DaimlerChrysler has begun limited commercial production of its diesel mild-hybrid Dodge Ram truck. The Ram HEV will be available to fleet customers.
Built on the Ram Heavy Duty (2500/3500) chassis, the Ram mild hybrid uses an integrated starter-alternator hybrid system to supplement a Cummins 325 hp (242.5 kW), 5.9-liter turbodiesel engine with 600 lb-ft (813.4 Nm) of torque. This system provides start-stop functionality, and provides propulsion assistance on acceleration and at other times during the driving range based on the controller algorithm. DaimlerChrysler estimates that the hybrid version of the RAM can provide up to 15% savings in fuel consumption.
The Ram HEV, like the GM Silverado hybrid, can operate as an electric generator, providing 110/220-volt AC power. The vehicle uses three spiral-wound sealed lead-acid batteries to serve as a 42-volt storage unit.
When Chrysler first announced the Ram hybrid in 2000, the company spoke of both gasoline and diesel versions, as well the ability a hybrid system provides to downsize the internal combustion engine without losing performance. With this limited production targeted to a specific buyer (the vehicle is called the “Contractor’s Special”), however, Chrysler chose not to downsize, and not to offer a gasoline version. (Honda is not downsizing the gasoline ICE it its hybrid Accord either, for that matter.)
The 5.9-liter, inline-6 Cummins 600 of the Hybrid Ram is the award-winning engine provided as an option in the 2004 model year conventional Ram. The conventional 2005 Ram offers the Cummins 610, a diesel with the same displacement and horsepower, but better emissions control and torque.