Ram 1500 Revolution brings muscle car energy — and tons of gimmicks — to EV truck race

Tesla has high hopes for the Cybertruck — if it can ever get it out the door. You’ve probably seen a Rivian or a Ford F-150 Lightning on the road by now. The Chevy Silverado EV will go on sale later this year. But if the creed you live by is “Mopar or no car,” you may have been wondering, what does Ram have ready to deploy in this upcoming electric truck arms race? 

At CES 2023, we finally find out. Stellantis’ truck brand unveiled the fully electric Ram 1500 Revolution BEV Concept, which aims to bring all the muscle-car energy that Mopar fans expect when a version of it goes into production in 2024. That production version will get an official reveal in the next few months. 

More than that, the design of the “Ram Rev,” as it’s being called, previews an entire generation of electric and electrified Ram trucks coming out in the next few years. 

Image: Stellantis

While Ram has ceded plenty of headlines to competitors who have made waves with EV pickup debuts, Ralph Gilles, chief design officer for several of Stellantis’ brands, pushed back on the idea that Ram is late to anything. 

Gilles said the goal was to build a concept packed with “almost every idea we’ve had” from a team that used Post-it notes stuck on a wall during brain-storming sessions. And it was also to preview a truck that Ram is dubbing “the leader in all the areas customers care about the most,” including electric range, towing, payload, and charge time. Ram isn’t giving out hard numbers around most of those specs, but with pickup trucks set to be the next great frontier for EVs, it will need impressive figures to be a top competitor. Gilles says it will deliver.

“It’s the difference between bringing a really good bottle of wine to a party or just crashing it late,” Gilles said in an interview with The Verge. “We’re looking at outperforming competitors in every aspect.” 

It’s not just Ram that’s following competitors into the EV race. The same could be said of its parent company Stellantis, née Fiat Chrysler, which for years ran on a smattering of electrified products like the Jeep Wrangler 4xe and Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. 

Image: Stellantis

That’s beginning to change — and quickly. Stellantis showed off an aggressive EV plan in 2021. Last year, it unveiled the Charger Daytona and two electric Jeeps — to be joined by two more by 2025. Additionally, at CES this year, Stellantis showed off Chrysler’s Synthesis cockpit concept, which is said to preview our automated, screen-filled future as that American brand goes all-EV by 2028. It seems that finally, the deeply international company is getting serious about electrification across its 14 brands. 

A muscle truck from the near future

Until the production truck drops, Ram fans who are considering parting ways with gasoline have a concept that’s striking to look at. 

With a low roofline relative to the truck bed and aggressive LED lighting up front and out back (complete with very lit-up “RAM” tuning-fork logos), the concept is a little bolder and more experimental in design than direct competitors from Ford and GM; it’s more Rivian than F-150 Lightning. It also has a full-glass roof with electro-chromatic panels that darken on command. 

The Ram Revolution looks and feels like a truck companion to the Dodge Charger Daytona EV concept that debuted a few months ago. And like that electric muscle car’s artificial wail to simulate engine noise — Dodge apparently decided it’s just not the same if the car doesn’t wake up the entire neighborhood upon even a modest application of throttle — the Ram concept goes heavy on gadgets and special features.

Here, though, many of them aid in towing, hauling, parking, or just impressing passengers. The concept features a pass-through midgate — remember the old Chevy Avalanche? It’s a feature beloved by many truck owners but still not a common one, although more EVs like the electric Silverado and GMC Sierra are going that route. That helps with accommodating big items for storage and hauling, as does the Ram Rev’s frunk, which includes hooks for groceries, power outlets and storage accessories. 

The midgate also has third-row jump seats that can exist slightly outside the vehicle, though they’re not quite as in-the-bed as a Subaru BRAT. Safety rules have changed a lot since 1978. 

Image: Stellantis

Then there’s Shadow Mode, which lets the truck follow the driver walking ahead of it. “This voice-activated feature can be useful in situations where the driver needs to move a short distance and doesn’t want to get back in the truck, such as when picking up tools or equipment from a job site,” Ram said in a statement. “The truck will follow the driver at a safe distance, using sensors and camera technology to navigate around obstacles.” 

Inside, there are almost no buttons, as most functions are relegated to a touch screen. But that screen can be removed and used as a standalone tablet, and the EV’s packaging advantage allows the whole cabin to be four inches longer than a conventional Ram 1500.

And in yet another sign that automakers are getting serious about virtual assistants and metaverse-style features — see also BMW’s entire CES keynote presentation and concept car — the Revolution also features an AI-powered voice assistant with a Ram-shaped 3D avatar that functions as the truck’s “face.”

There’s more, including a retracting steering wheel when Level 3-plus autonomous driving is engaged; an exterior projector that plays movies outside the truck; smart home adjustments from the infotainment system; and an “intelligent storage app” that uses augmented reality to let drivers measure objects to make sure they’ll fit in the truck. 

Specs unknown — for now

What we do know is that the Revolution is a proper body-on-frame truck that directly integrates the battery pack and sends electric power to all four wheels. It also features four-wheel steering to ease lower-speed maneuvers like parking and towing. 

When it goes into production, the truck will need to bring big range numbers — something American drivers are obsessed with, especially in non-urban areas where trucks dominate — including when it has to tow something heavy. 

The competition is heating up. Rivian’s Large battery pack gets around 300 miles, and the even bigger Max battery aims to put down around 400 miles. The F-150 Lightning currently offers up to 320 miles of range, and GM’s Silverado EV is claiming up to 400. With more and more EVs targeting 500 miles of range or more in the coming years, Ram’s final production truck could swing for the fences. The automaker does say the Rev concept here can add up to 100 miles of range in just 10 minutes on an 800-volt DC fast charger.

Gilles said the demand for EV trucks remains nascent. A 2024 release gave Ram the chance to observe competitors and talk to its customers about what they wanted out of an all-electric truck from the makers of the 702-horsepower TRX. And Gilles said this truck will be superior to even that in many respects.

“Being electric, it’ll put a TRX to shame in acceleration,” he said. 

Gilles admits that Ram’s engineers and designers threw the kitchen sink at this concept, and many of these features could be implausible for production duty. But many others could see the light of day eventually, and Ram will be scouring for feedback on what could eventually make the cut.

“This is an open letter to our fanbase,” he said. “The feedback we’re going to get is going to inform a lot of things we choose to keep.”