2019 Ram 1500's Hybrid System Won't Keep Your Beer Cold


Ford will have the upper hand when it rolls out its hybrid F-150.

When the brand-new arrives on dealer lots with a standard mild-hybrid system later this year, don't expect it to be the mobile work site powerhouse you crave. The 48-volt eTorque hybrid system uses a small lithium-ion battery pack to power its electric motor, which then sends an extra bit of grunt to the engine. However, the hybrid's electrical system isn't tied into the truck's 115-volt outlets, meaning all their electricity will come from the truck's 12-volt battery when the engine is turned off.

This may seem like a minor detail, but it's an important one when Ram's main competitor, Ford, is planning to bring out a hybrid pickup of its own. For pickup buyers, fuel economy isn't a major concern, and it ranks No. 28 on their list of purchase priorities, according to . To combat that, Ford will market its forthcoming hybrid F-150 as a mobile charger of sort, able to provide juice to power tools and electric coolers that keep beer cold at the campsite—all while the engine is turned off. It's a competitive loss for Ram, which has a lot riding on hybrid technology to sell its next generation of pickups.

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When Ram debuted its new 1500 pickup at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, it touted the hybrid system's fuel-saving capabilities along with its torque assistance, which can generate up to 130 lb-ft of additional twist on demand in V8 models and boost hauling and towing capability. While there is a 48-to-12-volt converter built into the system, eTorque's operation is limited to when the Ram 1500's engine is turned on. With that, owners could run the 1500's 12-volt battery flat if they forget about that cooler plugged into the RamBox's 115-volt outlet. Still, with all that extra torque on tap, you may not want to turn the truck off anyway.