PHEVs to Rule Trucks?

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by David Towle, Nov 7, 2023.

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  1. David Towle

    David Towle Well-Known Member

    I mostly agree, except the effect of mountain passes should be much less than an ICE since you will have regen.
    The difference between 6.7 rounded to 7 versus 8-10 does not seem like that much though.
    Would a diesel generator do much better? I'm not sure, since the biggest advantage of diesels is they stay efficient over a much wider rpm/load range than gas. And I assume the gas engine will be running constantly at its most efficient conditions. If that's the case then a diesel might only give an improvement proportional to the heat content difference, or about 14%, or just over 1 mpg.
    As you say, mostly we will have to wait and see.
    An area where the RAM might do really well would be for landscapers and construction contractors, they mostly pull smaller trailers around towns at lower speeds where the battery should last long.
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  3. In my experience your estimate is very low. That said, my experience is based on towing, similar to the type of towing you’ve described, with conventional ICE vehicles, both gas and diesel. In those cases I’ve seen fuel economy drop about 30-40%. EV’s seem to take a bigger hit than ICE vehicles when taken to task. There’s a great deal of yammering about the efficiency of EV’s which does not appear to hold up under certain circumstances. The Ramcharger isn’t a pure EV or a pure ICE. It will be interesting to see how fuel efficiency is impacted while towing.

    First, I’d be hesitant to shave 15% off the top. Was the achieved 255 miles obtained by driving the vehicle under the same test conditions that Ford used to establish the 300 mike figure? Did they completely drain a fully charged battery? If they nursed the truck around town and got 330 miles, would you add 10% to the formula?

    Was the 100 mile range achieved by keeping the battery in the fast charging sweet spot of 20-80%? If so, they were only using 60 of the capacity. Would you only put 12 gallons in the tank if the truck needed 20?

    The easiest solution to less than ideal range would be to carry 2 or 3 five gallon gas cans in the bed of the truck. That’s something the EV’s can’t do and a fill up will always be quicker than a fast charge to 80%.

    FWIW: I ponied up $100 to get on the Ramcharger wait list and receive classified documents about the vehicle. I’ll share any breaking here as they become available.
    Robert_Alabama likes this.
  4. NorCalPete

    NorCalPete Member

    To keep my options open, I also paid to become a Ram Rev Insider+ Member (i.e., got on the wait list). I'll likely wait for additional (and less speculative) data before buying my next tow vehicle. Pricing also remains an unknown factor. I visited my local Ram dealer yesterday to look at trim levels, interiors, and prices for 2024 3/4 tons (all desiels). MSRPs ranged from $80k (Tradesman) to $100k (Limited), with the interior of the latter looking/feeling like a very high-end luxury car.

    [Warning - more speculation ahead!]

    Given this, I'm guessing the Ramcharger will range from $80k (Trademan) - $120k (Tungsten).
  5. They’re billing the truck as a 1500. All things being equal, a gas 2500 carries a $10K premium over a gas 1500. The diesel adds another $10K to the 2500. You’ve already slapped a $20K premium on the 1500, which starts around $48K.

    It is possible that the top trim level may approach $100K. There’s also an $80K cap on trucks and SUV’s for the $7500 tax credit. I’m speculating that at least one trim level will have a MSRP of $79,995 or less.

    The REV is available in tbe Tradesman trim. Have you seen documentation that the Ramcharger will also be available as a Tradesman?
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2023
  6. NorCalPete

    NorCalPete Member

    I haven't yet seen any Ramcharger documentation indicating a Tradesman trim.

    BTW, the Ram salesman I spoke to yesterday (who has been selling Dodge/Ram trucks for decades) didn't even know the REV and Ramcharger existed. The same thing happened when I first started exploring the Clarity at my Honda dealer. Hopefully, Ram dealers will get up to speed on EVs faster than Honda dealers did for the Clarity (which, for my local Honda dealer, still hasn't occurred).
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  8. During my working career it was not uncommon to have a coworker who was not very good at doing what they were paid to do. This is to be expected for less experienced folks, but they were typically eager to learn and help. The workers with decades of experience tended to be lazy and somewhat arrogant toward the younger workers. On the occasions when they participated, their work was often sloppy. It was just enough to get by.

