As with many new and established entries in the full-size half-ton pickup truck class, the name of the game is saving weight and making existing powertrains more efficient to maximize fuel economy. The 2019 Ram 1500, debuting today at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, is no different. But some of the tricks it employs are interesting.
The base engine in the new Ram 1500 will continue to be the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 . However, it will now be equipped with Ram's new mild-hybrid system called eTorque, providing a huge boost in off-the-line power. Standard on all trim levels, the eTorque V-6 will add 90 extra pounds-feet of torque through a 48-volt belt-drive setup that essentially bolts onto the back of the engine to interact with the next-generation TorqueFlite eight-speed transmission. This transmission will be standard on all Ram 1500s equipped with the V-6 or V-8. The mild-hybrid system provides the Ram with stop-start functioning to improve fuel economy during city driving; it also provides brake energy regeneration. Stop-start can be turned off with a switch near the rotary transmission dial.
The eTorque system replaces a traditional alternator with a motor generator that feeds a 48-volt current to a 300-watt-hour lithium-ion battery pack (air cooled and mounted to the rear wall of the cabin) where the needed power can be used at takeoff or to turn over the engine when stop-start is activated.
The 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 will be offered with or without the eTorque system and, we assume, the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel will eventually be offered in the new 1500 as well — although Ram is not saying whether the eTorque setup will be adapted to the EcoDiesel. The eTorque system generates an additional 130 pounds-feet of torque for V-8s equipped with it
Ram has not released estimated or EPA fuel-economy numbers for the new 1500, but we're guessing the new eTorque system will deliver at least 3 or 4 extra mpgs for combined ratings. Official EPA 2019 numbers won't be released until closer to the truck's on-sale date later this year.
The current 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 generates 305 horsepower and 269 pounds-feet of torque, while the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 gets 395 hp and 401 pounds-feet of torque. Pricing for the pickup will be announced close to that date as well.
Cars.com photos by Christian Lantry