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Why are there no PHEV trucks? Ram should change that

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I am a big fan of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) technology because they offer a natural transition from internal combustion engines to pure electric vehicles (EV). With range anxiety still prevalent, PHEVs like the Toyota RAV4 Prime, Jeep Wrangler 4xe and Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe allow people to experience all-electric range but none of the anxiety. And with more SUVs getting the PHEV treatment, I’ve gotta ask: Why aren’t there any PHEV trucks?

I also have to wonder which automaker might break the ice on a PHEV truck. I think it should be Ram.

A Ram 1500 4xe?

No, there is nothing official about Stellantis adding the 4xe technology to a Ram pickup truck. In fact, a Ram spokesperson said there was no comment on any such speculation. But stick with me here.

It’s not much of a leap to assume Stellantis will continue to spread EV and PHEV technology across its entire line. During last year’s Stellantis EV summit, the automaker said that 40% of its sales would be low emission vehicles by the year 2030. This includes both EVs and PHEVs, which occupy only 4% of Stellantis’ lineup now.

In fact, Stellantis revealed there would be four battery-electric-vehicle-centric platforms that will be the backbone of all the electrified vehicles from the automaker – covering everything from the littlest Fiat all the way to the largest Ram. The platforms are as follows:

  • STLA Small, with a range up to 300 miles
  • STLA Medium, with a range up to 440 miles
  • STLA Large, with a range up to 500 miles
  • STLA Frame, with a range up to 500 miles

With this kind of structure in place it makes a lot of sense to combine this with ICE technology and create a PHEV Ram truck.

While it’s not confirmed that a Ram 1500 4xe is coming, it just makes sense it would happen — maybe even before a pure electric version of the Ram pickup, which has been confirmed.

Other Stellantis PHEVs

The iconic Wrangler was the first vehicle in the Stellantis lineup to get a PHEV version. The Wrangler 4xe offers 21 miles of all-electric driving, which is meant to be a supplement rather than a replacement for the gasoline engine. So, perhaps the more important number to share is that the fuel economy of the Wrangler 4xe jumps to 49 MPGe with the combined electric/gas output. In comparison, gas-only fuel economy is just 20 MPG.

You can even charge the battery of the Wrangler 4xe while you’re driving in gas mode — meaning you don’t have to plug this Jeep in to charge it. But if you do decide to plug in, it should take 10-15 hours to get a full charge on a 110-volt outlet and 2-3 hours on a 220.

Jeep recently announced the Grand Cherokee would be the next vehicle in the lineup to get the 4xe treatment. The 2022 Grand Cherokee 4xe will have similar range as the Wrangler 4xe and the similar charge times. However, the propulsion system in the Grand Cherokee 4xe combines two electric motors, a 400-volt battery pack, 2.0-liter turbocharged, four-cylinder engine and TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission. Jeep claims Grand Cherokee 4xe will get 25 miles of all-electric range and 56 MPGe (estimated).

The bottom line on PHEV trucks

According to EVadoption.com, there are 32 different models of PHEVs in the U.S. right now. Obviously, these are still a niche product, but again, I think it makes a natural bridge between old and new technologies. Generally speaking, PHEV technology costs about $4k premium over its gasoline counterpart, so cost is likely a factor in mass adoption. That plus the continued uncertainty surrounding plugging in a vehicle could also be keeping their popularity down.

But, personally I think a PHEV pickup truck would be interesting and could sell well. With the pickup truck seemingly skipping over PHEVs altogether and going straight to EVs, perhaps no PHEV transition is needed. But I still say expect a Ram 1500 4xe at some point in the not-so-distant future.

What do you think? Should Ram build a 4xe version of the 1500? Leave me your comments below.

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Jimmy Dinsmore

Jimmy is News Editor for PickupTruckTalk with an expertise in new vehicles. He is also a Ford Mustang historian having authored the book Mustang by Design (available on Amazon). His second book, about the history of Ford's F-Series truck comes out next year.

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4 Comments

  1. Anonymous February 6, 2022

    PHEV would be more appetizing to the consumer market. The idea of being hung out to dry when your battery dies is something that keeps gasoline engines in play. Even if you created the massive infrastructure to allow for plug in locations, taking hours to re-charge is a no-go versus being able to stop, fill up and go in a couple of minutes. If there was a reliably tested PHEV full-size pickup, I’d jump on it in a heartbeat.

    Reply
    1. Jimmy Dinsmore February 7, 2022

      I agree. PHEVs are a great transitionary vehicle from ICE to EV.

      Reply
  2. AZ March 1, 2022

    Yes we need one. I would buy it in a heart beat. Come on Toyota Tundra!

    Reply
  3. Anonymous April 29, 2022

    I’d buy one today.

    Reply

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