In 2021 Ram announced plans for a battery-powered HiLux competitor with up to 800km of claimed driving range. Two years on, the trail has gone cold – and the ute has disappeared from new-model plans.
Plans for a Toyota HiLux or Ford Ranger-sized electric ute from US pick-up specialist Ram have dried up more than two years after they were announced.
In 2021 it was revealed the largest electric passenger-car platform from the parent company of Jeep, Ram, Dodge and other global car brands – Stellantis – would spawn a “mid-size” pick-up for the Ram brand, due by 2026.
However the Ram pick-up is conspicuously absent from the latest plans for the architecture – known as STLA Large – announced by the global car giant.
Under the plans announced in 2021, the Ram ute was due between 2024 and 2026, with electric power and as much as 800km of claimed driving range.
The future of the Ram “mid-size pick-up” – the US classification for a HiLux-sized ute – is under a cloud, and it is unclear if the project has been shelved entirely, delayed, or restarted on different underpinnings.
Executives for the US pick-up specialist have long expressed interest in a new mid-size ute, and the boss of Ram told Drive in April 2023 he was committed to seeing it through to showrooms under his leadership – weeks after reports suggested a concept had been shown to dealers.
Ram has introduced a “compact” or mid-size ute known as the Rampage, but it is based on the underpinnings of a petrol-powered hatchback, and is sold in developing South American markets.
The car-derived platform poised to underpin the electric Ram ute is known as STLA Large – designed with electric power in mind, but also capable of supporting petrol-only and hybrid power if required.
When it was announced in 2021, it was said STLA Large would underpin eight vehicles due within “three to five years” with plans shown to media previewing models from Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram.
These models would measure between 4.7 to 5.4 metres long – large enough to include a mid-size ute, at about 5.3 metres long.
“The STLA Large platform has outstanding fundamentals … allowing us to create a long-range luxury sedan, an all-conquering muscle car, a heart-of-the-market DUV, a heart-of-the-market SUV, a very capable Jeep off-roading white-space opportunity vehicle, as well as a new midsize truck,” Stellantis design chief Ralph Gilles said during a media presentation in 2021.
“So eight vehicles are now being created that will come to market in the next three to five years.”
The latest plans for the STLA Large platform announced last week continue to list eight vehicles, on schedule for launch between 2024 and 2026.
However mention of a Ram pick-up using the architecture has vanished, and Stellantis now says “Dodge and Jeep will lead launches followed later by Alfa Romeo, Chrysler and Maserati.”
While another line in the press release is carefully worded to say STLA Large will underpin “other brands including Alfa Romeo, Chrysler and Maserati” – leaving the door open for a Ram – it now makes no mention of the platform being able to support a ute.
“STLA Large is the most flexible BEV-native platform in the industry, underpinning car, crossover and SUV vehicle types in the D and E segments,” the media release says.
Another strong indicator the STLA Large platform has no longer been engineered to accommodate a pick-up: size.
When the platform was announced in 2021, it was said to accommodate vehicles up to 5.4 metres long.
In 2024, Stellantis has said the architecture has only been developed to accommodate vehicles between 4764mm and 5126mm long – as well as 1897mm and 2030mm wide, with wheelbases of 2870mm to 3075mm.
No dual-cab utes sold in Australia fit within these reduced measurements. A current Toyota HiLux dual-cab measures 5325mm long, 1855mm wide, and 3085mm long in wheelbase.
Ram has long expressed an interest in returning to the “mid-size” pick-up market, which it has not occupied since the Ram Dakota ended production in 2011.
Asked last year if a new mid-size Ram will go into production, Ram boss Mike Koval told Drive: “We will see. I’m not going to say ‘yes’ because it is not at this point in time, because it’s just in concept phase.
“We’ve been talking about [the return of a Ram mid-size pick-up] forever and I have committed to myself and to my team … this is the leadership team that is going to execute [bring the vehicle to production]. We will be the team that delivers this.”
Last year a concept for an electric mid-size pick-up was reportedly shown to Ram dealers in the US.
Battery sizes of STLA Large vehicles range from 85kWh to 118kWh, with driving ranges of up to 800km – now clarified to refer to sedans, rather than any vehicle, as announced in 2021 – and 0-100km/h times of less than three seconds.
Stellantis promises “extreme power that will outperform any of the existing Hellcat V8s.”