    The salesman probably feels that he doesn’t need to know anything about a vehicle that he can’t sell today. He may also tell you that a half-ton with a V6 can tow a 12,000lb fifth-wheel.

    When we ordered our Grand Cherokee 4xe last year, the salesman had us drive his Wrangler 4xe which he’d had for about a year. I showed him a couple of features on the vehicle that he didn’t know about. He sells these cars and has been driving one for a year. I’ve only read about them. He did mention that Stellantis would be releasing more electrified vehicles soon. They are now adding the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer to the list in addition to the REV, Ramcharger and some sort of super car.

    At least 2 of us have shown interest in a vehicle that won’t be available for a year or two. The truck will sell itself. It’s an extremely versatile vehicle. With more than a ton of payload capacity and up to a 14,000lb tow rating, it can also transport 4 adults in luxury. It will have good off-road capability, easily cover a typical commute on batteries, get decent fuel economy on gas, power worksite tools and act as a backup power source for a home. And it can recharge its own battery at 135kw, which should take less than an hour and could mostly likely be done several times on a single tank of fuel. It’s certainly capable of meeting a variety of demands.
  9. Diesel electric hybrids are ideally suited to applications such as a locomotive, where the engine is running continuously and at operating temperatures.

    In a vehicle such as the Ramcharger, the engine/generator will cycle on and off quite frequently when in Hybrid Mode. Even at steady freeway speeds the engine will charge the battery and then turn off while the car uses some battery capacity. Rinse and repeat. The engine will shut off while slowing and when stopped. This is not a healthy pattern for a diesel engine.

    Diesel engines add 500-1000lbs compared to the same vehicle equipped with a gas engine. The emissions systems increase the likelihood of failures and costly repairs. A manufacturer would consider these factors before deciding to install a cantankerous beast that would be covered under a 15 year, 150,000 mile Federal Emissions Warranty in some states.
    Remarksman likes this.
  10. ENirogus

    ENirogus Active Member

    This truck is an PHEV and a serial hybrid. I think the gov't would be wise to talk about tax breaks for serial hybrids with:

    A minimum battery size
    A maximum engine size

    My question is not why such a big battery, but why such a big engine?

    The engine does not need a broad torque curve
    The engine does not need to power the vehicle for long distances
  11. MrFixit

    MrFixit Well-Known Member

    This probably is a 'small' engine compared to what would be used in a conventional equivalent ICE truck.

    True, it does not need a broad torque curve, but it does indeed power the vehicle for long distances. The whole reason for making a PHEV truck is so that you can go long distances after the EV range is depleted (especially when towing, which depletes the battery 'quickly').
    David Towle likes this.
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  13. The engine is sized to allow charging at 135kW, with peak charging up near 170kW. The 135kW figure converts to about 180hp.
    The V6 is rated at ~280hp and has been installed in minivans and entry level 1/2-ton trucks for years. The generator in the Ramcharger will inevitably be an inverter type, so it will be able to meet variable energy demands in the most efficient manner.

    Under the test conditions from which the EV range is derived the generator may only need to charge at 30kW in order to maintain the battery SOC. At higher speeds, while going up a grade, carrying a heavy load or towing, charging at 100kW or more may be necessary. Engineers and experienced owners know that a vehicle will not be operated under ideal test conditions at all times.

    On a side note, if you compare the fuel consumption rate of a 20kW generator at full load to a 40kW at half load, you’ll see that both generators consume almost exactly the same amount of fuel while producing the same amount of electricity, even though the 40kW unit has a larger displacement engine.

