Dodge Ram Hybrid

Update: The Dodge Ram Hybrid has been on-again, off-again for several years. As of mid-March 2010, it’s off—apparently down and out for the count.

Sometime in 2010, Dodge will probably unveil the full hybrid version of its big, bold Ram Pickup. Right now, all we know for sure is that it’ll be called the Dodge Ram 1500 Hybrid.

In February 2009, Chrysler’s Roger Benvenuti, manager of communications for Jeep and Dodge Truck, said only, “I can confirm that we will be introducing the Ram 1500 Hybrid in 2010, but we’re not discussing any of the details at this time.”

Unfortunately, that schedule puts Chrysler a good two years behind General Motors, whose Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid and GMC Sierra Hybrid pickups began arriving at dealers in February and March 2009.

Timing Is Everything

In January 2008, Chrysler announced it would add a hybrid model to its pickup line. According to that announcement, the upcoming Ram Hybrid will feature the company’s 5.7-liter Hemi V8, with a Multi-Displacement System that shuts off the fuel supply to four of its eight cylinders when only partial power is needed. Redesigned for 2009, the standard Ram pickup is offered with a wide array of engines, cabs, lengths, and strengths. It’s actually Chrysler’s highest-volume vehicle, selling 246,000 trucks in 2008—just handful more than the company’s iconic minivans.

Developing a combined 375 horsepower between the engine and the electric motors, the same hybrid system gave the Dodge Durango Hybrid and Chrysler Aspen Hybrid SUVs—which weighed 5,500 pounds—a towing capacity of 6,000 pounds with EPA mileage ratings of 19/20 miles per gallon (city/highway).

Unfortunately, the company’s continuing sales slump and the global economic crisis combined to kill off Chrysler’s hybrid SUVS right at the time they were first shipped to dealers, with fewer than 1,000 built in total.

It’s the Economy, Stupid

With global vehicle markets down 30 to 40 percent and Chrysler begging for low-interest loan guarantees from the US government, the company was forced to submit a reorganization plan to President Barack Obama’s task force on the auto industry in February 2009.

That plan has been viewed with some skepticism by industry analysts, among them Craig Cather, president and CEO of CSM Worldwide. He told a February meeting of the International Motoring Press Association that he felt the company’s plan made overly optimistic assumptions, and that he believed the company would cease to exist in its current form within a year. So the fate of the Dodge Ram Hybrid depends on macro-economic circumstances outside the company’s control.

Demand for full-size SUVs has all but collapsed, so high-volume full-size pickup trucks are the next frontier for large hybrid vehicles. Between Ford, Chevrolet/GMC, and Dodge, body-on-frame pickups sell 1.5 million units a year, and they’ll soon be subject to steeply higher mileage requirements.

A Hard-Working Hybrid

Unless and until most full-size pickups come with a hybrid system as standard—don’t hold your breath—GM and Chrysler may find it challenging to make the payback obvious enough that it will attract buyers among fleets and commercial owners. They buy the bulk of pickups, to use them as working trucks, and they ruthlessly run the numbers on fleet costs. Much less likely to spend anything on making a green statement, they’ll put out the money if they get it back in gasoline saved.

A year ago, we summarized the defunct Durango Hybrid this way: “This is a powerful, capable, and practical vehicle, especially for work utility—and the gas mileage doesn’t totally suck.” The same will apply to the Ram Hybrid …if Chrysler makes it to 2011, that is.


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  • Dick Goesinya

    This is a worthless cause, nothing but smoke and mirrors to get more money from the taxpayers, plus they won’t sell many. Chrysler will be out of business by the end of the year anyway.

  • Dom

    Dodge was supposed to be coming out with a 1/2 ton with a smaller Cummins diesel… I would be WAY more interested in that truck than the hybrid version. But it would be EXTREMELY interesting to have BOTH models available at the same time.

  • Samie

    I have to say I can somewhat agree with Dick on this! Why the news about plug-in Saturn cars or with Dodge Hybrid Ram in the last two weeks? Does this have anything to do with the current Obama car commission that is suppose to make its recommendations in the next few weeks? In a tough economy it is hard to think about losing many more jobs but I’m not a fan of Chrysler and their parent company, who is taking a no investment policy approach but expects the taxpayers to keep Chrysler afloat (before a possible merger?) that should raise a red flag to anyone wither you are a democrat, moderate, or republican

    I also agree that a smaller diesel should be dropped into the standard V6 truck. I could be way off base here but something tells me car companies want to keep diesel engines for only higher-end more expensive trucks.

  • Anonymous

    19/20 mpg…oooooooooooooooooooo!
    What year is this??

  • Jerry Brown

    I would like to see a diesel Dakota 6 speed.
    I think a 2 speed multiplier or over drive could accomplish the mileage needed. Gearing needs to be looked at as well as shutting down cylinders when there is no load. It would be interesting to see 4 wheel electric motors with the engine used as a generator and batteries to store energy and energy recovery braking.

  • Robert Kronmuller, Jr.

    I would love to see Dodge pull this off. Of course, a hydrogen hybrid would be much better, but the world isn’t quite there yet.

  • Dr@cu

    well i want the hybrid ram to come out and sens you guys dont like it let me be the only one with it
    but the hope the mpg is better then 19/20

  • cad974

    i love it…
    a ram 150 with an hemi 5.7 + electric engine… the way of perfection.
    if they build an hybrid version with a small diesel engine cummins… wooow
    but the top of the top still the srt10 !!!

  • GC

    I would love to see Dodge come out with a Hybrid version of the Ram 1500. I have the need for a truck but would like to have a hybrid vehicle. Right now my only choice for a hybrid truck is GMC/Chevy. I know I would most definately buy the hybrid Ram 1500.

  • Dodge dealers PA

    It would be very interesting to see a hybrid Dodge. I’m looking forward to it.

  • Dodge dealers PA

    It would be very interesting to see a hybrid Dodge. I’m looking forward to it.

  • dorran

    Is that a beautiful car or what? Look at the size of it, it looks like from another world. I’ll have to confess that Dodge would be one of the last cars that were supposed to turn hybrid in my vision. I can only be glad that it happened sooner than I thought. I have a morbid curiosity on the price of this car plus more technical information, I should check on FL Dodge, maybe they have some nice selling offers too.

  • romeo

    I am glad that they thought of this. The Dodge Ram 1500 is one of the many popular vehicles of GM. It is time that they design a Dodge Ram hybrid. there have been a lot of noise about tougher rules for emissions and fuel economy in the US. I just hope that they will have addressed issues related to the 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 Shock Absorber and Strut Assembly then.

  • Sharon Santos

    This was a really great car. Just wondering, how long do I have to work as Miami car accident attorney to be able to buy this kind of vehicle?

  • tapra1

    its current form within a year. So the fate of the Dodge Ram Hybrid depends on macro-economic circumstances outside the company’s control.Fast Newsletter

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