Chrysler unveils 2013 Ram with array of new systems focused on fuel economy
5 April 2012
|2013 Ram 1500 at the New York International Auto Show. Click to enlarge.|
Chrysler unveiled the 2013 Ram pickup, featuring an array of fuel-saving systems including a more fuel efficient and more powerful 3.6-liter V-6 engine; eight-speed automatic transmission; stop-start system; thermal management system; pulse-width modulation to reduce parasitic electrical load; and active aerodynamics, including grille shutters and air suspension.
The new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine (Ward’s 10 Best Engines Award two years in a row) with variable-valve timing (VVT) offers best-in-class standard 305 hp (227 kW), with 269 lb-ft (365 N·m) of torque and best-in-class fuel economy for V-6 trucks, according to Chrysler. (Specific fuel economy figures are note available yet.) The new V-6 features 42% more horsepower, 13% more torque and at least 20% better fuel economy when compared to the previous 3.7-liter V-6 powertrain.
|2013 Ram 1500 Pentastar V-6 engine and 8-speed automatic transmission deliver up to 20 percent better fuel economy when compared to the previous V-6 powertrain. Click to enlarge.|
The 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 with fuel-saving cylinder shut-off and VVT provides 395 hp (295 kW), 407 lb-ft (552 N·m) of torque and best-in-class fuel economy for V-8 trucks (at least 10% better fuel economy when compared to 2012 V-8 powertrain). Chrysler says the HEMI also delivers best-in-class towing and payload—11,500 pounds and 3,125 pounds respectively, with Ram 1500 Tradesman Heavy Duty.
8-speed. The class-exclusive eight-speed automatic transmission (TorqueFlite 8), standard equipment with 3.6-liter V-6 Pentastar, doubles the number of gears compared to previously available four-speed automatic transmission, which improves drivability and enhances fuel efficiency. The new eight-speed also is available with the 5.7-liter V-8 HEMI—Chrysler’s first application with a V-8 (TorqueFlite 8 with V-8 is late availability).
|Interactive decel fuel shut-off expands opportunities for turning off fuel to the engine during deceleration events thereby improving fuel economy in both city and highway driving. Click to enlarge.|
The exclusive new transmission is operated by a dash-mounted rotary e-shift dial, which enables quick blind-shift transitions from “Reverse” to “Drive” when towing or navigating out of mud, snow or busy parking lots.
Thermal management. Another segment exclusive with the eight-speed transmission is a new thermal management system that is designed to quickly raise engine and transmission fluid temperatures. By raising fluid temperatures, parasitic losses resulting from high-viscosity engine oil and transmission fluid can be reduced, improving fuel efficiency by 1.7%.
As the engine temperature increases to pre-determined levels, warm engine coolant is circulated through a thermal exchange unit, which also contains dedicated pathways for transmission fluid. As the thermal exchange unit heats up, it also heats up the transmission fluid. This action dramatically reduces warm up time for the transmission, improving fuel economy, drivability and shift quality. In most powertrain configurations, the transmission heats up independently of the engine, delaying warm-up time and reducing efficiency.
|Stop-start technology increases fuel efficiency up to 3.3%. Click to enlarge.|
Stop-start. Adding to industry firsts in a pickup truck is the application of stop-start, another fuel saving feature available on select 2013 Ram 1500 models. This new system improves fuel economy by up to 3.3%, an increase of about one mile-per-gallon to the truck’s city drive cycle.
Stop-start increases fuel efficiency by shutting the engine off when the truck comes to a complete stop. Amenities (radio, gauges, heating or air conditioning, etc.) continue to operate, making the operation transparent to the driver. The engine restarts automatically when the driver releases the brake, allowing seamless acceleration.
Enabling components have been upgraded for heavy-duty operation on models equipped with the stop-start feature.
Aerodynamics. Extensive wind-tunnel testing honed the 2013 Ram 1500 exterior shape. The cooperative application of active aerodynamics and modern styling led to a 6% aerodynamic improvement on the new truck. The 2013 Ram 1500 Regular Cab 4x2 coefficient of drag (Cd) is .363—compared with a Cd of .386 for a 2012 Ram 1500 Regular Cab 4x2.
Electric power steering. The 2013 Ram 1500 features electric power steering (EPS). By using an electric motor to power the truck’s rack and pinion steering system, the engine is relieved from the task of constantly turning a hydraulic pump, improving fuel efficiency up to 1.8% and adding five horsepower. Also, the introduction of EPS reduces complexity by removing the previous hydraulic pump, high-pressure hydraulic hoses and cooling apparatus.
Weight reduction. Weight reduction is an important variable in the fuel economy equation. Reducing the weight of components improves fuel economy and allows for more content without affecting payload or towing capability.
A newly redesigned frame benefits from a weight reduction of up to 30 pounds (13.6 kg) by using advanced high-strength steels. Also benefitting from advanced metal, new box floor cross-members in the bed eliminates seven pounds and a new front bumper design removes four pounds. Additionally, aluminum lower control arms in the front suspension contribute to additional weight reduction and handling. The Ram 1500 also features an aluminum hood saving 26 pounds (11.8 kg).
Underneath the hood, the combination of the new Pentastar V-6 and new TorqueFlite 8 transmission reduces the weight by approximately 76 pounds (34.5 kg). The V-8 and TorqueFlite 8 together reduce weight by more than 30 pounds (13.6 kg).
