Expectations are powerful things. A company can make money and its stock will fall if they are not met. Expectations have risen high in Car and Driver office for an electric Ram 1500 REV since Ram CEO Mike Koval caught our eye in 2021 when he promised an electric version of the regular Ram half-ton was on the way.
At the time, Koval announced that although the brand’s EV truck would arrive after the competition, it would not follow in their footsteps. He claims the 2024 launch date will be a plus, allowing Ram to benchmark EV pickups from Ford and General Motors.
Fast forward to last month at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), where we were blown away by the Ram 1500 Revolution BEV concept and our expectations for the production truck rose even higher.
A month later, while watching the Super Bowl, a satirical commercial teased the real Ram 1500 REV and offered a few laugh-out-loud moments. However, when we finally got a good look at the production model, we released a collective “What the?”
Admittedly, we don’t have all the technical details, but the most interesting part is how little the REV resembles the concept and how much it looks like the current gas supply model. Now nobody expected the production version of the Ram EV to be as wild as the concept. We all know they are just that, conceptualizations. So the show truck’s exaggerated proportions, pillarless coach doors, and even its electrochromic glass roof were not features we expected to reach customers.
What we’re hoping is that the concept’s innovative and useful features might make it out—for example, a folding center door to extend the pickup bed into the cabin. The original Chevy Avalanche had a center door, for Pete’s sake, a feature that will return on the upcoming Chevy Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV.
Opening the bed to the cabin also gives the Ram concept a path to allow long narrow objects to enter the truck’s cabin and into the front trunk. That seems to have been removed. Eliminating the concept’s center door means the attractive third-row jump seat integrated into it is also gone.
As far as the interior is concerned, it doesn’t raise many complaints as the Rams has an attractive cabin with premium materials, but it’s basically the same design as its petrol counterpart with the exception of a display for front-seat passengers, just like the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. That’s neat, but it doesn’t break the mold.
It’s not just the concept that fuels our dreams for an EV Ram pickup. Ram is late, but that delay doesn’t seem to have created any competitive advantage or spurred any major innovation.
Again, range, power, and other specs remain unknown—prove us wrong, Ram—but converting the gas-powered version to an EV is similar to what Ford did with its F-150 Lightning. In 2021, Koval claims the electric Ram 1500 will deliver 500 miles of driving range. He also said it will “redefine the full-size segment” and outperform the competition, suggesting it will exceed the Lightning’s 10,000-pound towing capacity. If the production truck achieves a high score, it will be enough to beat Ford and GM.
Currently, the Lightning has an EPA-rated range of 320 miles, the GMC Hummer EV leads the way at 329 miles, and GM is aiming for up to 400 miles per charge with the electric Silverado and Sierra. However, both GM trucks are not yet on the market. The Ram’s 500 miles on a single charge would make it a segment leader, if not at the top of the EV class.
But that number is likely to come thanks to a confirmed range-extended version with a petrol engine. Range extender (as the name suggests) will also help increase battery range while towing. The REV Ram may go further than a pure EV pickup, but a plug-in hybrid is not the same thing as a battery electric vehicle (BEV).
Want to tow with an EV pickup? We can think of better things to do, but we’ll talk about delay capacity anyway. The Rivian R1T leads the segment with a rating of up to 11,000 pounds, more than any other electric pickup. Stay tuned if Ram will be able to beat the bogey, which Koval meant.
Based on how one-upmanships have traditionally worked in the pickup truck wars, however, expect the Ram 1500 REV to barely edge out its competitors rather than tie with them. A maximum tow rating of 10,500 pounds (or 11,500 pounds) seems achievable, but it would only make the REV best-in-class by a slim margin.
There is still hope
Aside from offering a gas-fueled range extender, the production version of the Ram 1500 REV isn’t quite the game changer we thought it would be.
Of course, there is still hope that the truck will live up to expectations. More details are coming, and a possible bunch of innovative features isn’t clear in the few photos we’ve seen so far. However, from the looks of it—with the exception of the plug-in-hybrid version—the EV Ram isn’t a huge step forward in technology and design. Often, we blame the concept of writing a production truck check on seeming uncashable.
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