Ram – Stellantis‘ US commercial vehicle brand – has launched a new 1500 truck line with conventional ICE power, battery electric and an intriguing new ‘range extender’ powertrain similar to that used in the Chevrolet Volt and BMW i3 REX.
The automaker claims the Ramcharger’s battery electric vehicle technology “delivers the industry’s best combination of range, towing and payload”.
250kW front and 238kW rear electric drive modules (EDMs) are powered by a 130kW generator driven by a petrol V6 engine and a 92kWh battery with a targeted range of up to 690 miles.
The new model is capable of developing 663 horsepower and 615 lb-ft of torque, accelerating from rest to 60mph in 4.4 seconds, towing up to 14,000 lbs and carrying payload of up to 2,625 pounds.
It is built on new STLA frame body on chassis architecture designed specifically for full size electric vehicles which incorporates the battery pack efficiently.
Vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to home bidirectional charging gives the truck flexibility to charge another Stellantis battery electric vehicle or provide power back to the grid.
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The truck can also send power to a home during a storm, run a tailgate party or provide power at a camp or jobsite. A power panel in the bed can provide up to 7.2kW.
The 92kW battery pack is liquid cooled and paired with a 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine.
For ICE models, Ramcharger has dropped long serving Hemi V8s and introduced a new line of ‘Hurricane’ twin turbo, three-litre straight six petrol engines which previously appeared in the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer.
The EDMs combine electric motor, gearbox and inverter plus all wheel drive capability. One EDM on the front axle has automatic wheel end disconnect which allows the front wheels to spin freely in certain conditions, maximising efficiency. The second EDM on the rear axle offers an optional electronic locking rear differential.
Power flows in sequence from the V6 to the 130kW generator. The engine generates mechanical power that is converted to electrical power by the generator. The electrical power can be used to charge the battery when the battery is depleted or if the driver wants to preserve the battery power. It can also be applied to the high-voltage bus where the EDMs can use the generator electrical power plus the battery electrical power to provide maximum power to the wheels. There is no direct mechanical path from the engine to the wheels.
The Pentastar V6 is adapted to power the generator with unique packaging to make room for the front EDM. The generator mounts directly to the engine while a power inverter module mounts on the vehicle and connects to a junction box.
The battery pack uses pouch cells in a parallel configuration and is positioned under the floor in the centre to maintain a flat floor.
And it’s a plug-in, too with the ability to add up to 50 miles of electric range in approximately 10 minutes with 400v DC fast charging at up to 145kW.
Standard is claimed segment exclusive, active level, four corner air suspension with five modes: entry/exit, aero, normal, off-road 1 and off-road 2.
Autonomous Drive Assist System (ADAS) include Hands-free Highway Assist (L2+) offering hands off driving at all speeds and lane centering on approved roadways. The system will predictively slow the vehicle down in tight curves, automatically resume control after driver override and verify that the driver is paying attention to the road. Autonomous parallel and perpendicular parking assist is also available and uses multiple sensors, including radars and cameras, to dictate appropriate roads for the technology.
The charge port is on the driver’s side front quarter panel and, when plugged in, the RAM badge pulsates to indicate the charging status. An audible sound signals the truck is plugged in and charging has begun. The charge port features Level 1 and Level 2 AC charging on the top half and DC fast charging on the bottom half of the charger.
A new power tailgate is available.
A Uconnect 5 ICE system has a new 14.5 inch touchscreen, 12.3 inch digital instrument cluster, a claimed segment first 10.25 inch passenger screen, digital rearview mirror, Head-up Display (HUD) and a Klipsch Reference Premiere audio system.
Other enhanced features include an e-shifter (P/R/N/D functionality with new buttons for eco mode, e-save and electric+), new regen buttons (normal, max regen with one pedal driving), a redesigned starter button that now features an illuminated power symbol, push-button trailer steering knob and an accessory switch bank that, when equipped with the 14.5-inch touchscreen, uses buttons both on the bottom of the touchscreen and directly off screen below.
Performance tuned software pre configures five dynamic modes – Auto, Sport, Tow, Snow and Off-road. The drive modes separately control the drive system, accelerator response, regen level, suspension and steering.