Chrysler has canceled plans to sell a gas-electric hybrid version of the Ram 1500, according to a press release issued this morning by the company.
"The decision to cancel the [Ram] Hybrid was made in the last few days," Chrysler spokesman Rick Deneau said in a phone call with PickupTrucks.com.
General Motors was set to supply Chrysler with the advanced Two Mode transmissions that would be used in the Ram. The Two Mode hybrid powertrain was co-developed with GM, Mercedes-Benz and BMW. It’s the same setup found in the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra Two-Mode gas-electric hybrid pickups.
Hybrid Ram production was scheduled to start later this year, but there were challenges down the road for continued manufacturing. GM announced earlier this year that its next-generation hybrid powertrain, expected in 2013, would be used solely by GM, leaving Chrysler to find or develop an alternative system.
Earlier this month at the NTEA Work Truck Show in St. Louis, Joe Veltri, Chrysler's vice president of product planning, told PickupTrucks.com that Chrysler wasn't sure the Ram Hybrid could be successful in the market based on slow sales of GM's Two Mode hybrid pickups.
"We’re concerned. The marketplace acceptance for the Silverado Hybrid has been a complete flop," Veltri said. "How could we not be? They're selling only a 100 a month."
Chrysler will still use the Two Mode hybrid transmission to develop a test group of plug-in hybrid electric Rams as part of a $48 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The vehicles (paired with a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 and 12KwHr lithium ion battery) are capable of up to 20 miles of zero-emission, all-electric range without the need for gasoline. An overall fuel economy improvement of more than 65 percent is expected for average drive cycles.
What might Chrysler offer in place of the Two Mode Ram for civilians? We're hopeful that Chrysler's ongoing discussions with Cummins will lead to diesel-powered Ram 1500.