    Finally, the engine does power the vehicle over long distances, just not directly. Without the electricity from the generator going to the battery, the vehicle would only go as far as a single charge would allow.
    Robert_Alabama likes this.
  14. Robert_Alabama

    Robert_Alabama Well-Known Member

    You also have to remember that those new to PHEVs will not think ahead about holding a good portion of the battery in a charged state for peak needs (climbing mountains, etc.) and will deplete it at the beginning of the trip. The engine needs to be sized so that it can manage those situations without being too undersized. For a truck that many will use for towing and hauling, I do agree that skimping too much on the engine seems like a recipe for a lot of complaints.
    David Towle and insightman like this.
  15. ENirogus

    ENirogus Active Member

    The generator only needs to provide the average power the truck needs, not anything like the max power it can put out. I actually tried to look up what the longest grade was on the interstate to see what might be required but could not get the right search terms for a meaningful answer.
    Point being a truck towing on the highway does not need that much power to recharge.
    Bad software is not an excuse for hauling around hundreds of pounds of weight for no reason
    Going by the towing tests I have seen, a usage of around .7 miles per kw is a reasonable assumption.
    At 60 mph, that's about 85 kwh.
    Maybe a 100kw generator, maybe half the size engine
    it is 100 percent marketing that the engine is as large as it is.
  16. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    I wonder if the Clarity PHEV would have been a sales success had Honda stuck a 250-hp V6 under the hood? Probably not, our nation had already turned its lonely eyes to SUVs, woo, woo, woo. Honda should have built the equivalent of the quick RAV4 Prime PHEV crossover.
  17. The generator is rated at 135kw. The horsepower of the truck is claimed to be in excess of 660hp, or roughly 500kw. It’s just as you would engineer it. What’s the complaint?

    For anyone who has read and understood the information provided about the Ramcharger, it is clearly evident that the V6 is not the focus of the marketing effort. It is an engine that has been installed in more than 10 million vehicles. It has proven to be extremely reliable and is well suited to the application. In case you missed it, a 2.0l engine putting out 100kw, will use the same amount of fuel as a 3.6l engine that is putting out 100kw. It will just have to work harder to do the same job.

    Stellantis might be looking for another great mind. Perhaps you should contact them.
  18. This is certainly true for the Clarity. Our Jeep 4xe is equipped with a 275hp 4 cylinder turbo engine. It has adequate power even with depleted batteries. My better half made a long trip in the car and depleted the battery on one leg of the trip. The only negative was that fuel economy suffered. Once some fuel was burned to restore the charge, fuel economy improved for the duration. E-Save preserves SOC, however, the car defaults to Hybrid upon start up after driving in e-Save and Hybrid will deplete the battery. It also starts in Electric if last driven in Electric.

    The generator output on the Ramcharger will likely produce adequate power even with depleted batteries, particularly in around town driving or at sustained speeds. At 135kW it will also be able to restore some charge while driving.
  19. Interestingly, the once hot RAV4 Prime doesn’t make the Top-10 list for PHEV sales in the US. Number one is the Wrangler 4xe followed by the Ford Escape and BMW X5 45e. Only 2 of the ten are sedans.
  20. Robert_Alabama

    Robert_Alabama Well-Known Member

    Perhaps it wasn't clear, but that was my point from my post. Skimping on the engine would cause running with a depleted battery to be a real nuisance in a truck with towing and hauling duty as compared to being a slight nuisance with our Clarity.
  21. It was clear. Perhaps I wasn’t clear in my point that operating a PHEV, other than a Clarity, with depleted batteries might not be as unpleasant as operating a Clarity with depleted batteries.
  22. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    There's a reason the RAV4 Prime is not in the Top-10 list and it's not because there's no demand for the vehicle. Toyota has never been able to meet the significant demand for the RAV4 Prime. Of course, Toyota dealers know how to cope with this problem: they lard on "market adjustment" bucks of $2K or more atop the MSRP.
    Robert_Alabama likes this.
  23. Robert_Alabama

    Robert_Alabama Well-Known Member

    @Landshark said "It was clear. Perhaps I wasn’t clear in my point that operating a PHEV, other than a Clarity, with depleted batteries might not be as unpleasant as operating a Clarity with depleted batteries."

    I'd say from experience that the Chevrolet Volt is equally as unpleasant as the Clarity when operating with depleted battery, but that's neither here nor there. This discussion had turned toward whether a smaller engine in the Ramcharger would make sense since it could cover the average need and an assumed charged battery fill in the need for peaking power. My point was that that might work ok for a very PHEV aware driver, but not so much for the casual driver and would probably cause a ton of customer complaints. Your point that there may not even be any real efficiency gain for this path is a good point as well.
    David Towle likes this.

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