As the auto industry makes the leap to electrification, it seems most automakers are targeting the full-size pickup truck market. Full-size trucks are not only the best-selling vehicle category in the United States, but they are also among the most profitable.
Among Detroit’s Big-3 automakers, Ram is the latest to jump into the mix. While Ford Motor Company (FoMoCo) has already launched and delivered its F-150 Lightning, FoMoCo is already developing the second generation of that truck. General Motors (GM), which has already delivered its GMC Hummer EV Pickup supertruck to customers, is currently completing development of its new Chevrolet Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV pickups.
So to say Aries is playing it safe isn’t a bad observation, but it seems like a smart one. Ram has been keeping a close eye on the competition and continues to receive important feedback through its customer base “Ram Real Talk Tour” events. But that doesn’t mean Aries engineers aren’t hard at work!
For the first time, spy photographers have captured a prototype Ram 1500 BEV (battery electric vehicle) in the open. Sitting on top of the STLA Frame architecture, Ram chose a 2021 Ram 1500 Big Horn Crew Cab body with a six-foot, four-inch bucket for this mule. An evolution of the Ram 1500 DT platform, the updated STLA Frame platform is designed and developed to provide flexibility for internal combustion engines (ICE), hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and BEV variants in different widths and lengths suitable for multiple applications.
During his Presentation EV Day 2021, Stellantis confirmed that STLA Frame vehicles will feature Stellantis’ all-new EDM #3 electric drive module, capable of delivering 330 kW (443 hp). It also stated that the STLA Frame architecture can accommodate up to three of the new EDM modules.
For reference, the FoMoCo uses two EDMs to provide all-wheel drive (4×4) to its Lightning models. GM’s GMC Hummer EV Pickup uses three EDMs for its tri-motor eAWD system, a system that GM claims has more than 1,000 horsepower combined. If Ram decides to use a three-motor setup, that means the Ram 1500 BEV can offer a combined output of up to 990 kW (or about 1,320 horsepower).
These spy shots also show us that the Ram 1500 BEV will adopt a similar independent rear suspension (IRS) design to the Jeep® Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer (WS), another vehicle that uses a modified version of the DT architecture. Judging by the photos, this mule appears to be using a clutch coil rear suspension system. A similar take on the Lightning. However, we expect Ram to offer an optional active-level four-corner air suspension just like its current offerings.
Looking around the truck we see some other very interesting details.
It looks like Ram will be offering two cargo port doors (one on each front fender) judging by the camo. This is another detail that Lightning owners have been disappointed with on their trucks, as their passenger side has a mock cargo door to make the truck appear symmetrical on both sides.
Speaking of the sides, we see that the truck rides on 20-inch Wagoneer Series II wheels wrapped in low-drag rubber. We don’t expect those units to go into production on the Ram 1500 BEV, but knowing Ram engineers, there’s probably something aero for now.
We can also see engineering also doing their best to hide the truck’s battery pack with a rubber strip mounted behind the running boards. Stellantis has promised that the new Ram 1500 BEV will have a range of up to 500 miles. This again easily exceeds competitors’ claims, which have a range of over 300 miles. Stellantis has also said its battery packs will offer fast charging (up to 150kW) and will have an industry-leading 20 miles per minute fast charging capability. Hopefully they can live up to those claims.
At the rear of the truck, we can see that the rear bumper is curved to allow for a much higher hitch. Now we’re not sure if it will go into production that way, but it looks like it could be a setup for the development phase.
Accustomed to seeing a dual exhaust coming out of the Ram 1500 V8 models, the BEV model has nothing but a full-sized spare tire and a trailer hitch that sticks out behind the IRS. If we take a closer look, we also see the orange high-voltage cables hanging slightly under the truck.
We find it very interesting that Ram chose the longer-wheelbase Ram 1500 model to base this mule on. For example, its competitors use completely different setups. FoMoCo only sells the F-150 Lightning in a Crew Cab configuration with a 5-foot, 5-inch box. So far, GM has shown its trio of offerings has a Crew Cab body with an integrated pickup box design with a midgate transit system.
Could this mean that Ram will be the first BEV pickup on the market to offer different bed lengths? After seeing these images it seems likely.
Now, don’t forget that the Ram 1500 BEV won’t be the only electrified pickup the Auburn Hills automaker will bring to market. The BEV is joined by an all-new Range Electric Paradigm Breaker (REPB) version. According to insiders, the REPB will have a smaller-displacement gasoline engine that will act as a generation that charges the batteries but doesn’t power the wheels, eliminating range anxiety.
Ram will unveil a conceptual version of its Ram 1500 BEV next month, dubbed the Ram Revolution. A specific date and time have not yet been confirmed by the car manufacturer.
Visit our sister site 5thGenRams.com to continue to follow the development of the all-new Ram 1500 BEV.
Ram 1500 BEV Prototype Mule Image Gallery: