2013 Ram 1500 Will Gain Pentastar V-6, Eight-Speed Automatic

Chrysler Group will expand availability of its Pentastar V-6 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission to the 2013 Ram 1500 pickup truck, which will be launched this year. A regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this week revealed several future Chrysler product plans.

Nearly all of Chrysler’s other vehicles are now available with the Pentastar, a 3.6-liter V-6 engine, which is significantly more fuel efficient than the company’s older V-6 designs. The Ram 1500 is currently offered with a 3.7-liter V-6 engine 215 hp and 235 lb-ft of torque; the Pentastar’s output will probably be between 270 and 290 hp.

The 2013 Ram also will score Chrysler’s ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission, which already is available in the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300. The company’s SEC filing says the new transmission will be at least 12 percent more fuel efficient than before. Currently, the Ram 1500‘s V-6 is mated to a four-speed automatic, are returns just 14/20 mpg (city/highway).

The eight-speed transmission will be added to the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango by late 2012 or early 2013, as well. Chrysler’s filing says that the new transmission will eventually be used in all its rear-wheel-drive products except for heavy-duty trucks.

More Future Product Plans

The SEC filing also revealed that Chrysler Group is adapting Fiat’s dual-clutch transmission technology for use in the U.S.; that may make its debut in the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger at some point in the near future. Chrysler says the Fiat-sourced transmissions, called DDCT, will improve fuel economy compared to regular automatics.

The filing also confirms that an all-electric version of the Fiat 500 is under development and slated to be ready by year end. The model is said to return a driving range of 100 miles per charge. It will be built in North America, with production to start later in 2012.

As previously confirmed, Chrysler will begin using a ZF-sourced nine-speed automatic transmission for front-wheel-drive cars. The transmission will be used in C- and D-segment vehicles starting from 2013. Like the eight-speed automatic, Chrysler will license the rights from ZF to build the nine-speed transmission in Kokomo, Indiana. The new transmission will reportedly be 11 percent more fuel efficient than the company’s existing six-speed units.

Finally, Chrysler’s SEC filing revealed that the company will launch engine stop-start technology in the U.S. soon. The European-market Jeep Wrangler diesel already has such a system; by 2017, Chrysler says 90 percent of its U.S.-market vehicles will be equipped with engine stop-start.

Source: Chrysler SEC Filing (PDF)