It could elevate Ram's electric truck to the top of the class.
Ram has made some bold claims about its upcoming 1500 EV. Due in 2024, it will go up against the Ford F-150 Lightning and Chevrolet Silverado EV; the Chevy looked the part at the ongoing Chicago Auto Show when we saw it this week. Ram says its electric truck won't be compromised in terms of durability and capability despite the lack of a conventional powertrain. And, by launching a little later than its main competitors, the Ram 1500 EV may have the advantage of coming to the market as an even better product. This week, Ram revealed an important version of the upcoming EV with a key feature that could give it a major edge over Ford and Chevy.
Speaking to EV Pulse, Mike Koval Jr., CEO of Ram Trucks, not only said that the 1500 EV will "push past" its rivals, but that it would come with a "class-shattering" range-extender version. It's this variant that could be the most significant difference between the Ram truck and its rivals, theoretically giving it a far superior range.
An electric vehicle with a range extender typically has a gas- or diesel-powered engine which acts as a generator to charge the battery. These aren't common, but BMW did offer the option with its quirky i3 hatchback when that car was still on sale. Koval didn't delve into any specifics, but it should make the electric truck a lot more capable.
Specifically, a range extender will slow down the rapid depletion of the battery when carrying heavy loads in the bed or towing. Riding on the new STLA Frame platform, we know Ram was aiming for a 500-mile range, significantly more than that of the Ford F-150 Lightning. It now seems as though that range could be more easily achievable with the range-extender model. The Chevy Silverado EV's range has been estimated at up to 400 miles. That 100-mile advantage could tempt many shoppers to go for the Ram instead. Interestingly, Ford filed a patent for its own gas-powered range extender for the electric F-150 in 2020, but this feature hasn't been mentioned for the new F-150 Lightning. Ford may just be motivated to revisit the idea when Ram's contender arrives.