Buyers who have been waiting for a Ram with a Cummins diesel V8 or a hybrid-electric powertrain may be in luck, if new entries in dealers’ Star systems are accurate.
The 2011 Dodge Ram 1500 in both regular and quad cab is showing up with a 5.0 liter V8 diesel engine, most likely the one sourced from Cummins. This engine was designed for more lightweight service than the straight-six Cummins “B” engine which has powered heavy duty Ram trucks for decades. As such, it might not have a 350,000 time between overhauls (100,000 miles more than Chevy and Ford diesels), but would be less expensive and more practical for the Ram 1500.
The hybrid-electric powertrain is also showing up, as a transmission option. The four transmissions appearing for Dodge trucks with the diesel engine are the six-speed Getrag manual, the 545RFE, a four-speed automatic 42RE, and the AHS-T. This appears to be the “transmission with motors” that was used in the Durango and Aspen hybrids, an engineering feat primarily accomplished by General Motors, with the involvement of BMW and DaimlerChrysler.
The trucks may not actually become available; it is possible that they were keyed into the system in anticipation of possible availability, but have not been approved or have not passed all necessary tests. Some analysts believe that Chrysler will hold off on launching new high-mileage vehicles until gasoline prices rise, building a much stronger marketplace and making publicity easier to arrange. If the powertrains have been approved, the launch would probably not occur until at least February 2011, to provide time for the launches of the new 300C, Charger, 200, Avenger, Journey, and minivans.
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