Aries will join the growing list of electric large pickup trucks with its own EV pick-up concept this year, previewing a new Ram 1500 EV on sale in 2024. With such a distant date against competitors like the Ford F-150 Lightning and Chevy Silverado EV going on sale earlier, and Ram is still soliciting customer feedback on what they want in their EV truck at the 2022 Chicago Auto Show, we had some questions for Ram Chief Mike Koval.
The good news: development of the electric Ram 1500 does indeed appear to be in full swing. We should see a concept truck by the end of the year, said Mike Koval, head of Ram MotorTrend. We won’t see the production version until 2024, and shortly after it goes on sale. The automaker promises to incorporate customer feedback and believes it can capitalize on a lot of perspective on the successes and failures of the competition as they pave the way for Ram.
Range-Extender Part of Ram Family
Ram is preparing a “portfolio of solutions” that will include not only a full-battery electric Ram in 2024, but a plug-in hybrid with a range extender that will use an internal combustion engine to charge the battery, powering motors that drive the wheels. The Ram range will also continue to develop its eTorque mild hybrids, as well as the conventional combustion engine truck.
Ram EV platform now locked
As for the full-size Ram electric pickup, the company claims the platform is in place. The truck will run on the new STLA frame that will support all major body-on-frame vehicles regardless of powertrain – and teaser shots show batteries integrated into the frame. The global platform is flexible, with room for up to three engines. Koval wouldn’t say if the truck would launch with three engines available; the image appears to show two engines.
Teaser photos also show an opening behind the batteries. Room for cool Ram boxes for storage? “Maybe,” Koval says, adding that smart and sensible storage solutions are part of Ram DNA, possibly suggesting that the Ram will have some party tricks and hopefully useful features.
Ram doesn’t have to be the first electric truck, it just has to be the best, Koval says. It’s a bold strategy; we’ll see if it pays off for him. Koval promises more power, range and convenience than the competition.
To get there, the brand introduced the Ram Revolution program to get feedback from current truck owners. There will be a nationwide Ram Real Talk Tour during the course of this year to collect suggestions, which will likely feed directly into next year’s concept development. Input will also be requested on RamRevolution.com.
Research shows that truck buyers are more open to the idea of electrification, but unwilling to compromise on the core features of a truck’s utility and capabilities, such as towing and hauling, Koval says.
The feedback can be as far-reaching as changing the styling. Teaser photos show the electric Ram has a sleeker, more aerodynamic look than the current truck. Customers can weigh in and influence the concept and final look, says Koval. There isn’t the flexibility to drastically change the silhouette, but it can be tinkered with based on customer response.
Call that Aries!
Another thing for customers to consider: what to call it. Many suspected that the “Revolution” trademarks might be the name for the truck, but that actually turned out to be for the program that Real name. Should Koval start using Ram 1500 EV like GM did with Silverado EV? Or add a new name like the F-150 series did with Lightning branding? “All options are on the table,” the Ram chief says, and the feedback program is now open.
The Ram pickup will be the brand’s second EV; there will be a battery-powered Ram ProMaster electric van in 2023 with Amazon as the first fleet customer.
Eight new rams, maybe one medium pickup?
We’re still waiting for details of the medium-sized Ram truck in the works, one of eight vehicles announced to come in the next four years. Koval says the brand knows that the mid-sized truck segment is popular and growing, and that Ram needs to be a player. We’ve already had a shot at what we think a new Dakota pickup could find in our exclusive view above.
Koval also confirms that STLA Frame is too large a platform for the mid-size pickup, and since it’s the only body-on-frame platform Stellantis has, we’re assuming the final Dakota replacement will be a unibody build. Koval won’t confirm, but we’re counting on more news on this front soon.