It’s official that the very first model with the brand new mild hybrid powertrain will be the 2018 Ram 1500. This way, the battle for every mile per gallon will get an interesting turn. FCA is going to focus on trucks and SUVs in the near future. The price will be paid by the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200, since the production of these two will be ceased. This way, the automaker’s resources will be available for numerous improvements of the next-gen Ram 1500. One of those improvements is a mild hybrid powertrain that might be the most important upside of the new Ram 1500 when it hits the market.
As Detroit News wrote, Sergio Marchionne, FCA CEO, said that the Ram pickup will be the first to get the application of the mild hybrid technology in 2018.
Other Hybrid Trucks
While the Ram’s biggest rival – the Ford F-150 –uses its aluminum body as a comparative advantage, the 2018 Ram 1500, as the most efficient truck, took another path. They’re going to improve the truck’s EPA fuel economy even more. Of course, the guys at Ford don’t find this moment to be the best leisure time, so they’re struggling to deliver a hybrid-powered F-150 as soon as possible.
In this case, ‘as soon as possible’ means that they expect to release the first hybrid F-150 by 2020. As you may know, Ford and Toyota worked together on this project in order to make all the F-series, Tundra and Tacoma hybrid powered. After they ended the collaboration with Ford taking Toyotas ideas, according to Koei Saga, from Toyota powertrain division, the very first hybrid-powered Ford might be released even sooner.
Do I Need a Hybrid Truck at All?
However, all of this may not be worth the effort invested in producing a hybrid pickup truck. The main reason is that the most of the truck buyers are looking for a reliable, confident and efficient vehicle. This doesn’t mean – as some say – that truck lovers don’t live technology advances as well. The truth is that trucks are mostly workhorses and they must be strong and powerful without unnecessary complications. The Chevy Silverado had its unnoted hybrid episode. But, in spite of the general market sentiment (and reasoning behind it), the government’s regulations force the automakers to experiment with truck hybrid powertrains.
2018 Ram 1500 Hybrid Powertrain
So, while the 2018 Ram 1500 hybrid is going to be just a ‘mild hybrid’, this is a step forward. Since they know the next-gen Ram 1500 may not sacrifice its towing and hauling specs, the expectations are that the new light duty truck is going to have even better characteristics with remarkable EPA fuel economy. The fact that this is a mild hybrid – which means that the internal combustion engine won’t be engaged while the truck is braking, coasting, or stopped – proves that the use of a hybrid powertrain is just a way to improve the 1500’s fuel economy, while the conventional engine does all the hard work.
2018 Ram 1500 Hybrid Configuration
As far as we know, the hybrid-powered Ram 1500 is going to use its well-known 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine. This mill is already very efficient. If they make some engineering tweaks, as it was announced, and pair it with a light electric motor sufficient for a couple of miles per gallon, the 2018 Ram 1500 might reach unexpected fuel economy results.
Photos: FCA US LLC