Autoblog reports that in addition to the battery electric version of its light-duty pickup truck that is scheduled to arrive in 2024, it will also offer a version of that truck with a range extender engine. Now, don’t fall off your chair or start ranting about legacy automakers and their love affair with gasoline. The idea of an electric pickup truck with a range extender engine actually makes a lot of sense for certain use cases.
RVers, for instance, who haul their travel trailers places a few times a year, or contractors how need to tow a trailer loaded with machinery or materials now and again. For them, a range extender option could be just what the doctor ordered to help convince them to make the switch to battery power. For most of the time the truck gets used, it would operate on electrons alone. For those times when it gets used for towing or hauling heavy cargo, the engine could offset the limitations of battery power in such large vesicles.
Autoblog says it learned of the range extender option in an interview with Ram CEO Mike Koval Jr. He noted Ram is trying to address the needs and concerns of its customers by offering more than is expected. He didn’t go into detail about the powertrain, but said it will launch alongside the battery electric model — which will be called the Ram Revolution — in 2024. It’s not clear whether it would be a pure series hybrid such as the BMW i3, or if the engine would engage the wheels to provide some propulsion.
Many readers will remember the Chevy Volt was one such series hybrid, although it did have a “limp home” mode designed to keep drivers from being stranded on the road in the event of a major powertrain malfunction. A few years ago, Tesla renegade Ian Wright founded WrightSpeed to manufacturer an ultra-clean gas turbine range extender for heavy-duty electric trucks and buses. Originally, Workhorse intended to include a range extender engine as part of its battery electric pickup truck so utility companies could drive them long distances to help repair the electrical grid after major storms.
Today we don’t hear very much about either WrightSpeed or Workhorse. We don’t hear much about range extender engines either. Are they an idea whose time has come … and gone? Ram clearly doesn’t think so. It may be onto something. When we know more about its plans, we will share that information with our readers.