Spied! Prototype Plug-In Electric Hybrid Ram 1500

Photos: Jeremy Kupfer for Brenda Priddy & Company

Even though Chrysler pulled the plug on the Two-Mode hybrid version of the Ram 1500 half-ton pickup earlier this year, it's full speed ahead for a plug-in electric version, as seen in pictures just caught by our spies and confirmed as PEV Ram prototypes by Chrysler sources.

Close-up of the plug-in port used to recharge the batteries off the electric grid. The system is similar to the Chevy Volt's powertrain.

Chrysler is using a modified version of the Two-Mode hybrid transmission (manufactured by GM) to develop a test group of extended-range 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 12-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery — are capable of up to 20 miles of zero-emission, all-electric range without gasoline. Overall fuel economy is expected to improve by more than 65 percent for average drive cycles.



14 + 65% = 23 mpg.

I agree with Mad Mopar Man. The numbers dont lie. Has anyone considered a hybrid electric similar to the operation of diesel locamotives. The engine runs a generator. The generator powers electric traction motors on the axles. Just thinking a 4cyl spinning a generator pushing power out to electric motors may be a better push. Oh yeah, my 09 nissan frontier crew cab seats 5 comfortably, has a v6 6 speed, and averages between 21 an 24 mpg in combined city/hwy driving. Not sure why I would by a full size truck unless I needed the capability of a 3/4 ton or 1 ton truck.

I think a hybrid pickup is a waste of money. Just give us a light duty diesel already.

These trucks should be powered by the new 3.6L Pentastar V6, not the Hemi. Since the 2-mode transmission is the limiting factor for towing, limiting it to well within the capabilities of the new V6, they should've used the V6 to maximize fuel economy seeing as it gets 23 mpg highway in the new Grand Cherokee.

Yaaawwwwnnnnn!! Just another "MOPAR" thats going to the repair shop for weeks.

Chevy man my wifes dad has a 2009 gmc serria hybrid and it has 24000 km and the transmission went on it so lol thats what kind of crap gm makes . I am thinking my company Ford will come out with a truck like this is what the future holds for us truck fans!

"20 miles of zero-emission, all-electric range without gasoline"

Yeah sure, but how much coal will have to be burned?

How much strip mining has to be done to get the required amount of rare earth metals for the electric motor and batteries?

What a waste.. I agree with 56diamondT!!!

Any company thinking of a hybrid truck should go straight to the locomotive style system. Enough with the electric motors helping the gas engine. It works for a car, but trucks are for hauling and towing and these systems are not worth the expense and hurt capabilities.

Chevy Man, quit acting so jelous. I know you want a Ram. Under educated fool . Give it a rest and go play in the sandbox .

Id take one. For my 14 mile trip to work and back each day(28 total), this would be perfect.

Plus it has a bed so I can haul my yard waste to the dump, not to mention being 6'4 250 the full size cab is a plus too.

If they can keep it under $35,000 they might have a future buyer.

I want a new 2011 Duramax. Welfare check on the way, smokes and beer first though.

What you need is Oshkosh's ProPulse hybdrid electric drive for severe duty trucks.

20-40% fuel savings on heavy tactical trucks and can export 100 kilowatts of power to power up a city block, hospital or an airport.

What you guys speak of is child's play...

Hybrid batteries do not work well in cold weather. It takes 15 - 20 miles for them to get warm enough to run at full efficiency. So much for the 20 mile battery only run to work in freezing weather.

@bob & Jordan L. - ALTe has a small 4 banger that kicks in to charge the batteries. The rig is as close as it currently gets to a "locomotive" style powerplant.

The biggest problem with "plug-in vehicles" is our electrical grid is having a hard time keeping up with all the electrical gismo's we use.
How will the grid handle a bunch of hybrid/plugins or battery only rigs?
The other problem is how big an electricity bill will we have once demand increases?
I know my bill doubles in the winter when I plug in our vehicle's block heaters.

@ Lou I had forgoten about that story. If some company can build a working vehicle why can't one of the big carmakers?
Anyways, about the plug in part. Most people would plug in at night so the strain on the grid wouldn't be too bad, at least not for a while. I read an article in Car and Driver (sorry Mike Levine) about Chinas situation. The number of cars over there is growing enormously. Fuel production can't keep up so the gov mandated electric cars be built to get the dependency on oil lower. They have nearly 30 nuclear reactors in the planning process or already being built to meet the demand. I'm not a fan of communism but they sure can deal with problems efficiently (maybe they will use the nuclear waste in childerns toys instead of lead, seeing as how the lead will be needed for radiation sheilding. just joking (not really)).

