One of the biggest downsides of driving a pickup truck is its low fuel mileage. If you’re considering a Ram, you may be wondering if the Ram 1500 has a hybrid engine. The answer: it’s complicated. What the Ram 1500 truck offers is classified as a “mild hybrid” system. Here’s how it works.
Does the 2022 Ram 1500 have a hybrid engine?
You can buy a 2022 Ram 1500 with the eTorque mild hybrid system. Ram consolsidated this truck’s starter and alternator into a single unit. eTorque can get the truck going and slow it down too. This option saves one or two mpgs, but is much less aggressive (and much less complex) than full hybrid systems like in the Toyota Prius.
Ram attaches the eTorque starter/generator unit to both the internal combustion engine with a heavy-duty serpentine belt. The eTorque system also includes a suitcase-sized battery mounted behind the truck’s rear seat.
Every 2022 Ram 1500 with the entry-level gasoline V6 features the eTorque system. Buyers interested in the 5.7-liter V8 can option this HEMI with or without eTorque. The Ram’s third engine option, the EcoBoost diesel, is not compatible with eTorque. Ram’s fleet truck, the Ram 1500 Classic is also not available with eTorque.
The eTorque electric motor actually makes 90 lb-ft of torque. This is plenty of power to launch the Ram 1500 from a standstill while the gas engine starts up. It even helps the smooth out the eight-speed automatic’s shifts. What the eTorque does not do is increase the Ram’s overall torque. But the eTorque engine does increase the truck’s fuel efficiency.
In 2018, the Ram 1500 with a 5.7L HEMI V8 only offered 15 city/22 highway mpg (17 combined). The 2019 truck with the eTorque-equipped 5.7L HEMI earned a rating of 17 city/23 highway (19 combined).
Does anyone build a full-size hybrid truck?
In 2022, most full-size pickup truck manufacturers offer some form of hybrid. Both Ford’s PowerBoost and Toyota’s i-FORCE MAX are full hybrid drivetrains. This means they feature a powerful electric motor sandwiched between the gasoline engine and automatic transmission.
One benefit of the full hybrid system is a larger, more powerful electric motor than in a mild hybrid. When the electric motor connects directly to the transmission, it can add a lot more torque to the drivetrain than if it is on a serpentine belt. The Toyota Tundra actually accelerates all the way up to 18 mph before it needs to use internal combustion. This electric motor can also help out the Toyota at higher speeds when in Tow/Haul mode.
Another benefit of these full hybrid systems is that the electric motor/generator can offer more aggressive regenerative braking. Again, the Ram unit is only connected to the drivetrain by a serpentine belt at the front of the engine. When you touch the brakes, it does its best to slow the drivetrain and charge its batteries, but it can only exert so much force before slipping. A full hybrid system will do more work for the traditional hydraulic brakes and thus can charge a larger battery.
Are Ram trucks inefficient?
To the contrary, the Ram 1500’s EcoBoost diesel engine is actually more efficient than many full-size hybrid trucks. The EPA actually gives the EcoBoost a 23 city/33 highway mpg (26 combined) rating, in the 2WD Ram 1500.
The Ford F-150 PowerBoost hybrid actually offers a consistent 25 city/25 highway mpg (25 combined). According to Car and Driver, the EPA is predicting the new Toyota Tundra Hybrid 2WD will only get 22 mpg.
If you want to learn more about the Ram 1500’s eTorque system, check out the video below: