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Could the Next Ram TRX go All-Electric?

by | April 25, 2024

The Ram brand launched the latest version of the full-size 1500 pickup today, the Ram 1500 RHO delivering a mix of dragstrip performance and extreme off-road capabilities. But it’s not a replacement for the even more formidable Ram TRX, officials stressed. We’ll have to wait a few years for that ultimate version of the Ram 1500. But when it does arrive it could deliver an electrifying surprise, reports Headlight.News.

2025 Ram 1500 Rev debut Tavares and Koval NYIAS 2023

The Ram 1500 REV will be the brands first all-electric vehicle.

Like key competitors Ford and General Motors, Ram soon will roll out its first battery-electric pickup, the Ram 1500 REV. Despite the current slowdown in the growth of EV sales, Ram planners are convinced there’s a market not only for a basic, all-electric version of the full-size truck but opportunities to use various battery technologies in future variants.

The brand has already confirmed it will follow the REV with the range-extending Ramcharger pickup. But even more extreme models could make use of the various battery-based powertrains Ram and its parent Stellantis are working on – including the next-generation Ram TRX.

The next TRX?

“It’s obvious they could do (a new TRX” using battery technology, said Sam Fiorani, lead analyst at AutoForecast Solutions. “Electric drivetrains put out so much more horsepower and torque than gas engines. And they don’t put the emissions. The current TRX is a big polluter.”

The 2024 Ram 1500 TRX is a muscular beast, producing 702 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque from its supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V-8 – basically the same engine as used in Dodge Charger and Challenger Hellcat models. But it “sucks fuel as if it were drinking from a garden hose,” our friends at Car & Drive have suggested. And that translates into high emissions levels, especially when it comes to the CO2 linked to climate change. It’s one of the reasons, said Fiorani, why parent Stellantis has to buy emissions credits from the likes of rival Tesla.

Ramcharger front EDM

The Ramcharger is built with a 250-kilowatt front and a 238-kW rear electric drive module powered by an on-board 130 kW generator.

By comparison, the most potent version of the new Ram 1500 REV will punch out a combined 654 horsepower and 620 pound-feet of torque from its twin electric motors. While REV is saddled with the added mass from its huge battery pack, it will still launch from 0-60 in 4.4 seconds. That’s a modest 0.7 seconds slower than the TRX.

“We have to evolve”

The current TRX ends its run this year but Ram officials aren’t ready to talk about a next-generation model. But during a media background briefing on the new Ram 1500 RHO, Bob Broderdorf, Ram’s chief operating officer, said “there’s a clear opportunity to leverage electric” drive technology for future versions of the Ram 1500. “We have to evolve,” he later added.

That was echoed by Doug Killian, RHO’s chief vehicle synthesis manager, who told Headlight.News “People like the sportier side of EVs.”

That’s reflected by the growing number of all-electric models putting the emphasis on performance, from the new Hyundai Ioniq 5 N to higher-performance versions of the new Tesla Cybertruck.

For its part, Stellantis has already shown that off-road buyers are willing to consider electrified powertrain technology. The Jeep brand’s Wrangler 4xe is now the best-selling plug-in hybrid in the American market, followed by the Grand Cherokee 4xe. One of the advantages is the high torque electric motors make as soon as they start spinning, something especially useful for rock-crawling, former Jeep boss Jim Morrison told Headlight.News. Another advantage, he said, is the fact that, in all-electric mode, motorists can go off-road in virtual silence.

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New 2024 Jeep® Wrangler Rubicon 392 with available factory-installed 8,000-lb.-capacity Warn winch

The Jeep Wrangler 4xe is now the best-selling PHEV in the U.S.

A “spectrum” of electrified technologies

While the U.S. side of Stellantis has been slow to embrace electrified technology, it appears to be in a good position going forward. A key reason is the fact that the automaker now has what Killian described as “a whole spectrum” of electrified powertrain options:

  • The Ram REV will use a fully electric drivetrain with as many as two electric motors;
  • The Ramcharger variant will use a downsized battery pack but add a version of the new Hurricane Inline-6. The gas engine will never send power directly to the wheels, instead serving solely as a generator, keeping the battery pack charged in order to power the electric motors;
  • Ram could come up with a version of the 4xe plug-in hybrid system used by Jeep. Here, both the gas side of the drivetrain, as well as its electric motors, can send power directly to the wheels;
  • Ram could also opt for a more conventional hybrid system, much as rivals Toyota and Ford have done with their full-size pickups.

“They’re in a fantastic position of having multiple solutions,” said Sam Abuelsamid, principal automotive analyst with Guidehouse Insights.

Rivian R1T at Pikes Peak 2023 driving

A Rivian R1T ran last year’s race, demonstrating its on and off-road capabilities.

More than one option

“We could go after more than one” application for electrified powertrain technology, said Killian. Indeed, the automaker has already confirmed two: the all-electric REV and the range-extending Ramcharger.

Abuelsamid expects to see a performance “step-up” based on the REV that “could be called the TRX.” But some observers are betting Ram would more likely go with a Ramcharger-based drivetrain to take advantage of its ability to keep running once the battery pack runs out of juice.

If anything, sources indicate Ram is looking at a number of options using electrified drivetrains and that is likely to include future off-road variants that would join the three current gas-powered models, the Warlock, the Rebel and the new RHO.

Ram isn’t alone

Ford F-150 Lightning Switchgear - front jumping

Ford’s Switchgear prototype signals plans to develop an off-road version of the F-150 Lightning.

Ram is less than a year away from bringing the REV, its first all-electric model, to market, with the Ramcharger to follow soon afterwards. More variants seem certain to follow though insiders caution that they could take a few more years to reach production.

Whenever new models arrive, Ram won’t be the first. Rivian already offers an off-road version of both its R1S electric SUV and R1T pickup. GMC’s Hummer EV is billed as a serious off-roader, while Chevrolet will have a trail-ready package for the Silverado EV which is just launching in retail form.

Ford is readying the Rally version of its Mustang Mach-E SUV, which it bills as a Baja-style off-roader. And its recent Switchgear concept was designed to test the waters for a more aggressive, rock-crawling version of the all-electric F-150 Lightning.

Volkswagen is preparing to relaunch the rugged Scout brand which will go all-electric. Two trail-ready models, a pickup and an SUV, are planned for its 2026 launch.

Going forward, we are likely to see a number of off-road and performance pickup variants using electrified drivetrain technologies.


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