Whether you’re excited about it or not, there’s no mistaking electrified trucks are coming in force within the next couple years. There’s a wide swath of fully-electric models like the Tesla Cybertruck, Rivian R1T and even the F-150, but it’s not stopping there. GM also threw its hat in the ring with the GMC Hummer EV, to say little of the other EVs it has in the pipeline, and now FCA CEO Mike Manley also confirmed Wednesday that Ram will enter the electrified truck arena.
Fiat Chrysler’s third-quarter earnings call was the venue in which Manley made this announcement, though there are still a few question marks remaining. “I do see that there will be an electrified Ram pickup in the marketplace, and I would ask you just to stay tuned for a little while, and we’ll tell you exactly when that will be,” the Detroit Free Press reports on his conversation with analysts. The automaker has been more bearish than its rivals on approaching the electrification issue, it’s clear that executives are aware of the pressure to lean into the forthcoming shift.
Manley’s comments echo what he said on the second-quarter earnings call. “Obviously, pickup trucks is a key franchise for us, and we’re not going to sit on the sideline if there is a danger that our position gets diluted going forward.” This time around, though, he was slightly more specific on where the company’s thinking, now that it appears they do face a real danger of losing ground to both Ford and GM, as both companies revealed their EV trucks this year.
How the move toward electrification could look
While FCA is signaling a greater shift into electrification, clearly they aren’t done with internal combustion just yet. The berserk 6.2-liter supercharged V8 continues to serve in its passenger cars, as well as the upcoming 2021 Ram TRX. On the other hand, they have been dabbling in mild hybrid technology by way of their eTorque system. Now, some platforms like the Jeep Wrangler are taking on plug-in hybrid technology, so it stands to reason that’s where Ram may head before going fully electric.
How Ram decides to maneuver here will determine its fortunes against the encroaching competition. The brand doesn’t just have to look toward perennial rivals Ford and GM, either. An electrified Ram could, as Manley implies, keep the brand from being outflanked even by unconventional electric rivals. We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out, particularly bearing FCA’s merger with France-based Peugeot Group, but more competition is largely a net positive for the consumer.