A Ram EV? We'll See How Those Other Guys Manage First, Manley Hints

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
a ram ev we ll see how those other guys manage first manley hints

Quite suddenly, large electric pickups have become the hottest thing you can’t yet buy. But they’re out there, looming, just waiting to see whether demand for this embyonic segment materializes.

Ford, General Motors, Rivian, Tesla, and Lordstown Motors all have a stake in the game, with the next two years promising to reveal exactly how much pent-up thirst exists for these battery-bound behemoths. Watching from the sidelines is Fiat Chrysler, an automaker whose historical aversion to EVs is a matter of record.

Not surprisingly, FCA plans to take a wait-and-see approach.

Asked about the ambitions of FCA’s rivals during an earnings call this week, CEO Mike Manley didn’t hop on board the gotta-have-an-EV-truck bandwagon. He’ll catch the ride if it proves itself worthwhile, not before.

“Pickup is a key franchise for us and we’re not going to sit on the sidelines if there’s a danger that our position gets diluted,” Manley said, per Bloomberg.

For now, the automaker is content to offer two flavors of full-size Ram, one old, one new, with heavy duty models rounding out the stable. A midsize would be nice, but that possible project’s still cloaked in uncertainty. For now, the Ram 1500 Classic, soon to enter its third year of production, serves those looking to spend less.

At least for now, it beats spending precious dollars on a costly development program with an uncertain payoff.

Despite unkind words spoken by former CEO Sergio Marchionne about the former Fiat 500e, FCA isn’t uninterested in electrification. Mild hybrids already abound in the cash-cow Ram and Jeep brands. The global popularity of its Jeep brand depends on widespread hybrid availability, and that’s just what the brand is going to get. While electrified Renegades and Compasses will tempt buyers mainly on the east side of the Atlantic, larger models like the next-generation Grand Cherokee also stand to go green. Count the upcoming Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer among that cohort, along with the looming plug-in Wrangler.

FCA’s merger partner, Groupe PSA, revealed a new modular electric vehicle platform this week, stating that it should find its way beneath compact and midsize vehicles by 2023. If FCA needs any more non-pickup EV help in the future, the platform’s there for the taking.

Of course, should demand for big EV pickups take off, there’s always the possibility of tapping Rivian for its in-house skateboard platform, saving the automaker time and R&D costs. Ford went its own way with the F-150 EV, so the two wouldn’t be platform buddies.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]
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  • Scoutdude Scoutdude on Aug 03, 2020

    They are already diluting their position by continuing to sell the Classic and not updating the 3/4 ton and up trucks.

  • Teddyc73 Teddyc73 on Aug 03, 2020

    "Not surprisingly, FCA plans to take a wait-and-see approach." Then if approved we will get a delay-and-wait approach.

  • GregLocock Two adjacent states in Australia have different attitudes to roadworthy inspections. In NSW they are annual. In Victoria they only occur at change of ownership. As you'd expect this leads to many people in Vic keeping their old car.So if the worrywarts are correct Victoria's roads would be full of beaten up cars and so have a high accident rate compared with NSW. Oh well, the stats don't agree.https://www.lhd.com.au/lhd-insights/australian-road-death-statistics/
  • Lorenzo In Massachusetts, they used to require an inspection every 6 months, checking your brake lights, turn signals, horn, and headlight alignment, for two bucks.Now I get an "inspection" every two years in California, and all they check is the smog. MAYBE they notice the tire tread, squeaky brakes, or steering when they drive it into the bay, but all they check is the smog equipment and tailpipe emissions.For all they would know, the headlights, horn, and turn signals might not work, and the car has a "speed wobble" at 45 mph. AFAIK, they don't even check EVs.
  • Not Tire shop mechanic tugging on my wheel after I complained of grinding noise didn’t catch that the ball joint was failing. Subsequently failed to prevent the catastrophic failure of the ball joint and separation of the steering knuckle from the car! I’ve never lived in a state that required annual inspection, but can’t say that having the requirement has any bearing on improving safety given my experience with mechanics…
  • Mike978 Wow 700 days even with the recent car shortages.
  • Lorenzo The other automakers are putting silly horsepower into the few RWD vehicles they have, just as Stellantis is about to kill off the most appropriate vehicles for that much horsepower. Somehow, I get the impression the OTHER Carlos, Tavares, not Ghosn, doesn't have a firm grasp of the American market.