Ram trucks and diesel engines have been closely connected since Dodge put the first Cummins diesel in a Ram truck in 1989. But Ram just killed its only remaining in-house diesel engine: the turbocharged EcoDiesel V6. Here’s why this efficient, powerful engine has no place in Ram’s future–and how diesel might fit in.
Ram just killed its EcoDiesel
The EcoDiesel is a family of 3.0-liter turbocharged V6s Ram offers in its half-ton 1500 pickups. It isn’t to be confused with the I4 EcoDiesels once available in Ram’s ProMaster vans.
Ram debuted the first generation of its EcoDiesel V6 for 2014. Stellantis points out that this first generation set records as the highest torque V6 with the highest highway mpg (28). The 2020 redesign bumped the EcoDiesel’s torque up to 480 lb-ft and the maximum towing capacity to 12,560 pounds. In a 2WD, this engine even gets 32 mpg on the highway.
Then, in September 2022, Stellantis announced that it was killing the Ram EcoDiesel engine. Why would Ram end a good thing? The automaker believes it has a better thing on the horizon, but we may not have seen the last of diesel engines in half-ton Rams.
Ram is going electric
Ram has pledged a fully electric half-ton truck by 2024. We have less details about this new Ram 1500 EV than the upcoming Silverado EV or the Ford F-150 Lightning already in production. But Ram promises that the new truck will revolutionize its market segment when it arrives.
The technologies Stellantis claims the electric Ram will showcase include solid-state batteries affording 500 miles of range and a “paradigm-breaking” range extender.
The pledge to lead the electric truck segment is a slightly political move on the part of Ram. The stand-alone truck brand is one of 14 brands in the conglomerate created by the merger of FCA and Peugeot. The new company, named Stellantis, has promised to give every brand a decade to prove it can stay competitive in the 21st century. But afterward, some logos may be going extinct.
Will Ram ever have a diesel-powered range extender?
Ram is going to continue offering its current EcoDiesel V6 in its half-ton 1500 through 2022. But by January 2023, it will cancel this engine. Shortly after, Ram buyers seeking an efficient half-ton will be able to order the upcoming Ram EV.
EV pickup truck battery technology still struggles with heavy-duty towing. Therefore, it is likely that Ram and other brands will continue offering internal combustion heavy-duty trucks; don’t expect the Cummins-powered Ram 2500 and 3500 to disappear anytime soon.
An electrified Ram may have another use for diesel engines. Ram’s upcoming range extender will likely be an internal combustion generator mounted in a battery-powered fully electric Ram truck. This is a technology BMW and other manufacturers are experimenting with. While range-extended EVs are currently more expensive than traditional internal combustion vehicles, some offer three times as many miles per gallon.
Current diesel locomotive technology actually harnesses a huge diesel generator and electric motors. A range-extended EV would essentially be a miniaturization of this technology–with the addition of batteries. Could Ram’s new range extender technology be diesel-powered? If so, the Ram EV could be the most efficient diesel-powered pickup truck in automotive history.
Next, read what we know about the new Ram 1500 EV or watch the Ram EcoDiesel put to the test in the video below: