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  • Drew Dowdell
    Drew Dowdell

    Production Version of RAM 1500 REV to get Optional Range Extender

      Addressing a frequent concern of Electric Truck buyers

    One of the frequent comments regarding battery-powered trucks is that their range is significantly diminished when towing.  This is true with petroleum-powered trucks as well, of course, but the prevalence of standard gas stations removes range anxiety for those who fill up with dead dinos. Eventually, as high-speed EV chargers sprout up across the country, as Mercedes-Benz plans to help with by adding 400 charging stations nationwide, those concerns should be addressed. But that doesn’t help buyers who want a battery-powered truck today.

    RAM plans to help ease that range anxiety. Yesterday, RAM unveiled the RAM 1500 Revolution Concept at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show. While the concept is electric only, the production version, tentatively named RAM 1500 REV, would offer an option for a gas-powered range-extender.  RAM CEO Mike Koval Jr. told Autoblog that the option will be available at launch along with the purely battery-powered model.

    RAM sees this solution as a way to make inroads in the burgeoning EV truck market while the charging network is still being developed.

    Technical details of the engine weren’t offered. Still, the most likely scenario is a purely separate generator unit whose only job is to provide electricity to the batteries in a towing or heavy payload situation, or if the battery charge has reached a minimum. Autoblog wonders if a physical connection from the generator to the wheels is possible. Still, this is unlikely due to the electric motor being mounted transversely between the front wheels. While anything truly is possible, we think a 4-cylinder mounted transversely powering the front wheels of a full-size pickup is pretty unlikely.

    If you’re a pickup truck buyer who tows frequently, could the RAM 1500 REV with a range-extender option change your mind about range anxiety? Sound off below.

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    Im not a truck guy.  I have just recently started accepting them and adoring them.  But I adore them as muscle cars. I LOVE the go fast, go anywhere, insane versions of those full sized pick-up trucks.  You know....the Raptor and TRX versions.

    I still wouldnt consider a pick-up truck UNLESS I was buying a Raptor or TRX.  Oh...yes I would most DEFINETELY own a Raptor or TRX.  But a regular ole' pick-up.  Not a chance.  Therefore, ICE 1500 or EV 1500 or the 2500 versions of those regular 'ole pick-ups still dont do a bloody thing for me.  

    I do like the idea of a range extender EV truck using a gasoline engine to help out with the lack of an EV infrastrucutre for someone that needs it.  I question though how popular an EV extender pick-up will actually BE in places like Texas or Alberta.  Something tells me,  you'll have to pry their cold dead hands away from an ICE powered truck before any of 'em will own anything resembling an EV.  These good 'ole boys would rather have a 160CC Honda lawn mower engine powered full sized 2500 mudder than anything with a battery...me assumes. 

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    This is a Great concept and one that I hope both Ford and GM consider offering. In cold weather areas, if you're in the snow plowing business, this makes great sense.

    A well muffled generator to give the extra power needed during a long night of plowing and road clearing while being very quiet on top of the use for hauling over long distances.

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    What do you think would be the smallest engine needed to charge the batteries faster than depleting them in an application like this? Doesn't the Volt have like a 1.2L engine that's only used as a generator? 

    I couldn't imagine really needing anything larger than that, even though the electricity consumption will be much greater than a Volt. 

    I'm thinking about this because, while I still think it's a great idea, that's going to add a lot of complexity and those "potential savings" goes down the drain when adding ICE maintenance to the mix. 

    I know I'm more of an outlier with the little daily miles that I rack up but, I think if I had 70-100k to drop on a daily truck, I'd just go straight EV and get a Silverado with 400 miles or range or Lightning with 330 miles of range. There are zero future towing expeditions that would be more than trips to local lumber yards or picking up dirt/rock. 50 miles of range would suffice with a trailer in both of those instances so I wouldn't care about the massive decreased towing range. 

    The more I think about this, the more I think the "standard" PHEV would be better here. Give it 30-50 miles of electric range then use it as a standard hybrid. 

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    4 hours ago, ccap41 said:

    What do you think would be the smallest engine needed to charge the batteries faster than depleting them in an application like this? Doesn't the Volt have like a 1.2L engine that's only used as a generator? 

    I couldn't imagine really needing anything larger than that, even though the electricity consumption will be much greater than a Volt. 

    I'm thinking about this because, while I still think it's a great idea, that's going to add a lot of complexity and those "potential savings" goes down the drain when adding ICE maintenance to the mix. 

    I know I'm more of an outlier with the little daily miles that I rack up but, I think if I had 70-100k to drop on a daily truck, I'd just go straight EV and get a Silverado with 400 miles or range or Lightning with 330 miles of range. There are zero future towing expeditions that would be more than trips to local lumber yards or picking up dirt/rock. 50 miles of range would suffice with a trailer in both of those instances so I wouldn't care about the massive decreased towing range. 

    The more I think about this, the more I think the "standard" PHEV would be better here. Give it 30-50 miles of electric range then use it as a standard hybrid. 

    So, the reason the Volt was so complicated was because of the electric drive/transmission. It had two electric motors sandwiched into a single unit and connected with two clutchs. During hard acceleration, it used both of them, but in normal circumstances or at cruising, it used the larger motor at a low power draw to keep you moving because horsepower needs on a flat highway at 65mph are minimal... we're talking like 20ish - 30ish horsepower.  With both motors engaged at full power, the Volt could make about 220 horsepower in sport mode. 

    pres-voltec2.jpg

    If you were at a steady cruise and the Volt decided it needed to regenerate the battery, the gas engine (1.5 liter naturally aspirated) would kick on and use the smaller of the two electric motors as a generator to top up the batteries and keep you on your way.

    There was a rare situation where if you had a battery with zero range left AND you were cruising above 80 mph, GM found that it was actually more fuel efficient to just lock both electric motors to the engine shaft and have the gas motor direct drive the wheels.  This caused a big bruhahah when Jalopnick released this tidbit with them accusing GM of lying about the Volt being a hybrid.

    The way GM did this was via a planetary gear sets connected to those electric motors and also to the gas engine.  It was through this they were able to to have so many combinations of power in a single unit. It was both incredibly complex yet elegantly simple.  They did something similar with the CT6-PHEV but they built the transmission as a 6-speed with 2 eCVTs built in as well which makes the CT6-PHEV one of the oddest vehicles to operate.

    So, the reason I don't see them doing it as a hybrid is that it involves way too much complexity. They'd need a transmission, a large enough gas tank, all the exhaust plumbing, etc.... and where are they going to put all of that.

    In an ideal world, I'd see them build a small displacement flat-4 around 1.2L- 1.5L and tie it to a generator only.  They could put it in the back under the bed if they wanted, or up in the traditional spot under the hood.

    My bet, however, is that they use the non-turbo version of the 1.3 liter in the Dodge Hornet. This engine family is very compact, it fits in the Fiat 500, and could provide enough juice to increase range while letting the electric motors do all of the pulling.   And remember, this is just a range extender, not an infinite range cheat-code. It's not meant to replace plugging in, but just to buy the driver time between charge stops when towing.

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    11 minutes ago, regfootball said:

    i'd guess they'd use the turbo 2.0, even if its overkill.  Stella seems to like to spread this 2.0 around a lot now.

    It's possible, but it is a much larger unit and I doubt whatever they put in will have a turbo.  I could see a non-turbo 2.0 going in though.

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    On 1/9/2023 at 3:31 PM, Drew Dowdell said:

    It's possible, but it is a much larger unit and I doubt whatever they put in will have a turbo.  I could see a non-turbo 2.0 going in though.

    i could totally see where even a smaller 3 cylinder would make sense for that.

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    50 minutes ago, regfootball said:

    i could totally see where even a smaller 3 cylinder would make sense for that.

    My guess for the 1.3T from the Hornet is because they already have that unit hooked to an electric motor, but they do make a 1.0-liter 3-cylinder unit with 118 hp for the South American Jeep Renegade.

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