Chrysler used its presence at the 2012 Work Truck Show in Indianapolis to roll out several new Ram Truck variants, including a natural gas-powered Ram 2500 HD and a few new twists on the Ram 1500 HD Tradesman.
Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG Pickup
Fleet customers — especially energy and utility companies — are frequently fond of running vehicles on compressed natural gas (CNG) — not only is it generally cleaner burning than gasoline, it also typically carries a lower purchase price than gasoline or diesel. As such, it’s not too surprising to hear Ram will offer a CNG-fueled variant of its 2500 HD pickup, although it is a little surprising to hear the entire conversion will be built within the confines of Chrysler’s factory in Saltillo, Mexico, instead of an independent supplier.
Like the new bi-fuel 2013 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500 HD pickups, the Ram 2500 HD CNG truck is a bi-fuel vehicle, meaning it can run on either CNG or conventional gasoline. All Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG pickups are powered by Chrysler’s 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 that has been modified to run on both conventional gasoline and compressed natural gas. New valves and valve-seat materials have been added to the redesigned cylinder heads – a move necessary to allow the engine to run on both compressed natural gas and conventional gasoline. It also gains an additional fuel rail and injectors for the compressed natural gas. Finally, new spark plugs and a new engine management computer monitor the engine when running either fuel.
Two 130-liter CNG tanks reside in the front of the Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG pickup’s eight-foot bed. Combined, the two natural gas tanks capacity provide a gasoline equivalent of 18.2 gallons. The tanks are mounted to the frame and covered by a steel enclosure. The Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG pickup has a range of 255 miles on compressed natural gas and an additional 122 miles thanks to the eight-gallon gasoline tank, for a total range of 367 miles. The fuel filler door hides both the CNG filler connection and the gasoline fuel neck.
The Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG uses a small amount of gasoline on initial start up but switches over to compressed natural gas. When the compressed natural gas tanks are depleted the engine computer seamlessly transitions to conventional gasoline.
The Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG powertrain components – including the CNG-specific parts – are covered by a 5-year/50,000 mile powertrain warranty. The rest of the truck carries a 3-year/36,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty, which includes the compressed natural gas tanks, storage compartment and fuel filler equipment.
Ram 1500 Tradesman
Ram also announced today that the Ram 1500 Tradesman would be available in Crew Cab and Quad Cab models to complement the regular-cab Ram 1500 Tradesman models already on sale. The Ram 1500 Tradesman was a value-priced package for half-ton trucks for small business, construction, and commercial fleet uses.
The Ram 1500 Tradesman is powered by a 310-horsepower 4.7-liter V-8 FFV engine. Chrysler says the engine cranks out 330 lb-ft of torque, can tow up to 7700 pounds, and is rated 20 mpg highway. The 390-horsepower 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 is optional. The Hemi ups the ante with 407 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Ram 1500 Tradesman models also get unique steel wheels and a factory-applied sprayed-in bedliner. Models equipped with the 4.7-liter V-8 come with the RamBox cargo system including lighted, lockable storage for tools and adjustable tie downs. Other features include a Class IV receiver hitch and four- and seven-pin trailer connectors.
Also available is the Ram 1500 Tradesman HD. The HD version of the half-ton truck is available only as a two-wheel-drive, long-bed, regular cab pickup. It has a towing capacity of 11,500 pounds, and a payload of 3125 pounds.