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Have you been waiting for Chrysler's long-promised Ram hybrid pickup truck? Bad news: Speaking to PluginCars.com, Ram Trucks CEO Fred Diaz firmly put that notion on ice when he bluntly said, "Truckers don't want to buy hybrids."

We're not sure truck buyers are so much anti-hybrid as they are unwilling to cough up the necessary bucks to bring meaningful hybrid technology to their pickups. Either way, General Motors' full-size hybrid trucks have failed to set the market on fire, and there's little indication Chrysler's would either, unless the automaker were to offer them at an extremely favorable price point. That seems unlikely.

For now, it seems that the only hybrid pickup trucks Ram will offer are the recently announced plug-in models that were developed using federal stimulus funds via a $48 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant and a separate $5 million grant from the Canadian government. A total of 140 PHEV Ram trucks will be offered to fleet customers within the next several months.

The good news for mileage-conscious pickup truck buyers is that Diaz suggested other technologies from Fiat are likely to make their way to the Ram Trucks division at some point. Multiair and light-duty diesels sound like a good starting point...

[Source: PluginCars.com]


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  • 46 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      @220V I wonder if a lack of infrastructure for producing considerable quantities of Ultra Low Sulfur diesel in the US, could be a major reason for some many still born diesel pickup and car projects in the US? I get the impression what is now available is probably the limits of current capability.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Smart move and I honestly think GM needs to ax their Hybrid Silveraldo. I live in Detroit and I have yet to see one of those even in our area (California maybe?). I just think Hybrid technology does not belong in large pickup trucks or ultra-expensive luxury cars. It just seems pointless.
      alwaysright
      • 4 Years Ago
      dont buy one...in a year or so you wont have any airflow in the ventilation system and no defroster
      • 4 Years Ago
      Most truck buyers I know are leery of hybrid trucks. Truck buyers tend to hold onto their vehicles longer than car buyers, therefore many are afraid of maintenance issues that may arise with age or mileage. The batteries and motors are also heavy, which leads to a reduction in payload. Finally, in order to get better highway fuel economy, hybrids typically use taller gear ratios, which can further reduce a trucks ability to tow and haul. With all that in mind, most truck buyers don't want to pay more for a truck with less capability and potentially more maintenance issues. Especially when the trucks they're buying now are already getting better fuel economy than the trucks of 15 years ago, with greater power, comfort, and towing/hauling ability.

      All in all, I think it will be a while before hybrids become accepted in trucks. I'm curious as the whether or not a series hybrid (similar what's in use in locomotives and large mining equipment) might become better accepted. A small engine running wheel mounted motors could make for a truck that gets better fuel economy with massive torque, without the payload reducing weight penalty. It already works well in heavy equipment, so I could definitely see the technology scaled down for lighter duty trucks.

      • 4 Years Ago
      Great Move. Chevrolet Hybrid was 10 grand more (or more 200 bucks on a car payment a month) and offered unimpressive gas mileage over the regular truck. It would have been best to by the diesel instead.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I was beginning to wonder if Sam Elliot could make the word "hybrid" sound manly.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Diesel" sure does.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Diesels would sell better.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well maybe they will feel different with a 3.6L MDS and hydraulic hybrid system once the minivan hydraulic system is offered to the public. No large amounts of batteries would be necessary. http://www.egmcartech.com/2011/01/19/chrysler-epa-announce-partnership-for-hydraulic-hybrid-powertrain-for-minivans/
      • 4 Years Ago
      The sell for a hybrid in the truck market is the full torque available at 0 RPM one. Not the eco-friendly one.

      The eco friendly market is buying up Transit Connects, minivans and Sprinters.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Smart move, Dodge!!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      yay, lets all give Chrysler a pat on the back for not trying! Seriously, what are they doing in terms of innovation in powertrains lately? Okay that's another discussion... but I would say it's way too early to give up on hybrid pickups. Just because the first two attempts by GM didn't pan out doesn't mean the technology is doomed. I can't see any technical reasons that a hybrid truck would perform worse than a smaller hybrid car. The added weight of the hybrid system doesn't account for as much of a %age of the total vehicle weight. And the higher overall mass means that there's more to gain by implementing regen braking, there's that much more energy that would be otherwise thrown away in the brakes when stopping from a given speed. The low end torque from a motor would help for hauling, it would compliment a gas engine well to get more diesel-like characteristics. Plus you can install a high power inverter to run power tools and reduce the need for a generator at a work site.

      I think maybe it comes down to a vehicle design issue. With cars, there are nooks and crannies you can shove the batteries into, the space under the rear seats and in the trunk works well. In a pickup, you don't really have that at all. You'd have to really modify the bed somehow to fit batteries in somewhere. There's plenty of room for it, but it would require an expensive design change.

      Some here would argue that truck buyers "don't care about fuel efficiency". I would say that doesn't apply for anybody who uses their truck exclusively for work, especially in a city. I'm also thinking about all the construction and public works trucks i see, spending a lot of time idling all over the place. These fleet operations could probably stand to save a lot of fuel, and if they can rely on 120V 15A wherever the trucks go, maybe they could save on the hassle of buying, maintaining and transporting generators all over the place.

      If a hybrid can make fiscal sense on a car scale, I don't see why it can't make even more sense at the pickup truck scale.
        • 4 Years Ago
        People who shop for trucks who are looking for fuel economy, often look want diesels. It is my understanding that there is nothing a hybrid can do that a diesel can't, including fuel economy. You factor that in with the cost of production, the design changes you mentioned, and the sticker, and it just does not make sense to most shopping in this segment.

        I have yet to see one of GMs hybrids on the road, despite being told that they actually do exist. Just saying...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yea but for now Chrysler needs every dollar spent to pay off sooner rather than later.
        They can`t piss away money like GM can.
        The cost of a hybrid needs to make sense to the customer too.
        Chrysler is starting to put 8 speed trannys in their vehicles, so with limited resources they are doing a good job on the innovation front.
        The nice new Mercedes you see now are probably financed by Chrysler too.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Way to slight them by saying that "they are unwilling to cough up the necessary bucks to bring meaningful hybrid technology to their pickups."

      I'm sure it's a smart business decision to not waste their money on something that they can't sell. Why not commend them for making a smart business choice instead of chastising them for not wasting their money on something that people don't want?

      Smaller diesels make much more sense for large trucks. They should use their money for that, or even developing a gas turbo V6. I wasn't sure about the torque on gas turbo V6's, but Ford seemed to make it work for the F-150.
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