Hemi's decline accompanies Stellantis' electrification of Ram trucks
【Summary】Stellantis will introduce a plug-in hybrid Ram pickup truck called Ramcharger and phase out its V-8 Hemi engines in an effort to reduce CO2 emissions. The Hemi engines will no longer be offered in 2025-model light-duty Ram trucks, which will instead be powered by six-cylinder combustion engines. Stellantis aims to sell more hybrid and electric trucks to meet emissions standards and avoid fines. The Ramcharger is expected to cater to buyers who are not ready for fully electric pickups.
The Ram 1500 Revolution electric concept pickup truck was recently unveiled during a Stellantis keynote address at CES 2023, an annual consumer electronics trade show, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Stellantis, the parent company of Chrysler, has announced its plans to offer a plug-in hybrid model of its Ram pickup truck called Ramcharger, as well as phase out V-8 Hemi engines in order to reduce the CO2 emissions of its North American fleet.
Starting in 2025, Stellantis will no longer offer the popular Hemi V-8 engine in its light-duty Ram pickup trucks. Instead, the company will offer six-cylinder combustion engines, along with the previously announced battery-electric Ram REV and the Ramcharger. This shift is part of Stellantis' strategy to sell more hybrid and electric trucks and improve the fuel efficiency of its combustion models, as the company is currently facing fines for failing to meet U.S. emissions standards.
However, it's worth noting that the Hemi V-8 engine will still be offered in Ram heavy-duty trucks. Stellantis has not yet disclosed its future production plans for light-duty Ram Classic trucks, which are based on previous generation Ram designs. Currently, Hemi engines are available on certain Ram Classic models.
The plug-in hybrid Ramcharger model, which is set to go on sale by 2025, is a bet that many Detroit brand buyers are not ready for an all-electric pickup like the Tesla Cybertruck, Rivian R1T, Ford's F-150 Lightning, or the all-electric Chevy Silverado from General Motors. GM and Ford have already scaled back their production plans for electric trucks due to lower demand than expected.
For the near term, most Ram trucks will continue to be powered by combustion engines. However, starting in the first quarter of 2024, the eight-cylinder Hemi engine that has been a central marketing feature of light-duty Ram pickups since 2003 will be phased out. Instead, 2025 light-duty Ram trucks will be powered by 3.0-liter, inline six-cylinder "Hurricane" engines or an older 3.6-liter V-6.
In the past, inline six-cylinder engines were common in U.S. pickup trucks, but the Detroit brands shifted to V-8 engines in the 1980s and 1990s to meet customer demand for more power. Now, in order to comply with stricter CO2 emissions standards, Detroit automakers are moving back to smaller, high-output engines and electrified powertrains. Ford, for example, plans for up to 20% of its redesigned F-150 lineup to sell with hybrid powertrains.
GM currently offers four-cylinder and eight-cylinder gas engines, as well as a diesel powertrain, in its Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks. While GM is ramping up production of all-electric Silverado and Sierra models, it has not yet announced plans for hybrid models.
Stellantis has previously stated that it will sell an all-electric Ram pickup called the Ram Rev starting in late 2024. The Ramcharger, on the other hand, is positioned as a more affordable and practical alternative for customers who want better fuel economy but have concerns about driving range, access to charging, and towing capability. The Ramcharger will use a six-cylinder gasoline engine as a generator to recharge its 92 kWh battery pack, while the all-electric Ram REV has a larger 168 kWh battery pack in the base model.
"Think of the cost per kilowatt-hour," said Ram brand chief Tim Kuniskis, highlighting the cost difference between the two models. However, he did not provide a precise figure for the cost difference.
Overall, Stellantis' decision to offer a plug-in hybrid Ramcharger and phase out V-8 Hemi engines reflects the automotive industry's shift towards more sustainable and efficient technologies to meet emissions standards.
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