts at DodgeForum.com.
Chrysler has been criticized for not always bringing their conceptual hybrids to production but if this new Ram hybrid indeed sees 140 units of production, it would be the second attempt to ‘hybridize’ the Chrysler Hemi. The folks under the Pentastar initially used a hybrid Hemi in the Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango SUVs but the combination of high price and fairly unpopular vehicles killed those hybrid sport utes. Now that hybrid technology has advanced, the Ram PHEV could be a more viable choice but these highly efficient Ram 1500s will only be available to the commercial market. The automaker feels that the Ram PHEV is best suited for company fleets that can afford technology and appreciate the fuel economy/emission free driving but based on the success of these initial units; perhaps there could be a Ram hybrid coming to the consumer market to compete with the likes of the GM hybrid pickups.
Other Chrysler News:
Marchionne: Chrysler 300 Hybrid coming in 2013
The Ram brand display from the 2011 Detroit Auto Show
Chrysler recalls 56,000 2011 Ram 1500 for axle risk
2011 Dodge Charger, Chrysler 300 added to 2011 IIHS Top Safety Pick Award list