Electrification is the buzzword of 2023 for the automotive industry, and Ram just put their cards on the table with their 2025 Ramcharger. As impending legislation and social pressure force more companies to bring out EVs, manufacturers hedge their losses by making EVs out of vehicles with the largest profit margins. That meant bringing out EV pickup trucks for the Detroit big three – GM, Ford, and Stellantis (aka Fiat Chrysler). Ford beat their Detroit competitors to the punch in 2022 with the Lightening, and GM has a fully electric truck, also under the Chevrolet brand, coming sometime in 2024. That left Stellantis’ truck brand Ram bringing up the rear. Despite the drawbacks, their entry into the market, marketed as the 2025 Ramcharger REx, might be the best thing for people hoping for more EV adoption.
What is the 2025 Ramcharger?
Let’s take a closer look at the 2025 Ramcharger. Announced to the public on November 6th, 2023, the 2025 Ramcharger takes a different approach to electrification. Not a new idea, but a different one. The Ramcharger uses a technology called a series hybrid. Series hybrid vehicles use electric motors to power the vehicle, a battery for energy storage, and an internal combustion engine to charge the batteries and extend the range. It’s the same premise the Chevrolet Volt used. It’s also something diesel locomotives have used for decades. It’s how Ram is using this technology in the Ramcharger that’s interesting. Are you confused or want to read more? Check out this deep dive John Voelcker did for Car and Driver.
The 2025 Ramcharger Rex (Ram says REx stands for “Range Extended Electric Vehicles”) uses two electric motors for an estimated 663 horsepower and 615 pound-feet of torque. Both numbers are well ahead of what most current half-ton trucks put up. It may also feature a 92 kWh battery, one of the biggest on the market by 2023 standards. Once the battery runs low, a V6 internal combustion engine fires up to charge the system, so the ride doesn’t have to end at the nearest supercharger. The V6 engine is reduced in power in favour of fuel efficiency, but it’s not doing anything more than powering a generator. The result is an early untested estimated range of 690 miles (1,110km), a considerable number by EV and even half-ton standards if accurate.
So, what does this mean for me?
The biggest threat to EVs is range anxiety, followed closely by charging infrastructure issues and reluctance to change. These are all valid issues that even people who advocate or own EVs have encountered. Series hybrids, or range extenders, tackle a few hang-ups in one go. Range anxiety is an obvious one. As long as the Ramcharger has fuel in its tank, the V6 engine can juice the twin motors, at least theoretically. Fill up at the gas pump while driving or plug into the supercharger when you take a longer break. It’s an easy answer to the question, “But what do I do when I drive long trips?” Half-ton truck drivers now have an EV for most of their driving, around town driving or short commutes, and an onboard gas generator for those long-range trips.
That onboard gas generator highlights another strength the 2025 Ramcharger has. Pickup trucks need functionality; they’re meant as working vehicles. At least, this is what most truck owners tell themselves. In addition to addressing the issues that make people reluctant to buy an EV, the Ramcharger stays true to what makes an EV unique. The Ramcharger accelerates stupidly fast for a truck; the Ram set a target 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds. Electric motors have no torque curve, making it an impressive hauling machine. RV owners, in particular, should pay close attention to the 2025 Ramcharger because it’s perfect for off-the-grid RVing. The 2025 is likely the most modern-looking truck yet, inviting new members to join the truckyeah family. Ram set impressive towing and payload targets for the 2025 Ramcharger, estimating up to 14,000 pounds hauling behind or 2,600 pounds in the truck. Ram also claims up to 140 kWh charge rate from Level 3 DC fast chargers. Even by pure EV standards, these are impressive numbers if they pull them off.
But it still falls short.
The reality is the 2025 Ramcharger REx is still in pre-release mode. While you can get a preorder, there’s no way to spec one out. Our numbers today are all estimates or targets that Ram hopes to hit. How the Ramcharger performs in real life will be very different. Ram and Stellantis, on the whole, are still new to the hybrid and EV game. While they have a PHEV minivan, the Pacifica Hybrid, it has suffered multiple recalls and lagging reliability. It’s not a solid history to give insight into the longevity of the Ramcharger. Just look to Ford’s launch of the F150 Lightening, which is plagued with bugs, mechanical issues, and eye-watering sticker prices. It’s unlikely the 2025 Ramcharger will escape any of these first-generation issues, amplified by the fact it has double the systems to fail. The same goes for how digitized the interior is, with three massive LCD screens and limited buttons; how long before the electronics crap out?
That’s a great transition into the most prominent issue the Ramcharger has its series hybrid drivetrain. Yes, I just went through a section explaining the benefits, but its drawbacks are equally significant. A series hybrid gives you the advantages of both the EV and internal combustion worlds and their drawbacks. An EV has much less maintenance than a combustion engine, lowering total ownership costs. The Ramcharger has both. An EV has unique and new mechanical issues, while a combustion engine is mechanically well understood. A 2025 Ramcharger has both. Batteries are heavy and bulky, and so are combustion engines. A Ramcharger has both. You get the picture. As much as it’s easy to see the benefits a series hybrid like the 2025 Ramcharger has, the drawbacks are too significant to ignore.
So, why is the 2025 Ramcharger worth watching?
We need more EVs on the roads today, and a range-extender truck like the Ramcharger takes many urbanite trucks off the street while preserving our need for the occasional long-distance trip. There are still a lot of unanswered questions, like reliability, maintenance, and practical day-to-day things like how the Ramcharger will keep fuel from spoiling in the tank. But the reality is that truck owners already know the pros and cons of owning a combustion engine. The drawbacks aren’t unfamiliar, and we already live with them. The 2025 Ramcharger doesn’t introduce a new kind of issue, but it doesn’t take any away, either. What it does do, however, is take away a lot of the arguments against adopting an EV as a truck owner. It steps up as an easy-to-sell gateway vehicle to ween pickup truck owners away from their V8s and into a brave new world.
Say what you will about EVs or the Ram brand in general, but the 2025 Ramcharger REx is one we’re watching. It might be the game-changer we’re still waiting to see in the half-ton truck world.