Is FCA planning a Ram ProMaster City Plug-in Hybrid Van? [Op/Ed]

The big question here is – would building a Ram ProMaster City Plug-in Hybrid be profitable enough to make it a reality? This rumor comes from two sources: an associate near the Chrysler proving grounds in Chelsea, MI saw a partially disguised Chrysler Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid next to a Ram ProMaster City that had, according to the source, “An unusual marking on its driver-side front fender, like a small fuel door.” The second part of this rumor comes from a blogger in Europe that saw a disguised Fiat Doblo running around with appeared to be an extra cover over the right fender/wing.

This is tantalizing stuff for small van fans in the United States. The current Ram ProMaster City comes equipped with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 178 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque. It gets 21 mpg city and 29 mpg highway, which is already top-notch economy numbers. Part of that is thanks to a 9-speed automatic transmission.

Now, let’s look at what the potential is if they use the same system that’s about to show up in the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid.

2018 chrysler pacifica hybrid prototype
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid prototype

“The All-New Pacifica offers the first ever hybrid in its class. The available hybrid models are the most versatile and functional plug-in hybrids on the market, seamlessly transitioning between full hybrid mode and gas to give you up to 80 MPGe and a 30-mile EV range. The (All-New) 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid gets a 530-mile gas and electric driving range.” – –

Adding to the speculation, the Chrysler Pacifica’s hybrid system is built to fit into the same space as the ZF-nine-speed automatic transmission. The same transmission used in the Ram ProMaster City. The system is supposed to put out 260 horsepower combined, which is significantly more than the 178 hp output in the ProMaster City’s 4-cylinder. The Chrysler Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid has a beefy 16 kWh battery and uses a 3.6-liter V6 Atkinson cycle engine. The engine size might be an issue for the Ram ProMaster City Plug-in Hybrid’s development potential.

nissan e-nv200 electric van
Nissan e-NV200

Another interesting reference is the all-electric e-NV200 commercial van that Nissan sells in Europe and other markets. This little van is capable of up to 106 miles per charge (based of European test cycle). It’s an NV200 van that uses the electric power unit from the Nissan LEAF. Businesses in big and crowded cities may find hybrid or full-electric small vans a winning combination.

Please remember, this is pure conjecture and speculation based on murky reports from two questionable sources.

What do you think? Do you think a Ram ProMaster City Plug-in Hybrid makes sense? What about a full-size Ram ProMaster Hybrid van? Having a hybrid power-plant that can be used in a multitude of vehicles makes sense to me. What do you think?

Speaking of the Ram ProMaster City, we’re the only video channel that subjected it to a towing test!

Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.
Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed
Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.