Op/Ed: Ram 1500 V8 Plug-In Hybrid? New Jeep 4Xe EV Technology Will Transfer to the Trucks

A 5.7L HEMI V8 plug-in hybrid could offer 453 horsepower combined!

2021 ram 1500 2022 hemi hybrid plug-in ev
2021 Ram 1500 Limited (image: Ram Trucks)

Will the 2021 or 2022 Ram 1500 offer a plug-in hybrid powertrain option? It is possible and very likely as Jeep rolls out its new lineup of plug-in gas/electric hybrids.

The pickup truck world keeps evolving. Ford recently announced its 2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid, and Jeep has just unveiled two plug-in hybrid SUVs (2021 Jeep Wrangler 4Xe and the Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept).

Traditionally – the term “Hybrid” was associated with somewhat boring economy cars. This definition has been changing in recent year as the latest gas/electric hybrids turned their focus on performance and capability. The new Ford F-150 is positioning their hybrid at the top of their high performance engine offerings. The F-150 Hybrid combines the 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 with an electric motor/transmission combination.

We now know pretty much everything about the Wrangler 4Xe plug-in Hybrid. It combines a 2.0-liter Turbo I4 with two electric motors/transmission system for a total of 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. This is a lot of power as it is! Will Ram simply transplant this 2.0-liter I4 plug-in Hybrid into their half-ton trucks? This might be the case in the more distant future, but I would argue the company needs to start by offering a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 plug-in hybrid! While a 2.0-liter system is powerful enough, pickup truck customers may be reluctant to accept it in their big trucks. The HEMI hybrid system may be the “Ice Breaker” (pun intended) that is needed to introduce further electrification to the Ram truck lineup.

The Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept is hiding a plug-in hybrid powertrain, but Jeep would not disclose what it actually is. The Grand Wagoneer shares much of its frame and chassis with the new Ram 1500, although the Wagoneer is setup with an independent rear suspension (not a solid rear axle). The new 2022 Grant Wagoneer is a truck-based full-size three-row SUV with a plug-in hybrid. So why can’t the Ram 1500 have some of that as well?

What would such a HEMI plug-in Hybrid system look like? Well, the Wrangler 4Xe is using the new 8-speed transmission with a 134 horsepower electric motor/generator sandwiched within it. The 2021 Ram 1500 V8 eTorque system uses a 16 horsepower belt-driven starter/generator electric motor. The latest 5.7-liter V8 is offering 395 horsepower. Let’s do the equation.

Ram 1500 HEMI plug-in Hybrid: 395 hp + 16 hp + 134 = 545 hp.

Of course, the electric and gas power outputs are not directly additive. It’s because the engines and motor produce their maximum power at different RPMs and different times during the acceleration. Assuming a 17% reduction in combined power, the total HEMI / electric system output could be around 453 horsepower. This is NOT a scientific analysis. This is just an estimate based on Wrangler 4Xe combined power.

545 hp – 17% = 453 hp

Still, such a V8 hybrid would offer well over 500 lb-ft of combined torque. If you combine the healthy V8 sound with the all-electric plug-in capability – this becomes an attractive proposition for any premium truck buyer.

There are two problems: overall cost of the system and the additional weight of the 17 kWh battery pack. If Ram uses a slightly smaller battery pack, then these two parameters could become more manageable.

What do you think? Do you think the Jeep Grand Wagoneer and the Ram 1500 will offer a V8 plug-in hybrid system? Should they even do it? Let us know in the comments below.