Ram plans to enter the EV market next year with an all-electric version of its Ram 1500 pickup. But if the Ram Revolution concept making its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show this week is any indication, it won’t just be a battery-powered take on the existing truck.
The Ram Revolution adopts a design language the automaker describes as “brutiful,” a rather awkward way of saying both “brutal” and “beautiful.” The distinctive styling introduces some useful features, including the ability to carry objects as much as 18 feet in length with the tailgate closed. It also introduces a variety of high-tech features, including “Shadow Mode,” where the truck can be moved by following a short distance behind its driver walking ahead.
“Our new Ram 1500 Revolution BEV Concept … serves as a roadmap to our electrified future,” said Mike Koval Jr., Ram brand CEO. “Yet, Ram Revolution is also our philosophy as we redefine the pickup segment, with a steady drumbeat of announcements and initiatives as we embark on our electrified journey.”
Like the real thing
Like the production pickup set to debut in 2024, the Ram Revolution is based on the new STLA Large architecture developed by parent Stellantis. It’s a skateboard-like platform mounting batteries and motors below the load floor.
For the moment, the automaker isn’t revealing details about the drivetrain in either the Ram Revolution or upcoming 1500 EV. But TheDetroitBureau.com previously reported the truck could deliver nearly 900 horsepower from motors front and back, as well as range running to 400, perhaps even 500 miles. There has been speculation the production model might be offered with a range extender, a fossil fuel-based generator that could kick in to keep the battery charged.
Ram did confirm the Revolution concept can add as much as 100 additional miles of range in approximately 10 minutes when using a public DC charger capable of 350 kilowatts.
The EV pickup segment is rapidly growing crowded. There’s already the GMC Hummer EV, Rivian R1T and Ford F-150 Lightning, with Chevrolet expected to launch production of the Silverado EV in the coming weeks. By 2025, analysts forecast, there may be as many as a dozen or more all-electric pickups available in the U.S.
Daring to design
Manufacturers are exploring what approach to take to design. At one end is the Ford Lightning which can easily be confused with gas and diesel versions of the F-150. At the other extreme is the radical Tesla Cybertruck. Ram took a middle path with the Revolution.
It retains some of crisp lines and brutish details that make the current 1500 model one of the pickup segments most distinctive designs. But it also shows that Ram stylists have spent plenty of time in the wind tunnel minimizing aerodynamic drag.
The front end, with its solid grille big RAM badge and “tuning fork” lightbars, blends that brutishness with a high-tech feel. The low, sweeping all-glass roof and sloping tailgate add an almost sports car-like feel, the concept seeming to be in constant motion.
With no engine compartment, Ram Revolution gets a massive frunk, or front trunk. It’s power operated, as are the charge port, the flush door handles, rear steps, an active diffuser and tailgate.
This is, of course, a work vehicle, something the Ram product development team didn’t ignore. There are, for one thing, tow hooks up front — though they can pivot to reduce wind drag. The Revolution also gets an extendable cargo bed, as well as an opening midgate between the bed and cabin. Add a pass-through from cabin to frunk and lumber and other cargo up to 18 feet in length can be carried while keeping the tailgate closed.
It helps to have a flexible layout to the interior, including foldable rear jumpseats. The truck can carry up to five passengers.
There’s a focus on sustainability in the cabin which uses a leather alternative made of “by-products from the apple industry,” Ram noted in a release, along with flooring made of recycled rubber and cork.
The cabin picks up the “tuning fork” design of the front lamps with twin lightbars on the instrument panel. It adds a new steering wheel design that’s flat on top and bottom, with capacitive touch controls for various vehicle functions.
Ram Revolution is a high-tech exercise with a large digital gauge cluster, along with one of the largest touchscreens in the industry mounted atop the center console.
The concept truck uses a new electrical architecture and extensive connected car technology that, among other things, could allow it to not only update onboard software but add new features as they’re developed.
Along with the Shadow Mode feature, it gets Level 3+ autonomy which would permit a driver to go hands free and do things like read texts or watch videos — though they’d still need to be ready to take control quickly in an emergency.
Motorists can set and select a number of different Cabin Modes that automatically adjust interior lighting, audio settings, seat positions and more.
And much of what a driver might want to do can be controlled using plain English commands thanks to an Amazon Alexa-style voice assistant. It can even listen when a driver is outside the truck, say, to roll up the vehicle’s windows and lock the door.
How many of these — and other high-tech features — will be carried into production remains to be seen, but Ram is counting on technology, as well as range, performance and design, to help the upcoming Ram 1500 EV stand out in an increasingly crowded market segment.
With the show car debuting at CES, we should get a look at the actual production model later this year. The Ram 1500 EV is expected to go on sale sometime in 2024.