Dodge has released the 2019 Ram 1500 pickup with a 48-Volt eTorque mild-hybrid powertrain and up to 5,788 kg (12,750 pounds) of towing capacity. The use of higher voltages helps designers to augment the truck’s electrical system without excessively thick, heavy, and expensive wires.
Consider the following example: A 12-Volt, 100 Amp (1,200 Watt) circuit requires a certain wire gauge to handle that much current. A 48-Volt system can provide that 1,200 Watts with only 25 Amps (48 * 25 = 1200) and therefore, a significantly thinner, lighter gauge of wire. The Mercedes E53 AMG is another example of a vehicle with a 48-Volt system.
Augmenting the power supply of a truck’s electrical system is becoming more and more of a necessity as various electronics are added to trucks — most notably more powerful computers for driver assistance systems (a great example is autopilot).
The Ram 1500’s electric motor facilitates the increasingly common ‘start/stop’ functionality that enables your truck to accelerate before the combustion engine starts back up. This prevents delayed acceleration and is part of the mild-hybrid powertrain that drives the Ram.
The new Ram also shed 102 kg (225 pounds) of weight, which is good news for fuel efficiency, handling, and performance. Further enhancing fuel efficiency is its regenerative braking system, which turns the on-board belt-driven motor/generator while the vehicle is coasting/braking.
It’s important to note that ‘mild-hybrid’ means that it relies very little on electricity, and also benefits from it less than a dedicated hybrid would. The electric motor in a mild-hybrid system hardly ever drives the vehicle, and usually has a small battery pack (which has its own benefits, as a larger battery pack could cost a great deal of money).
The Ram 1500 is equipped with a 330 Wh NMC battery, charging by the 48-Volt electric system, and the 48-Volt power source is converted to 12-Volts to charge a conventional 12-Volt lead-acid starter battery. Some of the RAM 1500 engine options include a 3.6L V6 with eTorque, and a 5.7L Hemi.