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Nice Try: 2002-04 Hybrid Rams

Military Ram HEV

Chrysler designed, built and tested a military version of the Ram HEV (hybrid-electric vehicle) for U.S. Army Tank Automotive & Armaments Command (TACOM), based in Warren, Michigan, for the Commercially Based Tactical Truck (COMBATT) program.


The truck was a 2002 Dodge Ram 2500 pickup with a diesel-electric hybrid powertrain that could be operated in electric-only mode. When parked, it could provide up to 20 kW of continuous electrical power to operate electrical equipment at remote sites. The generator on the Ram HEV was cleaner than conventional portable generators.

What the company learned from this went to the...

Contractor Special hybrid pickup

The Contractor Special was a Dodge Ram truck hybrid, announced in 2000. Unlike the Durango hybrid, it had a small engine driving one set of wheels, and electrical generator powering the other set. Contractors would be able to use the generator as a standard A/C generator, saving some equipment and balancing the loss of space caused by the hybrid powertrain.


The company claimed it would produce 20 kW from the generator, and 15% better gas mileage than a normal Ram, with better acceleration. It was to be done with both diesel and gasoline based engines, at $5,000 more than the non-hybrid versions.

The Contractor Special was supposed to be available in calendar year 2004. Then the company claimed it would be sold to fleets only. It appears that none were ever sold, because the hybrid system, which coordinated power using the “through the road” method, never worked.

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