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Rivian’s 2023 R1T was the first electric pickup truck available. Not only did Rivian beat the Ram 1500 REV electric pickup truck to market, but it took the Ram 1500’s crown as “World’s fastest pickup truck” and claimed the Ram 2500 Power Wagon’s spot as the truck with the most ground clearance. To take either title back, Ram must learn from the Rivian’s advanced air suspension system.

The Ram 1500 was the first full-size truck with factory air suspension

A silver Ram Rebel off-road pickup truck navigates an obstacle in a trail.
2023 Ram 1500 Rebel | Stellantis

Semi-truck drivers have long known that air suspension offers a smoother ride without impacting your towing capacity. This technology is a popular upgrade for all makes and models of pickup trucks. But when Ram first went to rear coil springs, the automaker realized that swapping them for an air spring in the factory would be cheap and easy.

Ram first offered factory air suspension in 2013. Since then, it has become one of the defining features of its top trim trucks. The Ram fans who like the option love it. They say it helps get in and out of the truck, increases its ground clearance, and makes hooking up to your trailer a cinch.

The Ram’s air suspension does have a major shortcoming. Its shock absorbers are tuned to work best at one height. The truck will suffer more body roll if you max out the adjustment.

The Rivian R1T improved on the Ram 1500’s air suspension

A silver Rivian truck navigating an off-road trail.
2022 Rivian R1T | Rivian

Rivian incorporated every technology it could into its electric pickup truck. For example, the launch edition of the R1T was engineered with a separate electric motor for each wheel. This segment-first quad-motor drive allowed for aggressive torque vectoring and the truck’s record-setting acceleration.

The Rivian truck also features adjustable air suspension on all four corners. This allows the driver to change the ride height by 10 inches. But Rivian added its own twist to existing air suspension technology.

Rivian’s suspension includes air springs as well as hydraulic dampers, which work like shock absorbers. But unlike regular shock absorbers, these hydraulic dampers can be tuned to be effective at any height.

Will the next Ram have hydraulic dampers?

The back tires of a Ram 1500 rebel on an off-road trail.
2023 Ram 1500 Rebel | Stellantis

If Ram wants to reclaim either the acceleration or ground clearance records, it may need to consider adding hydraulic dampers to its upgraded air ride suspension. These adjustable shock absorbers would allow it to increase its ground clearance further and reduce body roll in an on-street performance mode.

The next generation Ram 1500 will likely have independent rear suspension, similar to the current Wagoneer. This setup will allow the Ram 1500 REV to have multiple electric motors, like the Rivian. It will also be a first in the full-size pickup truck segment.

Because air ride is a popular premium option in the current Ram 1500, it makes sense that the automaker will offer the same in its future trucks. But with independent suspension and hydraulic dampers, the next-generation Ram could offer even more height adjustment.

An SRT version of the sixth-generation Ram 1500 could have hydraulic dampers that stiffen in on-road performance mode and help it get the 0-60 record back from Rivian. A Power Wagon version of the next-gen Ram could increase its ground clearance to give it more room beneath than a Rivian when in off-road mode.

Find out which truck manufacturer still not offering air ride suspension or learn more about the Ram system’s reliability in the video below:

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