Home » Does The Ram Ramcharger Hybrid Get 20 MPG In Gas-Only Mode? Check Our Math

Does The Ram Ramcharger Hybrid Get 20 MPG In Gas-Only Mode? Check Our Math

2025 Ram 1500 Ramcharger Limited
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The upcoming 2025 Ram Ramcharger is an interesting beast, even beyond its double-barelled moniker. The truck looks to offer serious power and long range between refills and recharges thanks to its series hybrid setup. Here at The Autopian, we’ve been doing the sums on this setup, and we’re interested in the mileage this new rig will achieve.

Full specifications for the Ramcharger aren’t yet available, and we’ve asked Ram for more details on MPG, and they’re not ready to announce that. What we do know is that the new truck will have two electric motors driving the wheels, good for a full 663 horsepower. It will also carry a big V6 engine running on gasoline. However, this engine will solely be used to charge the truck’s large 92 kWh battery, and will not drive the wheels mechanically. The battery is expected to offer 145 miles of range in pure EV operation, while the 27 gallon fuel tank is said to extend the truck’s total range to 690 miles all up.

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It’s those latter figures that have us curious. If we subtract the EV range from the total combined range, we get a figure of 545 miles being contributed by the gasoline engine. If you drive 545 miles on 27 gallons of gas, you’re getting a fuel economy figure of about 20 mpg.

It bears noting that this is just a back-of-the-envelope figure from incomplete information, and is not a combined figure including the battery’s contribution. It shouldn’t be regarded as an official figure, and it doesn’t come from any proper EPA city/highway/combined testing schedule.

Ram 1500 Ramcharger Callouts 2 (1)

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It’s worth putting that figure into context. The existing 2023 Ram 1500 equipped with the mild-hybrid Pentastar V6 with eTorque (almost certainly a significantly lighter truck) gets 20 mpg and 25 mpg highway. Thus, the figure is around about in the right ballpark for a big heavy truck. Sure, hybrids can be really efficient at times, but you’re simply not going to get a full-sized truck like the Ramcharger posting the same figures as something like a comparatively tiny BMW i3, which delivers somewhere in the ballpark of 35 mpg from its range-extender engine.

One question that will be of interest to owners will be how the Ramcharger’s gasoline engine works at different states of charge. Generally, a series hybrid won’t run its range extending engine at full battery, as the power generated would have nowhere to go. Typically, the engine would be fired up when the battery is at around a 75% state of charge or lower if it’s desired to keep the battery range available for later in a trip. (ex: if you wanted to just use the gas engine on the highway so that, when you arrive in the city, you can maximize vehicle efficiency using EV mode. -DT].

There may indeed be a certain point on the battery’s state-of-charge curve at which charging via the range extender is most efficient. Ram could implement this as a “efficiency” mode, where the battery is kept roughly at this level while the generator is running. This could allow the engine to run at a steady, efficient operating point and not have to adapt to the energy needs of the vehicle as it attempts steep grades and tows – with the semi-charged battery acting as a “buffer” to allow this.

If the battery is allowed to run down before kicking the engine on (i.e. if the battery is empty), the driving experience changes. With the battery empty, there would not be enough juice to run the Ramcharger’s 663 horsepower motors at full power. The truck would be limited to the 174 horsepower from the generator hooked up to the Pentastar V6, which could be running flat-out. Thus, it might be desirable to have the range extender setup to run in such a way that there’s always some battery power left to keep good acceleration on tap at all times and to keep the ICE running efficiently.

P90129298 Lowres Bmw I3 With Range Ex
The BMW i3 (pictured, cutaway) has a tiny 0.65-liter range extender that’s only good for 33 horsepower. It means that the i3 can’t use the full power of iits 167 hp electric motor when the battery runs out of juice. It was also hobbled in the US to only kick on its range extender at the last minute in order to meet California’s BEVx category restrictions.

It bears noting that historically, certain series hybrids have been restricted in their mode of operation due to government regulations. The BMW i3, for example, was originally setup in the US to only engage its range extender when the battery state of charge (SOC) reached 6%. This, as I understand it, was done to fit into the restrictive BEVx category laid out by CARB in 2012 to secure thousands of dollars in government credits for vehicles sold.

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It specified range-extended electric vehicles had to have a longer range on battery power than on gas. In other markets, like Europe, i3 owners were able to engage their range-extenders at a 75% SOC or lower. Like many series hybrids, the i3 has a range extender with less power than its motor can deliver. Thus, when these vehicles run out of battery power, they are power-limited. In the i3’s case, this meant that if the range extender kicked in at a 6% SOC, and the car then encountered a big hill, the driver would at times be unable to maintain full highway speeds.

Part of me hopes Ram wouldn’t hobble the Ramcharger, a pickup truck meant to do hard work, in such a way just to score some government credits. Ultimately, we’ll have to wait and see how Ram calibrates the range extender for use in varying contexts, like long-range use, towing, and city driving. Regardless, with 690 miles of combined range, you shouldn’t have too much trouble making it to a gas station with something left in the battery and in the tank.