CAFE vehicle. Nothing more.

for sure, nobody ever thinks of where the electricity comes from. sure the truck uses electricity, but that electricity came from burning coal at a power plant. one of the 30 new coal plants built in the US in the last year and a half. it's all such a huge scam. these projects are just funded by lithium mining companies.

Well in most of Canadas case its hydro from dams and when gas hit 1.50 Liter thats what it did in 2008 !I went to a wedding in Manitoba driveing from alberta to that wedding cost me 800 gas bill for the week!!! i drive a 2008 harley f150 i work in the oil sands i can pay big bills like that but alot of ppl will not be able to do that and buy something smaller like a cuv or car ! If makers of trucks want to keep there sales up when gas spikes they will have to try something new!! Thats all i am saying congrats to Ford for comeing out with the new batch of engines in there trucks cant wait to test drive them!!

Allpar is quoting 32 mpg in assist mode, which isn't too bad. The system the Ram is using is similiar to the one iniatially used in the Durango/Aspen - see Allpar again.



@ lou just guessing but I think its not just your block heater that doubles up your electric bill in the winter. I do agree with everything else you say though, all we do with electric instead of combustion engines is change the natural resource we use.

@Mike - you have to look at the cost of the hybrid system over a base vehicle. If the price of this system is comparable to GM's system - payback on the extra cost is 10 years at least. The return on your investment comes at a time you'll have to spend 5,000 or more on new batteries.

@bobsled80 - true but the block heaters do consume a large amount of electricity. The companies that advertise these "plugins" and the "greens" that suport them are not very forthright with the overall cost per mile/km for these systems.
The 'greens' seem to think that the public will flock to these hydrocarbon alternatives regardless of cost.

I'd bet you would get better MPG with Turbo DI.

ALTe , PML Flightlink, Razor, Quantum, and those are just off the top of my head. The locomotive moniker isn't quite right, because they do not have a battery buffer. But for our purposes it will work. What oem's don't get is that it will be much cheaper to manufacture. BECAUSE: You really don't need to use the expensive Lithium battery technology. If you are running a generator that powers electric motors ( preferably in-wheel) then you don't have to worry about discharging the battey too much, as that is what battery management systems are for. If you run lead/acid but do not discharge below 50% capacity, a heavy plate lead acid battery ( think fork lift ) will last a VERY long time. A diesel gen-set will run for DAYS without refueling. So how long would your vehicle gen-set run without refueling? Depends upon fuel. Plus the diesel gen-set will last for about 5000 hours before it needs to be rebuilt.. Lets see 5000 hours X AVE 50 mph = 250,000 miles.

Oh wait,,,,,,,maybe OEM's do get it. They just don't want it.

Well as i said before my wifes dad has a 2009 serria hybrid he does tow a boat with it and hauls stuff i drove it before its different i would not buy it but he likes it all i am saying when gas prices go crazy which they will some trucks buyers will be going to other options !! Like a hybrid pickup truck! Truck makers are going to bring other stuff to market its the sign of the times. Think about what Ford is doing with a twin turbo v6 they are takeing alot of heat about it on this website i am excited to test drive it but i will be going with the 6.2 L Harley Edtion if we want our trucks get ready to pony up the money it will be all about MPG soon!!

Tell you what --- the plugins have to take electricity from the grid. and what powers our grid today? most of the grid in US is powered by coal and supposedly Obama is taking us the renewable way, the green way.....
we dont have the infrastructure for the plugins and dont expect it to be put in place before 2015-15 in the country.
also- do we know that rare earths are one of the most important elements to produce Plug ins and most of the stuff is mined and explored China who already is ensuring that it does not export rare earths to western nations.....
there are lot of challenges for these plug in -- ofcourse we need them, the question is how can these be sustainable....

Wow... 20 miles now. I guarantee we will be laughing at this in the future. A lot of you don't realize, that it is indeed a BIG thing right now.

@Bob - "The engine runs a generator. The generator powers electric traction motors on the axles"

The Chevy Volt works off of that principle. The engine is strictly the generator for the battery recharge. The electric motor has absolutely nothing to do with the engine. Pretty nifty!

But how much will it tow?

I'd rather the 4.5 Duramax Diesel I keep hearing about in a 1500, but if I can get a hybrid that gets 23mpg and tows 7-8000 in a 1500, that would serve my needs too.

Umm my 2010 dodge 5.7L gets like 24mpg and is not even fully broken it

Hybrid cars are good but it dose give problem in rainy as well as in winters also

I think that all the automakers that they are going to start making hybrid trucks is DUMB!!! The only hybrids vechile their should be is hybrid cars. Because how can a hybrib truck haul or pull the same or more than a disel or gas motor. I dont think it can or wil. To all hybrid cars etc. if you ever want to drive on a 4 or 5 hour trip the electric motor won't get there with out stoping and charging.

i am so glad this internet thing works and your article really helped me.

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