Pulse-width modulation. Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is a new fuel-saving technology for the Ram 1500, which reduces parasitic electrical load. The technology not only eliminates unnecessary load on the alternator but also improves the durability of benefitting systems. Fuel delivery and the forward cooling fan are two systems that take advantage of PWM, adding a 0.4% improvement in fuel efficiency.
Low rolling-resistance tires. The 2013 Ram 1500 features standard low rolling-resistance tires to minimize wasted energy and decrease required rolling effort. Tread patterns, advanced materials and millions of miles of testing result in greater fuel efficiency.
Chassis. The 2013 Ram 1500 uses a newly designed frame with improved, low torsion (stiffness) attributes that increase stability and handling precision while decreasing noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) up to 30%, depending on drive cycle. Front rails feature 20% increased yield strength from the use of high-strength steel. Among other features, the new frame design incorporates a new powertrain, new air suspension and new body-mounting technology.
Portions of the frame are hydroformed for dimensional accuracy (hydroforming reduces the amount of welding that leads to distortion), and side rails are fully boxed. The front frame section incorporates advanced, high-strength steel that maintains overall strength and durability while saving approximately 30 pounds (13.6 kg). To further improve NVH, new larger body mounts are located on the front frame rails and at the C-pillar.
New standard front independent suspension combines redesigned upper control arms, aluminum lower control arms and retuned geometry with coil springs for improved responsiveness and handling. New, more robust ball joints on the front suspension yield greater durability and are engineered with improved sealing methods.
Uconnect. The Uconnect Media Centers R3 and R4 provide the Ram 1500 with a built-in cellular connection so vehicle occupants are automatically connected to a variety of new services and the internet with WiFi hotspot capability. The new Uconnect Media Centers provide a direct connection to emergency services when the new 911 button found on the rearview mirror is pushed. Ram 1500 customers also will automatically receive regular vehicle health reports and be able to remotely lock or unlock truck doors, start the vehicle, and flash lights from any distance via the web or a smartphone application.
Ram truck owners will be able to access select, certified in-vehicle applications. Driving-relevant applications will be introduced over time and are designed specifically for in-vehicle use. The certified applications are easily controlled with natural voice recognition or steering wheel controls to keep drivers focused on the road.
Applications are updatable over the air and are downloaded directly to the Uconnect Media Center, so features remain current. Ram truck owners will be able to evolve their in-vehicle connectivity experience by downloading app updates or new applications as they become available directly to the Uconnect Media Center from inside the car, via the 8.4-inch touchscreen.
Also enhancing driver convenience, Uconnect features one-step voice command of navigation, the ability to check real-time fuel prices and listen and respond to text messages, combined with familiar knobs for climate and comfort controls.
Sprint is the strategic wireless partner for the next generation Uconnect Access system.
Powernet electrical architecture. As the Ram 1500 continues to offer more feature content, it created the need for a technology that allows more information to be electronically communicated within the truck. The new Powernet system, used for the first time on a Ram 1500, allows both high- and low-speed data networks to be equipped with as many as 40 individual modules, all designed to improve vehicle performance and enhance the comfort and safety of driver and passengers.
Within the Powernet high-speed network, each module (e.g., electronic stability control) processes its individual data and transmits the appropriate commands within the vehicle to activate any additional systems (e.g. anti-lock brake system and cruise control). Uconnect leverages Powernet to deliver fast response time, and share critical information between the 8.4-inch touchscreen and the vehicle information center. The Powernet architecture also is the backbone that supports the Uconnect Access services and applications, including the Ram 1500 vehicle health report and remote services.
Safety and security. On the safety and security front, the Ram 1500 offers more than 45 active and passive safety and security features, including standard front airbags, front and rear side-curtain air bags and seat-mounted side pelvic-thorax air bags with Enhanced Accident Response System, knee bolsters, seat-belt pretensioners, BeltAlert System; and available adjustable pedals, ParkSense rear park assist and ParkView rear back-up camera. The 2013 Ram 1500 also includes standard electronic stability control (ESC), hosting a number of technologies including all-speed traction control, trailer-sway control, Hill-start Assist and anti-lock brake system (ABS).
The new 2013 Ram 1500 now features available Keyless Enter ’n Go technology, which allows the doors to be unlocked and the vehicle ignition to be started without having to touch the key fob. Also new for 2013, remote central locking includes the RamBox cargo management system and tailgate power locks, creating a convenient solution for locking down the truck with the push of a button.
An available remote start feature allows a driver to start their vehicle from up to 300 feet away. Door controls, illuminated entry, engine immobilizer and panic alert are standard features with the Keyless Enter ’n Go system. Auto rain-sensing wipers and SmartBeam also find their way into the feature availability list, adding to a truckload of content offered in the new 2013 Ram 1500.
The 2013 Ram 1500 is backed with a best-in-class 5-year / 100,000-Mile Powertrain Limited Warranty. The Powertrain Limited Warranty covers the cost of all parts and labor needed to repair a covered powertrain component—engine, transmission and drive system. Coverage also includes free towing to the nearest Ram dealer, if necessary. The warranty also is transferable allowing customers who sell their truck during the warranty period, to pass the coverage onto the new owner.
The standard 3-year / 36,000-Mile Basic Limited Warranty provides bumper-to-bumper coverage for the Ram 1500, from the body to the electrical system.
The 2013 Ram 1500 is built at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant (Warren, Mich.), which has built more than 12.5 million trucks since it started operations in 1938. Regular Cab models of the 2013 Ram 1500 are built at the Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Saltillo, Mexico.
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