When Chrysler announced early in 2014 that the 2015 Ram 1500 pickup offering would include a diesel engine option, dealer orders poured in. The company was so inundated with demand for diesel 1500 Rams that it announced it would increase its planned production of diesel engine models to one out of every five Rams rolling out the factory doors.
In 1989 the brand was also the first to offer a diesel-powered three-quarter ton to the North American market when it stuffed a Cummins under the hood of one, which also boosted Ram truck sales numbers.
“Innovation sometimes comes with risk, but being first to market with a diesel engine for the half-ton segment has shown to be a great decision for the Ram Brand,” said Bob Hegbloom, president and CEO, Ram truck brand. “The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is a game-changer in the industry, and has proved to be a key to conquest sales over our competitors.”
To keep pace with the rate of that conquest of the market, Chrysler says it has sped up production at the Warren, Michigan, plant where Rams are built, so 100 more Ram 1500s a day now roll off the line — that’s 28,585 more trucks a year than it had been building. It is also expanding the plant because of the 52-month sales streak the brand is enjoying.
The turbocharged, V-6 3.0-litre EcoDiesel engine used in the Ram 1500 is manufactured by Fiat Group Automobiles’ VM Motori in Cento Italy. Chrysler has used VM Motori diesel engines since 1992. Remember, Fiat Group owns Chrysler.
In the 2015 Ram the EcoDiesel engine gets mated to the brand-new TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission, providing four more gears than the previous offering. Together, the new power train system delivers a U.S. EPA fuel efficiency rating of 28 m.p.g., torque of 420 pound feet and up to 9,200 pounds (4,181 kilgrams) of towing capability. Chrysler claims that 28 m.p.g. rating is the best fuel economy performance of any half-ton pickup currently on the market.
Of course you can still get the 3.6-litre, V-6 Pentastar or 5.7-litre Hemi gas engines in a new Ram if you really want to.
To help get those fuel consumption numbers down, Ram trucks have incorporated a variety of innovations to reduce parasitic load on the engine from accessory systems. Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is one of them. It not only eliminates unnecessary load on the alternator but also improves the durability of some electrical systems. The cooling fan, too, takes advantage of PWM, adding a 0.2 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency.
And as opposed to a “fixed” displacement compressor in the air conditioning system, the Ram’s variable displacement type automatically varies its pumping capacity to meet air conditioning demands rather than working in an on-off cycle. As a result, the load on the engine is reduced, but the system still maintains a consistent cab temperature. The technology also reduces noise and vibration.
To carry a load and further improve fuel economy, the 2015 Ram continues to use an air suspension system, which also provides better ride control and off-road capability along with automatic load levelling.
Ram launches the 1500 Rebel
Offering an off-road-style package on the Ram 1500 has been on our to-do list for some time but the right combination didn’t present itself until now,” said Bob Hegbloom, president and CEO of the Ram Truck Brand. “The Rebel drops right into a core segment of the truck market with unique design cues and can-do attitude backed by Ram Truck engineering.”
To give the new Rebel that “can do” attitude, engineers added an extra inch to the standard Ram ride height and slipped 33-inch tires under the fenders. It also sets itself apart from the pack of run-of-the-mill models with unique grille, bumper and tailgate styling. Clearly, this truck is meant to compete with Ford’s Raptor.
The Rebel gets a host of other unique features ranging from its undercarriage to the interior layout. And under the hood you can opt for a 3.6-litre V-6 or an iconic 5.7-litre Hemi. Both are mated to the eight-speed TorqueFlite transmission.
Rebels will begin arriving at Chrysler dealerships early in the second half of 2015.