A Ram EV? We’ll see how these other guys deal first, Manley Hints

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Suddenly big electric mics have become the hottest thing you can’t buy yet. But they’re out there, imminent, just waiting to see if the demand for this embyonic segment materializes.

Ford, General Motors, Rivian, Tesla, and Lordstown Motors all have an interest in the game, with the next two years promising to reveal exactly how much pent-up thirst exists for these battery-bound behemoths. Fiat Chrysler, an automaker whose historic aversion to electric vehicles is a matter of record, is looking aside.

Not surprisingly, the FCA is considering taking a wait-and-see approach.

When asked about the ambitions of FCA rivals during a call for results this week, CEO Mike Manley did not jump on the gotta-have-an-EV-truck bandwagon. He’ll catch the ride if it’s worth it, not before.

“Pickup is a key franchise for us and we’re not going to stay on the sidelines if there’s a risk that our position will get diluted,” Manley said, per Bloomberg.

For now, the automaker is content to offer two versions of the full-size Ram, one old, one new, with rugged models rounding out the team. A medium size would be nice, but this possible project is still uncertain. For now, the Ram 1500 Classic, which will soon enter its third year of production, serves those looking to spend less.

At least for now, that exceeds spending precious dollars on an expensive development program with uncertain outcome.

Despite the nasty words spoken by former CEO Sergio Marchionne about the old Fiat 500e, FCA is not shying away from electrification. Mild hybrids are already plentiful in the Ram and Jeep cash cow brands. The worldwide popularity of its Jeep brand depends on the widespread availability of hybrids, and that’s exactly what the brand is going to get. While the Renegades and Electrified Compasses will primarily tempt buyers on the east side of the Atlantic, larger models like the next-gen Grand Cherokee are also expected to go green. Count the next Wagoneer / Grand Wagoneer among this cohort, as well as the impending Wrangler plug-in.

FCA’s merger partner Groupe PSA this week revealed a new modular electric vehicle platform, saying it should find its way under compact and midsize vehicles by 2023. If FCA needs to more help for electric vehicles without a pickup in the future, the platform is here for the catch.

Of course, if the demand for large EV pickups takes off, there is still the possibility of turning to Rivian for their in-house skateboard platform, saving the automaker time and R&D costs. Ford went its own way with the F-150 EV, so the two wouldn’t be platform buddies.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]



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