When the 2019 Ram 1500 debuted earlier this year at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, the biggest news was arguably the addition of the 48-volt mild hybrid system. Dubbed eTorque, the system is standard on V6-equipped models and a $1,450 option on trucks with the 5.7-liter Hemi V8. It’s not a hybrid in the traditional sense.
The eTorque system replaces the engine’s alternator with a small, belt-driven electric motor. On the V6, the motor is part of the water pump assembly and driven by that belt; the V8 uses a dedicated belt that’s separate from the other accessories. A small battery pack is mounted upright behind the rear seats inside the truck’s cabin. There’s also a DC-to-DC converter to charge the battery and convert 48 volts down to 12 to power the truck’s normal systems.
Visually, the only difference between an eTorque-equipped model and a standard one is a small metal box at the top of the engine. There’s no badging and the battery pack can’t be seen, even with the rear seats folded up. The system is designed to be as seamless and innocuous as possible.
Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: I’d like to say I noticed a huge difference between the Ram eTorque and the regular Ram, but I didn’t. That’s how it’s supposed to work.
Speaking of the dashboard, the glam gauge cluster makes my eyeballs bleed. However, the rest of the interior is a big improvement over last year’s crass cacophony of cowboy cues. The new barn-siding oak trim is even kind of appealing.
Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder: I’ve been interested in Ram’s e-Torque system, and have been excited to try it out. It’s a bit heady for mild-hybrid technology, especially considering it doesn’t provide electric power to the wheels, except in fleeting, unnoticeable moments. But what it does do, it does fantastically.
Restarts of the engine after a stop are instantaneous. Shifts of the transmission are seamlessly
smooth. Even when you know it’s there, you won’t notice. It’s more about what you don’t
notice that makes this interesting, add it gives a feeling of refinement to this mighty Ram. I only
wish I’d had more time to drive it and get some fuel economy data.
Little things like that help improve efficiency. Think about how long a truck sits idle at a job site. It’s the small things that matter from here on out.
Associate Writer Zac Palmer: When a truck costs nearly $68,000, it better be damn good. This Ram 1500 meets that criteria and then some. The 48-volt E-Torque system is a fun piece of tech to have on board, but what really shocks is the interior. This thing has got four USB Type-C ports in it — two in the front and two for the rear.