The Range-Extended Ram Revolution Will Be as Much Locomotive as Truck
Ram’s first electric prototype is here. The Ram 1500 Revolution previews some of the features we can expect in the production Ram EV, due out in 2024. But Ram is also working on a version of its electric truck with a gasoline generator to charge its batteries. The result–the range-extended Ram Revolution–will be a truck with a drivetrain much like a modern locomotive.
The Ram 1500 Revolution is a lot of EV
The Ram 1500 Revolution is the company’s first electric truck prototype, and it’s a lot of truck. Because electric motors are smaller than internal combustion engines, Ram was able to move the new pickup’s firewall forward four inches. The resulting truck has three rows of seating, a full-size bed, and 35-inch tires.
The electric Ram’s performance is as oversized as the truck itself. This truck will have a separate electric motor for each axle, enabling tons of AWD power. If Ram offers a configuration with its two largest electric motors, the truck may make as much as 885 horsepower.
The automaker is hoping to offer this new truck with a battery pack so large its range will be up to 500 miles. To extend this even further, Ram is working on a range-extended Revolution.
The Ram Revolution will go like a locomotive
The CEO of Ram’s parent company, Stellantis, attended the Ram Revolution’s unveiling. He said that though the concept truck is a regular battery electric vehicle, the production version will also offer an integrated gasoline generator to charge on the fly.
The industry has already offered range extenders in EVs, such as the BMW i3 and Chevy Volt. Ford has also patented a bed-mounted ranged extender for its F-150 Lightning, but is not selling it yet.
Like a regular generator, the Ram range extender will operate at a fixed RPM, making it much more efficient than an internal combustion drive motor. It may even produce enough electricity for the new Ram to drive–or even tow–on gasoline power indefinitely.
Combine this unlimited gasoline range with the Ram EV’s hundreds of horsepower and lb-ft of torque (all available at low RPM), and you have one of the most capable trucks on the road. Buyers could even configure their range-extended Ram Revolution with a large gas tank and smaller lithium-ion battery, giving it a superior power-to-weight ratio.
An internal combustion generator powering an electric motor is not a new technology. In fact, locomotives have been using a similar powertrain for decades.
Diesel locomotives have a generator and electric motors
Modern diesel locomotives require so much torque that few transmissions can handle connecting their diesel engines to connect directly to their wheels. Instead, modern locomotives have a huge diesel generator that powers electric drive motors.
Just like the Ram EV, a locomotive’s drive motors make maximum torque at zero RPM. This makes this drivetrain ideal for towing and hauling.
Unlike the Ram EV, locomotives do not have high horsepower drive batteries. Locomotives must run their diesel generator whenever they are moving.
But the Ram Revolution electric truck and range-extended Ram Revolution will also have a large traction battery. This means you can leave it plugged in overnight and likely commute on cheap electric power. But if you need to tow a heavy trailer or go on an extended road trip, you can fill up its gas tank and use the range extender.
Next, find out the difference between a range-extended Ram vs. plug-in hybrid or learn more about the 2024 Ram 1500 Revolution in the video below