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Published on August 27th, 2010 | by Christopher DeMorro

20

Cancelled Plug-In Hybrid Ram Pickup Caught Testing In Desert

It is hard to believe that is had been over a year since Chrysler and GM went into bankruptcy filings. Both companies have shed a tremendous about of debt, obligations, and in GM’s case, four car brands. Only in America, right? So with all that taxpayer money, you’d think we’d see some genuine innovations in terms of hybrid and electric vehicles, especially when it comes to pickups. A hybrid pickup sounds great, especially for your average small business owner, where every buck counts.

Here we see proof of taxpayer money being put hard at work, as Chrysler tests out its Ram Plug-In Hybrid pickup truck in Death Valley. Guess what? You can’t buy it. Ever. It is part of a small “demonstration fleet,” with no plans to sell such a vehicle to the general public.

The Ram hybrid has a two-mode transmission, 12 kilowatt battery, and could go 20 miles without using a drop of petrol. That is great if you ask me, especially if it maintains a strong payload and towing capacity. You can even see the plug-in slot next to the license plate. It is an updated version of the system found in the old Aspen and Durango hybrids, which were available to buy very briefly before Chrysler went begging for a bailout. Apparently though, Chrysler thinks nobody would want it (or it might be too expensive to produce) so they said they would not offer it for sale to the public. BUT, they would build 140 examples using grant money from the government.

In addition to the billions Chrysler got from the bailout money, they have also been awarded numerous “grants” to test out new technology. One grant was to the tune of $48 million to test a fleet of 140 plug-in hybrid Ram pickups. Back in 2008, Chrysler said it would build a plug-in hybrid Dodge Ram Pickup (back before the “Ram” brand). Then in March they said they would not build a plug-in Ram. Why? Who knows. Chrysler/Fiat has announced plans to focus more intently on the commercial market, and hybrids certainly do work in the commercial market.

I’d still like to get my hands on one though. I know I’m not alone. It is a little bit irritating to see this vehicle out and about testing, and knowing in all likelihood it won’t be available to buy unless you plan on owning a fleet of Chrysler vehicles. And the Pentastar still isn’t out of the woods yet, considering they’ve introduced two new cars in the year since they took taxpayer dollars (that would be the “Ram” pickup and the new Grand Cherokee.)

Of course that just reminds me of the electric vehicles Chrysler promised too. What happened to the Circuit, the electric Wrangler, and electric Town &  Country minivan? Gone, gone, like so much dust in the wind. Chrysler needs to step their game up, and soon. They still don’t have any hybrids, and the planned electric Fiat 500 is still months, if not years away.

Does this piss you off too? Or do we need to cut Chrysler some slack?

Source: Green Car Advisor | Pictures: KGP Photography



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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or esle, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.



  • Alex

    They’ll never change imo. it’s always going to be like this with american brands, hence why i will probably never buy american again. i have more respect for ford but none of them will ever take any real risks to truely create something innovative.

  • Alex

    They’ll never change imo. it’s always going to be like this with american brands, hence why i will probably never buy american again. i have more respect for ford but none of them will ever take any real risks to truely create something innovative.

  • Alex

    They’ll never change imo. it’s always going to be like this with american brands, hence why i will probably never buy american again. i have more respect for ford but none of them will ever take any real risks to truely create something innovative.

  • dustin s

    One thing about that truck tho, i know Nissan has agreements with Dodge to share tech. Maybe they will make a new Nissan Titan Hybrid. People are more likely to buy a Hybrid Import than a hybrid Domestic. The Nissan Leaf battery engineering is superior to anything else on the market at the moment. In my mind it would only make sense to make a hybrid truck, especially extended electric where the electric motor powers the wheels. Its an off-road dream to put it in electric 4-low, and crawl over anything! I’ve used my starter to pull my truck up a rock face, and it works SO well! not great for a stock starter tho :P come on Nissan ELECTRIC PATHFINDER!!

  • dustin s

    One thing about that truck tho, i know Nissan has agreements with Dodge to share tech. Maybe they will make a new Nissan Titan Hybrid. People are more likely to buy a Hybrid Import than a hybrid Domestic. The Nissan Leaf battery engineering is superior to anything else on the market at the moment. In my mind it would only make sense to make a hybrid truck, especially extended electric where the electric motor powers the wheels. Its an off-road dream to put it in electric 4-low, and crawl over anything! I’ve used my starter to pull my truck up a rock face, and it works SO well! not great for a stock starter tho :P come on Nissan ELECTRIC PATHFINDER!!

