What are the Advantages of Fueling Ram HD Trucks with Hydrogen?

May 17th, 2024 by

Miami Lakes Automall 2024 Ram 5500

Photo Source: Ram

Stellantis-owned Ram has plans to introduce a hydrogen-powered 5500 heavy-duty pickup truck for the North American market. Indeed, Ram’s parent company expects to exponentially increase its hydrogen-powered vehicle lineup in coming years, growing from the 350 units of its hydrogen-powered delivery vans sold last year (2023) to more than 100,000 units annually by the 2030 model year. In an interview with the German publication Welt, Jean-Michel Billig, head of Stellantis’ hydrogen efforts, claimed, “This year (2024), we are starting production of larger vehicles in Poland.” He added, “And development in North America should follow quickly – especially with the large RAM 5500 in a fuel cell version.”

Making Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) a Reality

It is worth noting that Stellantis is rolling out fuel cells in some of its midsize and large vans in France and Poland, under its Peugeot, Vauxhall, Citroen, Opel, and Fiat brands. Even though most of those models are specific to markets outside of North America, the Fiat Ducato–currently powered by gasoline only–is the basis of the Ram ProMaster sold in North America. 

To clarify, fuel-cell electric vehicles are electric vehicles that do not get plugged in and charged. Instead, they depend on an onboard supply of hydrogen to make their own electricity, via the fuel cell, thus powering their electric drive motors. As such, it does not take much longer to fill their hydrogen tanks than it does to fuel up a conventional vehicle, as opposed to the time it takes to charge an electric vehicle.

Fuel-cell electric vehicles also tend to weigh less than battery-electric vehicles, potentially giving them higher payload and towing capacity. Currently, the Ram 5500 series is sold as a Chassis Cab and is motivated by a 6.4-liter V-8 engine as standard. Optionally, consumers can select from a 6.7-liter inline-six Cummins turbo diesel. Experts also indicate that these heavy-duty commercial offerings provide a stout 19,500-pound gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) compared to the 6,010-pound GVWR offered by the entry-level Ram 1500 pickup truck. 

Even though these are stupendous powertrains and easily pull the bulky trucks and their large loads, they are not exactly efficient or frugal. Presenting a fuel-cell variant would provide customers with an equally potent yet eco-friendly alternative to the V-8 and diesel engines.

Expanding Production of Ram FCEVs

Readers must keep in mind that the retail price of hydrogen remains stubbornly high at this time. Still, Stellantis thinks the market will be there when costs come down. While the new hydrogen Ram will be built in the Saltillo, Mexico truck assembly plant, exactly where it will be sold has yet to be revealed. The North American release could involve sales in Mexico, although it is unlikely it would attain general release in the United States or Canada due to the lack of hydrogen infrastructure. However, one possibility might be for industry in California, particularly in the large ports, as that state is gradually clamping down on diesel emissions.

At the same time, Jean-Michel Billig declared, “In the coming decade, we expect a significant market share for [hydrogen] technology. In commercial vehicles it could be up to 40 percent.” If you are equally enthusiastic about the future of fuel cell electric vehicles, please support Ram by visiting Miami Lakes Automall. We are all about helping our customers enjoy their shopping experience. We have a friendly and passionate sales team that will make your buying, leasing, or selling needs easy for any of our new vehicle inventory. We are happy to be your dealership home.

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