While there are plenty of hybrid and electric model cars and SUVs creeping into the market, there still hasn’t been much headway in the pickup truck market, at least for 2020. Startups like Rivian, along with EV pioneers like Tesla, are paving the way for electrification. And because consumers are paying attention, the traditional automakers are also now incorporating EV developments in their plans.
Many have already announced commitments, including Ford and GM. But Fiat Chrysler has remained noticeably quiet, regarding arrangements for an electric Ram pickup. And some are wondering if FCA’s silence means the Ram won’t get EV tech anytime soon.
Ram says it’s committed to developing electric alternatives
FCA hasn’t been idle while waiting for the competing automakers to get ahead. Officials have already committed to launching hybrid and electric technologies in the models to come. The North American strategy will include the Jeep Wrangler 4xe plug-hybrid, with plans for customer availability by the end of this year. Aside from the Wrangler launch this year, FCA has publicly acknowledged plans to design future models with various drivetrain options, including diesel, gas, plug-in hybrids, and battery-only designs.
But the Ram truck isn’t being listed in the mix of potential redevelopments just yet. And it may be a challenge to create a battery-driven system that will appeal to the Ram enthusiasts.
When other automakers promote EV tech, Ram stays silent
While FCA officials remain silent about Ram plans for electrification, other truck makers are shouting from the rooftops about their efforts. Ford is committing to a 14th generation F-150 with an electric variation. General Motors is already planning for Chevy and GM contenders, including resurrecting the Hummer badge. With companies like Tesla and Rivian, Ram’s silence might seem like it plans to sit out the EV race.
Ram’s differing view of the North American market
FCA may not yet be announcing electric plans for the Ram truck officially, but officials certainly have their finger on the EV pulse. In an earnings call, Fiat Chrysler’s CEO, Mike Manley, recognizes they haven’t said much about electric trucks just yet. Manley suggests the company’s strategy is slightly different from other automakers, regarding the North American market. Instead of rushing into its flagship Ram lineup’s electrification, FCA may just be playing its hand close for now.
Manley says this is a “key franchise for us,” so they take the market positioning very seriously for the Ram family of trucks. For FCA, it’s about proper timing and meeting consumer demand. With an unprecedented buyer market right now, due to the pandemic conditions, and a slow to adopt demand for electric trucks today, hitting pause might be the best strategy.
Ready or not, electric trucks are coming
There’s no chance the Ram will sit on the sidelines should truck buyers begin demanding more hybrid and electric options. And considering the commitment of others, including Ford and Chevy, to launch electrical powertrain variations as soon as this year, Ram will be positioned to see how well buyers adopt the trucks. It may prove to be a winning EV strategy for Ram in the end. Truck enthusiasts should prepare for electrification options, sooner than later, whether they’re ready or not.
Ram trucks aren’t expected to be electric as quickly as some of its rivals. Officials aren’t saying much to commit just yet. But the slow and steady approach to market demand could change with the race and win over truck buyers in the future. Don’t let Ram’s silence suggest an electric big horn pickup isn’t coming among the growing electric truck segment.