Rumors began to circulate earlier this year following RAM’s annual dealer show in Las Vegas. Until now, however, officials with the truck marque and its Euro-American parent Stellantis had declined to comment.
They broke their silence following the unveiling of the RAM 1500 REV, which has already sold out its first year of production. That strong demand, backed by the “strong thumbs-up” response from the dealers who attended the Las Vegas event, convinced officials that there is a market for a smaller EV pickup, said Mike Koval, RAM’s CEO.
RAM Midsize EV Truck Is ‘Authorized’
“Now, I’m going back to work,” Koval said with a broad smile.
His comments were echoed by Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares, who also came to the Big Apple for the debut of the RAM 1500 REV.
“They’ve been authorized” to begin work on the project, the Portugese-born executive told GearJunkie, adding that “it’s in the plan” that Stellantis now has for its growing line of battery-electric vehicles.
Decisions to Be Made
But Tavares cautioned that some specifics of the program “have not been decided yet.”
Among the details to be worked out — what underlying platform to use. The full-size RAM 1500 REV is the first model to use the big STLA Frame architecture, which is a bit more like a conventional body-on-frame platform. A scaled-down version is one of the options. The other is the smaller, but somewhat less capable STLA Large architecture.
Kovals is leaning toward the latter, he said, but it will depend on a couple factors, including the uses they expect the electric pickup will be put to. And that will depend on potential overseas sales.
Buyers in markets like Thailand, he explained, want the sort of payload and towing capabilities Americans associate with full-size pickups. But, because of their narrow roads, midsize pickups in most markets outside the U.S. are the hot sellers.
“We’re a global brand now, more than ever,” said Koval. He believes an all-electric midsize pickup might actually have more potential worldwide than the full-size RAM 1500 REV.
RAM Midsize EV Truck Design Work ‘Well Underway’
Either way, “we’re already in (consumer) clinics” with several design concepts for the RAM midsize EV pickup, Stellantis global design director Ralph Gilles said in an exclusive conversation. That end of the development program is “well underway,” he added.
Expect the midsize model to bear a familial resemblance to the new RAM 1500 REV. But, if anything, Gilles’ team would like to push even further, picking up some of the even more aggressive design cues found on the prototype RAM Revolution pickup concept that debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.
The program has become a high priority for RAM and its parent, officials agreed. As a result, it could make it to market faster than some traditional programs. It would certainly follow the RAM 1500 REV, Kovals said. But while he declined to offer a target date, he suggested that it might make it to showrooms soon afterward.
The timing could create some interesting opportunities. Stellantis is just ramping up its electrification program. It now has an assortment of plug-in hybrids in production, including the Jeep Wrangler 4xe and Chrysler Pacific Hybrid. And it is readying several full-electric models, including the 1500 REV and a muscle car based on the Dodge Charger SRT Daytona concept.
In the process, Stellantis is not only expanding the production of lithium-ion batteries but is also working up alternative technologies. That includes the relatively low-cost LFP batteries frequently used in China. That is one option that could be used in the midsize EV pickup, officials said, especially in price-sensitive markets where range is less critical.
Stellantis also hopes to have next-generation solid-state batteries in production as early as 2026, said Tavares, a date that could coincide with the launch of the midsize model. Solid-state technology, if it lives up to expectations, could deliver even better range and performance than today’s lithium-ion batteries, even while coming in at a price below LFP technology.
RAM isn’t the only Stellantis brand looking to get into the electrified midsize pickup market. While the off-road brand doesn’t want to “step on” RAM’s efforts, Jeep global brand boss Christian Meunier said that an “electrified” version of the current Gladiator model will be ready by 2025.
Longer-term, he declined to rule out the possibility of adding a fully electric pickup, as well, something another senior executive confirmed as a possibility.