An automaker is looking to alleviate range anxiety, one of the largest barriers to electric vehicle adoption, by equipping electric cars with generators. Range anxiety refers to the fear of running out of power while on the road with no charging station in sight, and many American drivers cite it as one of their main reasons for not switching to EVs.
Ram, a brand by automaker Stellantis, has introduced an electric pickup truck dubbed the Ramcharger, which comes equipped with a 3.6-liter V6 combustion engine and a generator to recharge the onboard battery while the pickup truck is moving. This offering would be especially beneficial for drivers who tow or haul things and need more power while on the road.
While the United States has a nationwide network of easily accessible fueling stations for regular drivers to use, public electric charging stations are harder to come by. They are mostly concentrated in certain cities in states such as California and are often plagued with issues including long wait lines and dysfunctional chargers. This makes electric cars the least attractive option for drivers who regularly take long-haul trips, especially with cargo. Electric pickups such as the Rivian R1T come with up to 410 miles in range, but their high price range puts them out of the reach of most drivers.
Ram CEO Tim Kuniskis says that while battery electric vehicles (BEVs) have a lot of advantages, issues such as limited range are slowing their adoption. Fortunately, he says, Ramcharger drivers won’t have to worry about running out of juice while on the road. The pickup’s 27-gallon gas tank and its battery give it up to 690 miles of range when fully charged. Furthermore, the truck can tow up to 14,000 pounds in weight. It has a two-way charging system that allows it to take and discharge power, giving Ramcharger owners the ability to power their homes with their cars, albeit for a limited amount of time.
Although Stellantis has been slow to introduce fully electric vehicles, this plug-in hybrid equipped with a generator has the potential to attract significant market demand from consumers who were interested in switching to EVs but had reservations about range.
Unlike traditional plug-in hybrids, the Ramcharger will only use the gas engine to charge the battery, not turn the wheels. Ram is poised to debut the new hybrid pickup truck in showrooms at the close of the year. Other EV makers such as Workhorse Group Inc. (NASDAQ: WKHS) are having the competition brought to them, and they will need to step up in order to keep growing their market share.
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