Utterly disappointing sales haven't dissuaded Chrysler from working on new hybrids. Yesterday at the Chicago Auto Show, the troubled American automaker announced that a hybrid Dodge Ram pickup is still planned.
It's expected that the new pickup will use the same two-mode hybrid system previously used in the discontinued hybrid Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen. This will be Dodge's first hybrid pickup, but fuel economy will likely be similar to that of the Chevy Silverado Hybrid which uses the same two-mode system. That truck gets 21 mpg in the city and 22 on the highway, which is respectable given the truck's towing capacity of 6,000 pounds.
Chrysler's announcement was short on the details, so anticipated release dates are speculative, but we can't see this vehicle coming to market before 2010. Pricing will be very important if Chrysler expects the hybrid Ram to make a splash. Chevy's Silverado Hybrid carries a $12,000 premium and pulls nearly 5,000 pounds less than its non-hybrid stablemate. That's no way to sell a hybrid truck.