The electric pickup truck space is probably due to be the most interesting segment to watch in the next few years. Americans love trucks, and whichever automaker can figure out how to keep truck owners happy without gasoline is probably going to make a lot of money. Ram has a very interesting mixed approach to the future of trucks: a conventional 2025 Ram 1500 with a downsized inline-six engine, an upcoming all-electric truck, and this in-betweener: the new 2025 Ram Ramcharger, which is about to be one of the more fascinating trucks around.
The Ramcharger presents a novel solution to range anxiety and towing concerns in the EV world: a gasoline engine that's used to power the battery, but not the wheels themselves. It's a similar playbook to the ones run by the old Chevrolet Volt and range-extended BMW i3, though those cars parted ways in whether their internal combustion motors powered the wheels from time to time or not. The Ramcharger seems to be more like a big i3 in truck form in that, in Ram's words, "there is no direct mechanical path from the engine to the wheels."
Gallery: 2025 Ram 1500 Ramcharger
With an estimated range of 690 miles and towing and payload capacity that beats the Ford F-150 Lightning and Chevrolet Silverado EV, it seems like Ram might be onto something here for the right buyer.
But I had to know: why did Ram use a 3.6-liter V6 to power the on-board 130-kW generator here? After all, the Ramcharger is also backed up by a 92-kilowatt-hour battery pack, which is on the bigger-to-medium size for power units (although less than half the battery size of the Silverado EV.) Those are two substantive power sources.
Why did Ram go that route and not, say, Stellantis' 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo engine instead? Couldn't that be a suitable power source for the generator and with, in theory, less fuel consumption and better emissions?
The latter may be objectively true. But when I asked Ram spokesperson Trevor Dorchies why this choice was made, he said that it has to do with supplying adequate power for the towing and hauling these owners will want.
"The 3.6-liter V-6 is a natural fit as it offers the capability and durability needed while towing," Dorchies said. "In the case of a heavy load (towing) or wide-open throttle, both battery and generator power are used."
Dorchies also added that noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) concerns were part of Ram's decision – meaning, engineers wanted to provide an experience that felt smooth and seamless. I can't blame them there; the range-extended BMW i3 used a tiny 647cc two-cylinder gasoline engine as backup, and it sounded like a piece of industrial equipment when it was running hard.
"The 3.6-liter V-6 and on-board generator were the best fit for matching the power output of the engine to the power needed to be put out by the generator," Dorchies said. "We also recognized that the 3.6-liter V-6 was the best choice for NVH and aligns better for smooth, quiet operation even with the generator running."
Finally, I wanted to know why the payload and towing ratings on the Ramcharger seem so much higher than competitors. Dorchies was a little cagier on details here, but he says it has to do with the truck's new platform. "The 2025 1500 Ramcharger utilizes the all-new STLA Frame platform and is designed specifically for full-size electric vehicles featuring a body-on-frame design," he said. "This new frame allows for additional towing and payload capability."
I still have more questions that Ram isn't ready to make public yet, including the official EPA-rated range, fuel economy with the V6 engine and tailpipe emissions. (I'm also wondering how much better any of those things might have been with a smaller gasoline engine.) Our friends at The Autopian ran some back-of-napkin math and they speculate about 20 MPG for the gas engine alone, but that may be less relevant than the total range and eMPG.
Regardless, it's a remarkably interesting truck. And given the immense success of the F-150 hybrid as of late, it seems positioned to do extremely well. And it offers plenty of other EV party tricks, like vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-home bi-directional charging, so it could be what pushes a lot of truck loyalists into the electric life. I look forward to learning more in the coming months and hopefully hearing from Ram's engineers about exactly how this is all going to work.
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