Your 2023 Ram 1500 Pickup Truck Will Be a Hybrid—Whether You Like It or Not
Ram introduced a mild hybrid version of its half-ton 1500 pickup truck back in the 2019 model year. Fifth-generation Ram buyers have been able to choose between a V8 with the new “eTorque” hybrid system or a traditional V8 without eTorque–until now. For the 2023 model year, Ram quietly deleted the option to order a non-eTorque V8 when you buy a 1500.
Is the Ram 1500 eTorque a hybrid pickup truck?
eTorque Ram pickup trucks are technically mild hybrids. They do improve fuel economy with regenerative braking. But they do this by combining the starter and alternator into one unit, which can assist with both accelerating and stopping.
A fully hybrid pickup truck incorporates an electric motor/generator between the gasoline engine and the wheels. The Ford F-150 PowerBoost, for example, has an electric motor/generator sandwiched between its engine and transmission. Because of its location, this unit can exert a lot of force to help slow the vehicle when you tap the brakes. It can also launch and accelerate the vehicle up to a relatively high speed.
The Ram 1500 eTorque’s motor/generator is attached to the front of the internal combustion engine via a heavy serpentine belt. It replaces both the starter and the alternator. This unit essentially improves the gasoline engine’s existing start/stop function. It gets the truck rolling from a complete stop while the engine starts up. It also recharges its own batteries by adding some drag during braking. But it cannot help with acceleration or braking nearly as much as the Ford PowerBoost’s unit can.
Does the Ram 1500 eTorque have good fuel mileage?
The Ram 1500, equipped with its naturally aspirated V8, is not known for especially great fuel mileage. Only the V6-equipped trucks get a combined fuel mileage rating of over 20 mpg. The eTorque system adds about three mpg to the mileage rating of V8-equipped trucks.
No Ram 1500 half-ton pickup truck, even with the mild-hybrid eTorque powertrain, gets fuel mileage comparable to a hybrid car. The best fuel efficiency ratings earned by a fifth-generation Ram 1500 belonged to the late turbocharged EcoDiesel V6. But Ram has discontinued that engine option.
The 2023 Ram 1500 with the best fuel mileage is the 2WD equipped with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. Every Ram with the Pentastar also has the eTorque system. This truck gets 20 city/25 highway mpg (22 combined). Opting for 4WD drops it to 21 mpg combined.
You can see how the mileage ratings of all the 2023 Ram 1500 configurations stack up in the table below:
|Ram 1500 Configuration
|2WD Regular V8
|2WD eTorque V8
|4WD Regular V8
|4WD eTorque V8
|2WD eTorque V6
|4WD eTorque V6
Is the Ram eTorque hybrid reliable?
Ram introduced the eTorque system in 2019, so there is very little data on how it will hold up at high mileage. We do know that some hybrids need less maintenance than conventional drivetrains.
Hybrid pickup trucks are comparatively new to the market. But many hybrid cars and hybrid SUVs are proving to go longer without needing maintenance than their traditional counterparts. Why is this? Because their hybrid motor/generators take on much of the acceleration and braking, saving wear and tear on the conventional engines and brakes.
Because the eTorque system combines the regular starter and alternator, you will not need to worry about replacing these engine peripherals. But when the entire unit needs replacing, it will be expensive. Ram truck forum members report the cost of buyin a replacement eTorque motor/generator is $1,333. With labor and a heavy-duty serpentine belt, the bill can be $1,700.
That’s not all. Eventually, a Ram 1500 with eTorque may need its high-voltage battery replaced. Note, this is different than the truck’s regular 12-volt battery. According to RepairPal, when you do need to replace the Ram 1500’s high voltage hybrid battery, yo ucan expect to spend from $2,426 and $2,472.
Next, find out about the most reliable part of a 5th gen Ram 1500 or learn more about the Ram eTorque system in the review video below: