Before we get into a design dissection of the Ram 1500 Revolution, I need to make one thing perfectly clear. I am a Mopar fanboy. It’s not that they’ve been the plucky underdog against Ford & GM (although that’s part of it). No. It’s more that Mopar products have rarely been the default choice in any given segment, and that appeals to me given I don’t make the default choices for pretty much anything.
The beauty of this is it gives the company freedom. Mopar is able to make different vehicles compared to what’s expected — to bring a hard rock playlist along when everyone is politely nodding in time to some bland bed-wetter’s music. When Chrysler was briefly the coolest car company on the planet in the early nineties, they built the Viper and the Prowler. Realizing they would have to do something extraordinary to have any chance of gaining market share in the full-size pick up market, the designers cracked open a fresh pack of Marlboro Reds and came up the “big rig” second generation Ram 1500.
By lowering the line of the front fenders and making the grille more prominent, it ushered in a rugged look that was the complete opposite of the aero tenth gen F-150 and the considered modernism of the GMT400. Pickup trucks across all three brands have been getting ever more elaborately butch ever since.
Rivian have shown what’s possibly when designing an EV pick up from the ground up – all innovative storage, murderous robot light graphics and bland styling. And you can actually buy one unlike the Cybertruck, which is a low polygon joke that only exists in the fever dreams of Tesla stans high on the smell of Elon Musk’s farts:
Ford wasn’t about to fuck about with it’s biggest profit center too much and took a safe but sensible approach with the F-150 Lightning – it’s essentially the ICE truck with the oily explodey parts yanked out and a gently humming EV powertrain bolted in. Ditching most of the chrome and giving it a full width lightbar at the front, for me it’s the pick of the range.
GM went next giving us not one but three EV pick ups – the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra EV twins, both of which are typically GM fussy and over designed. The third is the obscene Hummer EV, a gargantuan monument to untethered excess.
There is sometimes an advantage in not being the first mover. You can look at what others have done, see what works and what doesn’t, and adjust accordingly. Remember the iPhone wasn’t the first smart phone, and the iPod wasn’t the first digital music player. By not blowing their wad and waiting, Ram have watched these new EV pick ups pile into the market and in the grand Mopar tradition, done something very different.
For a start, it’s decidedly sleek and non-truckish in the side profile. There’s no dash to axle, but on a bigger higher vehicle you can get away with this (look at a full size Range Rover and you’ll see something similar). Pulling the base of the windshield forward allows glass to be raked back at a more acute angle, which is better for aero. The bodyside is still quite high, but it’s countered by the black roof and pillars and the black trim running around the bottom. This lowers and lengthens the appearance of the truck. More than that, it’s smooth but sculpted – the wheel arches have been pulled out in relation to the main body, giving a subtle and more car like shape. This means the side steps are more integrated and don’t stick out like an afterthought. At the front this narrowing of the waist gives room for a tapered horizontal surface on top of the fender that creates space for the classic raised hood ‘big rig’ look. At the rear it makes room for the RAM box bed side storage.
I’m never totally sold on negative feature lines – that is where the surface tucks in and pulls back out again for very little change in Z height – like the Ram has above the wheel arches. But – take note Chevy – they’re tastefully done. The feature line that starts off as a panel spilt on the bed and runs horizontally along the car angles downwards slightly (just like the car we drew for the sketch tutorial) which adds a bit more of that car-like dynamism.
Years ago in Europe Ford had an MPV (remember those?) called the B-Max. It was Euro B sized (US sub-compact) and was basically a Fiesta minivan. It’s singular masterstroke was using super fancy high strength steels in the A and C pillars which meant it didn’t need a B pillar. At all. Open the front and rear sliding doors and you had glorious unobstructed access to the interior.
My black, black heart is overjoyed to see RAM have done the same thing here – I really hope it makes production (as this is still body on frame, I don’t see why not). It would be brilliant from a product differentiation point of view – and marketing teams love this sort of unique feature.
As I mentioned earlier, Rivian have demonstrated the state of the possible when it comes to storage in an EV pick up, but RAM have taken it a stage further. By taking a holistic approach to cargo inside and outside it has both a mid-gate (with jump seats, although I’ve not seen any images of those yet) and a ski-hatch into the frunk. With the barn door tailgate open and the bed extender in place in theory you could transport something that goes from the bed all the way through the cabin and into the frunk. What that might be I haven’t got a fucking clue. Telegraph poles? Speaking of the frunk, forget shrimp. This thing has hooks for your takeout dinner and cup holders for your road beers.
The interior looks like the designers swiped a load of digital assets from Tron Legacy, going big on orange as the highlight color. It’s a bit overdone but that’s fine for a concept. The overall effect is reasonably tasteful and the colorways well chosen. Compare and contrast to the Dubai nightclub vibe of any electric Benz. The veneers look great, and are a fun nod to the type of environments this truck (or one like it) will be working in.
We know this is a concept, so which parts are definitely not going to make production? Well, the tiny door mirrors for one. RAM says these use “a digital camera to capture information about the trucks surroundings, allowing for a smaller physical size”. I don’t know what the hell that means. My total guess is the mirror surface is a screen not reflective glass, but judging by the size of them it’s going to be like watching a movie on a smart watch. The one piece windshield into glass roof is obviously a non-starter, but they may opt for something that wraps up over the header rail a little. Hide away steering wheel? Yeah that isn’t happening either. Open up the shut lines a little, wind the interior back and it’s probably not a million miles from what you’ll be able to buy.
These images are obviously digital renders, and I’ll point out one way they’ve been cheated in Photoshop. Look at every image that shows the ninja turtle mask headlights. Can you see a vertical shut line on any of them? Nope. Now look at the image of the open frunk. Look very closely and you can the opening dissects the main horizontal elements of the headlights. So there should be a shut line visible but there isn’t. As man of the South Benoit Blanc would say, “There has been a mistruthin’ going on.”
RAM describes the design language of this truck as “brutiful” – a horrible portmanteau of brutal and beautiful. To me that sounds like an eighties TV ad for Brut aftershave starring British boxer Henry Cooper – but your cultural reference points may vary. Brutal is probably the last word I would use to describe this thing, conjuring up as it does forbidding concrete edifices and cold grey townscapes. Those were often dreamt up as part of a utopian urban future. RAM is showing us a much sleeker, more rounded, approachable and handsome future is possible. This was like getting a present I didn’t know I wanted but upon unwrapping instantly loved.
Being a Mopar fanboy I should have been ready for the unexpected.
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Photos: Rivian, GM, Ford, Stellantis