2025 Ram 1500 Ramcharger
The fact that the Pentastar V6 is already part of the 2025 Ram 1500 lineup would have made it an easy choice for range extender duty.

Some may question whether the Ramcharger could have gotten by with a smaller, more efficient engine as a range extender. However, engineers behind the project likely chose the Pentastar engine for a variety of reasons. For one, it’s probably easiest to stick with an engine that’s already built to work with the Ram 1500 platform, and nestles perfectly in the engine bay. Engineering another engine to suit, and going through all the emissions checks and so on would add cost.

Plus, there’s the simple fact of wanting to keep a certain base level of power on tap when the batteries are empty. The range extender wouldn’t be as enticing if it was useless when towing, for example, because Ram made it too small and weedy. There’s a certain base level of power the end user will expect from their truck.

Ultimately, the Ramcharger is a very exciting proposition. It could be the harbinger of a new age of heavy-duty series hybrids, that can work all day and all night without excessive downtime to recharge. Or, it could be seen as an overcomplicated truck that makes compromises to run on gasoline and electric power.  If Ram can make it easy to use, pleasant to drive, and just efficient enough to be worthwhile, it could just have a winner on its hands.

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Habu
Habu
7 months ago

For the people puzzled about the quoted 20mpg performance of the Pentastar, that checks out.

I had a DT Longhorn with the Pentastar. The published curb weight was ~5800 lbs, and my hand calc lifetime average mpg over three years was 17.8mpg with a 60/40 split of highway/city and about 150lbs of bolt ons. I didn’t tow and, when I hauled, only hauled bulky but light items. My best tank of gas was 20.3mpg on a straight shot from Cleveland to DC.

My total guesstimate is that the Ramcharger will come in around 6300-6500lbs in Limited or Tungsten trims. Given the mpg I got out of my hefty Longhorn, getting ~20mpg out of the 3.6 running at a steady state as a generator sounds about right.

I think Ram probably could’ve picked a more efficient engine out of the Stellantis lineup to use in place of the Pentastar, but I imagine their reasoning was that the Pentastar is cheap and readily available, fits without having to do any new engineering, and it works well enough.

Last edited 7 months ago by Habu
Rexracer
Rexracer
7 months ago
Reply to  Habu

Interesting. I borrowed a Bighorn extended cab 4wd with the v6 E-torque. Towed an empty car trailer 1500 miles, got just over 17mpg, I thought that was great. But on the return trip with a 2800lbs car, I got just over 19mpg. Obviously towing a car I was going slower, 60ish vs 70ish, but overall was very impressed.

Habu
Habu
7 months ago
Reply to  Rexracer

Yep, the Longhorn is a chunker. If memory serves, it’s ~500 lbs heavier than a base model Bighorn crew cab, maybe 600 lbs more than a quad cab?

I’m not at all knocking the Pentastar in the 1500, it does its job. It is just not great from an efficiency standpoint in the heavy trims like my almost completely loaded Longhorn.

Jim Christensen
Jim Christensen
7 months ago

That math is likely pretty accurate. I drive a Via Motors Vtrux that is a phev 4×4 truck like the Ramcharger. It too, is powered by the base truck engine V6 and after consuming the EV only range it averages about 17mpg on the highway and about 20 mpg in the city. This is with much older technology, so I’m assuming the Ram will perform better.

CEVette
CEVette
7 months ago

I see so much talk here about how abysmal 20 mpg is in this truck.
But….I think most are missing the point.
This truck will burn no gas for 95% of the miles driven if used correctly.
Plug in and use battery only for around town trips.
Use the gas engine for longer trips to grandma’s house. And get 20+ mpg doing it.
Use the gas engine to pull the RV on a weekend trip/vacation a few times a year. And get good, but maybe not 20 mpg doing it…..
If you are wanting ot save the planet from burning fossil fuels, this truck fits the use case for 99% of consumers.
Now, could this battery power 2 or 3 cars in PHEV form? Yes. But, prospective truck buyers are not going to magically buy one of those cars if this truck doesn’t exist. They will get a gas or diesel powered truck. Because they want or need a truck.
I still worry about Ram quality control. But, given a year or two to see how things shake out, I am interested in this truck.
I need a vehicle to pull a trailer with a tractor on it occasionally. We have an RV that this could conceivably pull without issue. We live in a rural area, so my truck hauls and actually does truck things….full BEV towing range just doesn’t cut it. Sorry.
But, this truck fills the need perfectly if it actually performs as outlined.

Bassracerx
Bassracerx
6 months ago
Reply to  CEVette

this is very true. with 145 miles of electric range the gas engine will turn on one maybe 2 times a week for your average person. Seems to be the no compromise solution as far as performance. of course you are compromising cost, complexity and let’s face it reliability/ longevity. What is noteworthy however is a 91kwh battery only gets you 145 miles of range!! that is close to a tesla model x battery capacity that can do 330+ miles of range!!

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