  • G

    They floated the idea of a hybrid in ’04, too, and even had the foresight to spin it as a great deal for contractors because it had a built-in generator. Wouldn’t that truck have been great to have available for Katrina and Ike clean-up?

    http://www.hybrid-vehicles.net/dodge-ram-hybrid-truck.htm

  • G

    They floated the idea of a hybrid in ’04, too, and even had the foresight to spin it as a great deal for contractors because it had a built-in generator. Wouldn’t that truck have been great to have available for Katrina and Ike clean-up?

    http://www.hybrid-vehicles.net/dodge-ram-hybrid-truck.htm

  • G

    They floated the idea of a hybrid in ’04, too, and even had the foresight to spin it as a great deal for contractors because it had a built-in generator. Wouldn’t that truck have been great to have available for Katrina and Ike clean-up?

    http://www.hybrid-vehicles.net/dodge-ram-hybrid-truck.htm

  • http://hucbald.blogspot.com/ Hucbald

    Chrysler was also planning a 5.0L Cummins V-8 turbodiesel RAM pickup before the bailout. That’s gone too, even though the engine was completed. It’s idiotic, because a 30 MPG diesel pickup would be great for a lot of people like me who take long trips of over 600 miles per day regularly and need a truck bed. A hybrid is useless in those situations, so I really don’t care about that. But yeah, it would be nice for Chrysler to follow through on a promise every now and then.

  • http://hucbald.blogspot.com/ Hucbald

    Chrysler was also planning a 5.0L Cummins V-8 turbodiesel RAM pickup before the bailout. That’s gone too, even though the engine was completed. It’s idiotic, because a 30 MPG diesel pickup would be great for a lot of people like me who take long trips of over 600 miles per day regularly and need a truck bed. A hybrid is useless in those situations, so I really don’t care about that. But yeah, it would be nice for Chrysler to follow through on a promise every now and then.

  • Ted B.

    A portion of the funding from the Government for the Dodge Ram hybrid was through DARPA, and Chrysler Corp. was very-involved in providing hybrid Dodge Rams to the military as part of their vehicle-replacement procurement post-Iraq. It may be that Chrysler is testing the Dodge Ram shown here as part of their eventual military vehicle program and won’t make civilian hybrids available until after they meet the Pentagon’s order. And supplying the Military first would allow real-world testing without the expense of a national dealer rollout and potentially-image damaging recalls while they debug the heavy-duty drivetrain.

  • Ted B.

    A portion of the funding from the Government for the Dodge Ram hybrid was through DARPA, and Chrysler Corp. was very-involved in providing hybrid Dodge Rams to the military as part of their vehicle-replacement procurement post-Iraq. It may be that Chrysler is testing the Dodge Ram shown here as part of their eventual military vehicle program and won’t make civilian hybrids available until after they meet the Pentagon’s order. And supplying the Military first would allow real-world testing without the expense of a national dealer rollout and potentially-image damaging recalls while they debug the heavy-duty drivetrain.

  • Ted B.

    A portion of the funding from the Government for the Dodge Ram hybrid was through DARPA, and Chrysler Corp. was very-involved in providing hybrid Dodge Rams to the military as part of their vehicle-replacement procurement post-Iraq. It may be that Chrysler is testing the Dodge Ram shown here as part of their eventual military vehicle program and won’t make civilian hybrids available until after they meet the Pentagon’s order. And supplying the Military first would allow real-world testing without the expense of a national dealer rollout and potentially-image damaging recalls while they debug the heavy-duty drivetrain.

  • JoeK

    The electric Wrangler is the most awful looking Jeep yet. Thank God someone at Chrysler got over the bailout hangover and crush that plan. So to speak.

  • JoeK

    The electric Wrangler is the most awful looking Jeep yet. Thank God someone at Chrysler got over the bailout hangover and crush that plan. So to speak.

  • JoeK

    The electric Wrangler is the most awful looking Jeep yet. Thank God someone at Chrysler got over the bailout hangover and crush that plan. So to speak.

  • http://www.icepltd.com Doc Rogers

    A Hybrid Ram Pickup Truck, what will they think of next!

  • http://www.icepltd.com Doc Rogers

    A Hybrid Ram Pickup Truck, what will they think of next!

  • http://www.icepltd.com Doc Rogers

    A Hybrid Ram Pickup Truck, what will they think of next!

  • http://Web LA

    I don’t like Chrysler but whoever makes the first production plug-in hybrid pickup truck – I’ll buy it!

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