Ram 1500 EV Revolution's Most Innovative Design Feature Was Moving The Firewall

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Ram CEO Mike Koval and design chief Ralph Gilles spoke to CarBuzz at CES. Here's what they had to say.

The Ram 1500 EV Revolution concept's electric platform allowed engineers and designers to move the firewall forward, enabling that slick windshield angle and the third row. Why does that matter so much?

Speaking to CarBuzz at the Consumer Electronics Show 2023 last week, Ram CEO Mike Koval and design boss Ralph Gilles both stressed the design freedom the STLA Frame architecture provides, allowing for innovative features future competitors like the Ford F-150 Lightning and Chevrolet Silverado EV lack.

"We moved the firewall forward roughly four inches, allowing for a nice windshield angle and that bonus third row," Gilles said. "We can actually move the first- and second-row seats thanks to the track system. This allowed us to lower the front areas [while still maintaining] solid ground clearance. The result is a more compact, aero-friendly type of shape."

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Gilles acknowledged that "getting the cab to not look unusual" was one of the trickiest design elements to nail down. "We grew it so big it couldn't look odd. The way it integrates into the bed helped give it a sleek look. [It was hard] not to make it look like a Swiss army knife." Gilles added that the concept is only a little longer than the current ICE Ram 1500 (which will not be discontinued) and that Stellantis "pulled a lot of patents, like the rear diffuser."

Some additional smart design elements include the "underbody active diffuser that tunes the air [and to] get the frunk as wide as possible." The team's combined efforts clearly paid off, specifically in relation to the "brutiful" exterior styling, as Ram's marketing department likes to describe the concept.

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The new front end and grille with its extremely cool animated "tuning fork" DRLs and animated Ram logo are a couple of examples. Koval already confirmed that will make production. The architecture's flat floor helps to create a significant amount of interior space, hence the ability to have the third row. We think there's a good chance the concept's suicide doors will make production as they'll provide easier access to that third row. If only two rows appear for production, these doors are unlikely.

Unfortunately, neither Koval nor Gilles would confirm that information to us during our discussion. We further inquired about the production chances regarding the dashboard's removable lower touchscreen, which on the concept, can be relocated and mounted anywhere throughout the cabin thanks to the brilliant Ram Track system. Again, both executives refused to provide any details, instead emphasizing we won't have to wait too long for the production-spec truck to debut.

"The concept is a vision into the future of the brand, and we'll see how much of the concept influences the production vehicle," Koval explained.

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He further hinted that just because some of the concept's features and/or styling may not make production this time around, it doesn't mean they never will. As our interviews came to an end, we had to ask about other upcoming Ram brand EVs, specifically a midsize truck and an SUV. As expected, the pair would not comment on future products, but neither gave us a flat-out "no" for an answer regarding either.

Above all, Koval and Gilles knew the concept "needed to look like a Ram."

Gilles concluded that it had to be "something more athletic than today's truck. 'Brutiful' can have all of the functionality and be sleek while keeping the truck look. We will have sweet solutions for customers who know an EV truck doesn't quite fit yet into the infrastructure. We will meet the upcoming demand curve."

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