It's all very strange. Just last March, Chrysler definitively killed the Ram Hemi Hybrid pickup it had been developing for several years. RIP Hemi Hybrid.
Now comes a mysterious post on fan site Allpar.com that proposes that the company's Ram 1500 pickup truck will offer a Cummins 5.0-liter turbodiesel, making it the first of the Detroit Three to offer a "small" diesel option in a light-duty pickup, along with a hybrid-electric transmission option behind the oil-burner.
According to the site, this was based on entries appearing in the company's Stars dealer-ordering system, which we can't confirm because we don't have access to it.
Ram 1500 hybrid transmission diagram, image via Allpar.com
We'd be all in favor of a light-duty diesel, but the real head-scratcher was the potentially Lazarus-like emergence of the company's hybrid transmission after the quick 2008 death of the 2009 Dodge Durango Hemi Hybrid. So we put together a list of reasons we don't believe this is at all true:
- Sales of the General Motors hybrid pickup twins (the Chevy Silverado Hybrid and GMC Sierra Hybrid) could politely be described as anemic.
- No light-duty diesel version of the Dodge Ram was included in Chrysler's recent blitz of more than a dozen relaunched models for 2011.
- While the diesel was supposedly offered in both regular and Quad-Cab models, the hybrid transmission requires a longer cab, to mount the nickel-metal-hydride battery pack under its rear seat--so only one of the two could accommodate the hybrid option anyway.
- Chrysler would have to buy Two-Mode Hybrid transmissions outright from General Motors, now the sole company carrying forward with that powertrain.
Given all this, we called Chrysler. A person inside the company who asked not to be named (because authorization hadn't yet been given to respond, etc.) said, "We tried to figure out how to get these options and order a vehicle with them, and we couldn't do it."
2010 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid
Might that person be prevaricating? Perhaps. But we doubt it. There's just too much evidence against the sudden re-emergence of a product declared dead just months ago. We leave that kind of resurrection to the Dodge Viper.
For the record, Chrysler is still developing a plug-in hybrid version of the Ram pickup using funding from the U.S. Department of Energy. Just 140 of those vehicles will be built and tested during the three-year program.