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Stellantis NV’s Ram truck brand, long a laggard in the auto industry’s transition to electric vehicles, is offering a solution to range anxiety that leans into its gas-powered roots: a battery-powered pickup with an on-board gas generator to boost range and towing capacity.
The Ramcharger — coming to market at the end of 2024 — is an EV for truck fans who worry they’ll run out of juice towing a boat or a trailer, especially on a cold winter day when battery range is degraded. The company insists it isn’t a hybrid, because the three-liter gas engine is used to recharge the lithium-ion battery, but not directly to turn the wheels.
When the generator kicks in, the Ramcharger’s range goes from 145 miles to as much as 690 miles. That’s farther than General Motors Co.’s electric Chevrolet Silverado or Ford Motor Co.’s F-150 Lightning can go, with better towing capacity, too. And it’s nearly double the range of an all-electric Ram Revolution pickup also due out late next year.
The pair of electrified Rams are part of a catch-up play by Stellantis, which was formed from the 2021 merger of Fiat Chrysler and France’s PSA and trailed its global peers in the EV race. Their debut comes just as Ford and GM are dialing back EV investments amid softening demand.
“They’re late, but I don’t think it actually matters that much,” said Sam Abuelsamid, a Guidehouse Insights analyst based in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The Ramcharger “is actually a good solution for a lot of customers. It’s not for everybody, but neither is a battery-electric vehicle.”
Tim Kuniskis, who took over as the CEO of Ram in July and also heads the Dodge muscle-car brand, needs to sell plenty of electric Rams — more than 20% of the mix — to meet tougher emissions standards in the coming years. EV’s only make up about 8% of US vehicle sales today, he said during a presentation last week at the company’s offices in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
“That’s going to hockey stick up fast when everything gets in place and all the vehicles are available and the infrastructure.” The Ramcharger is a gateway vehicle for loyal Ram buyers who are used to gasoline-fueled pickups and unsure about leaping into all-electric trucks.
“We know not every single customer is going to be ready for that,” he said.
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