Ram is joining the electric pickup party, announcing that it will be building an EV truck to take on Ford’s F-150 Lighting and Chevrolet’s upcoming Silverado EV. The automaker will be adding a Ram 1500 BEV to its line-up in 2024, as part of a push to bring its pickups and vans in line with the electric aspirations of corporate parent Stellantis.
As Ford, Chevy, and others have found before it, there’s an inherent challenge in balancing electric drivetrains with the fairly conservative approach to vehicles of pickup owners. Still, Ram’s Mike Koval, CEO, says, “there is no reason why electrification should limit the choice of solution we owe to our customers.”
The answer, Koval says, is to start early with the message as to why electric pickups make a whole lot of sense. As we’ve seen Ford and Chevy talk about – along with Tesla, Rivian, and others – the instant torque of an EV drivetrain, plus features like onboard power and a reduced cost of ownership overall, are factors that truck traditionalists may not have considered.
Details on the Ram 1500 BEV are scant, though Ram is talking about support for up to 150 kW DC fast charging, “advanced automation,” and “uncompromised capability.” There’ll be features like dynamic range mapping, smart charging, vehicle preconditioning and other smartphone-controlled features, and “smart storage solutions.”
The concept graphics certainly suggest a more futuristic design than the current Ram 1500, though of course there’s still plenty of time to go before we see what the automaker actually has in mind. It may well be that, by the time the production Ram 1500 BEV is ready, Ram takes a leaf out of Ford’s book and sticks fairly closely to the style of its internal combustion pickup.
That’s not just a strategy to make aesthetics less challenging, but one that helps ease adoption. One of the advantages of the F-150 Lightning, Ford has pointed out, is that it’s compatible with many of the accessories and add-ons already available for the regular F-150. That should help cut the cost involved in transition for new owners.
More broadly, Ram expects to have a fully-electrified option “in the majority” of its segments – which includes pickups, vans, and SUVs – by 2025. A full portfolio of electric models across all those segments, meanwhile, will come no later than 2030, the automaker says.
Helping bridge the gap will be what Ram is calling “REPB,” or “Range Electric Paradigm Breaker.” That, the automaker says somewhat vaguely, will support “all the driving characteristics of BEVs with real world range and flexibility.” It sounds a lot like a plug-in hybrid of some sort, which we’ve seen Ford do to good effect with the F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid.