It's not a huge secret that Chrysler is planning a hybrid Ram 1500. What wasn't known was when it would hit the road.
Well, a leaked Chrysler production schedule hit the Web this week, and the folks at Pickuptrucks.com are noting that a Ram Hybrid will begin production on November 16, according to the schedule.
GM will give Chrysler the Two-Mode transmissions that it needs. These transmissions have two 60-kilowatt electric motors that can run the truck on electric-only power until about 25 mph, although that depends on the driving situation (translation: light-throttle in good weather on smooth, flat roads). Once the gas engine kicks in, the electric motors work with it, with the goal being to push it into four-cylinder mode quicker, thus saving gas. Regenerative braking is used to recapture some energy and convert it to power.
The Two-Mode system was developed with GM, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW. If Chrysler continues to manufacture a hybrid after 2012, it will have to develop its own system, since GM will have its own system for hybrid trucks starting in 2013.
Towing is a concern with hybrids, but current GM hybrids tow 6,100 lbs, so the Ram Hybrid should tow about the same amount.
The Ram Hybrid is exciting news from Chrysler, if only because it allows for the Ram to compete on equal footing with GM. No information on pricing has been released yet, but we'd expect it to be close to what GM charges for the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra Hybrids, perhaps splitting the difference between the mainstream Silverado and the more upscale Sierra. We'd also expect fuel-economy to come close to those trucks.