Electric Vehciles

FCA CEO confirms that an all-electric Ram pickup is on the way

Ram will welcome an electric member to its family in the future.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The 2022 GMC Hummer EV and all-electric Ford F-150 are coming soon. It would ludicrous to think that Ram wouldn't be joining the other two members of the Big Three in producing an electric pickup truck.

Today, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Mike Manley confirmed that one is in the works during the company's third-quarter earnings call. He provided no additional details.

In response to an industry analyst's question on the matter, Manley said, "I do see that there will be an electrified Ram pickup in the marketplace, and I would ask you just to stay tuned for a little while, and we'll tell you exactly when that will be."

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk The 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is one of the least fuel-efficient vehicles FCA makes, but the Ram TRX is even less efficient.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The confirmation was a strategic, given that just one quarter ago Manley more or less ducked the question saying "Obviously, pickup trucks is a key franchise for us, and we're not going to sit on the sideline if there is a danger that our position gets diluted going forward," during that quarter's earnings call.

Ram isn't just facing competition from General Motors and Ford. It also has pressure coming from startups including Rivian, which is currently tooling as it gears up to produce the R1T, and Lordstown Motors, which is substantially backed by GM, and already has 40,000 reservations for fleet vehicles. Tesla has promised that the Cybertruck will come to market.

FCA is more than a touch behind when it comes to electrification. Its U.S. lineup is aging with the mid-generation Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid as its only plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) currently on sale. Ram offers a few mild-hybrid engine options for buyers and the Maserati Ghibli Hybrid is on the horizon. The company recently debuted PHEV 4xe versions of the Jeep Wrangler, Compass, and Renegade but only the Wrangler 4xe will be sold in the U.S. in the coming year.

In the meantime, FCA continues to push out fuel inefficient vehicles for buyer consumption in the U.S. where emissions regulations are not as stringent as they are in Europe and China. This includes the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk (EPA-estimated 15 mpg combined) and Ram 1500 TRX (EPA-estimated 12 mpg combined).

The way forward for Ram may be complicated by the forthcoming FCA-PSA Groupe merger, which is set to be confirmed by the European Union in early 2021.

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The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has been enhanced for the 2021 model year.

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

The plug-in electric vehicle world is getting more competitive. Ahead of its next-gen launch, Mitsubishi has announced the its 2021 Outlander Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) has been significantly upgraded to include a revised powertrain, enlarged battery pack, and better performance. there's a also a new trim level.

This comes as the company has revealed the redesigned 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander will go on sale this spring.

Mitsubishi will sell the Outlander PHEV in three trim levels for 2021: SEL, Limited Edition (LE), and GT. The LE trim is new and adds a standard sunroof, Mitsubishi Power Sound System, black grille, dark chrome dual-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels, and black front and rear bumper design to the model.

2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV The Outlander PHEV can be charged to make use of all-electric range or run as a traditional hybrid.Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

The 2021 version of the Outlander PHEV now comes with a 2.4-liter engine with the ability to achieve 126 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with a 70-kilowatt electric motor, upgraded from a 60-kilowatt unit. The total system output has now increased to 221 horsepower, up 31 horsepower from the previous model.

For the new model year, the SUV's main battery drive capacity has grown from 12.0 kilowatts per hour to 13.8 kilowatts per hour, increasing the SUV's all-electric range from 22 to 24 miles. It's all-electric top-speed has increased from 79 mph to 83 mph.

Mitsubishi says that the Outlander PHEV has also received software updates that improve the synchronization between the SUV's battery and engine, which is meant to reduce overall noise, vibration, and harshness.

Every Outlander PHEV comes equipped with all-wheel drive. It now has Sport and Snow driving modes as well.

The Mitsubishi has increased range for the 2021 model year.Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

Efficiency upgrades, combined with the new powertrain, lead the Outlander PHEV to achieve 74 MPGe and 26 mpg. Those are respectable numbers for a three-row SUV.

Forward collision alert with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring with assist, and automatic high beam headlights are standard on every Outlander PHEV model.

Mitsubishi backs every Outlander PHEV with a fully transferrable five-year/60,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty, as well as a fully transferable 10-year /100,000-mile limited warranty on PHEV components and the Main Drive Lithium-ion battery. These limited warranties are in addition to a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty to the original retail purchaser and a seven-year/100,000-mile anti-corrosion perforation limited warranty. Every Outlander PHEV also comes standard with a 5-year/unlimited mileage roadside assistance program.

The 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV starts at $36,295. The Outlander PHEV LE is priced at $37,995 while the top-tier Outlander PHEV GT comes in at $41,995.

Outlander PHEV is now eligible for $6,587 in federal tax credits, an increase of $751 compared to the 2020 model year.

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Photo courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service

The long process to design, engineer, and award a contract for the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) next-generation mail delivery vehicle (NGDV) has finally come to an end. The government has awarded Oshkosh Defense a contract to produce the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle for service. Oshkosh Defense is a a wholly owned subsidiary of Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE: OSK).

The NGDV project is the USPS's first large-scale fleet procurement in three decades. Over the next 10 years, the contract allows for the delivery of between 50,000 and 165,000 new vehicles.

"Oshkosh operates with unparalleled commitment to those who depend on our products and services to build, protect and serve communities around the world. We are honored to have been selected by the USPS to support their important work by manufacturing American-made Next Generation Delivery Vehicles that will connect every home and business across the United States for decades to come," said John Pfeifer, President & Chief Operating Officer, Oshkosh Corporation.

U.S. Postal Service's Next-Generation Mail Delivery Vehicle

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service

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The new mail trucks will have multiple powertrain options, just like many passenger vehicles on the road today. There will be a battery electric vehicle (BEV) version that runs exclusively on electric power and a fuel-efficient low-emission internal combustion engine vehicles (ICE) variant.

Under the contract awarded today, USPS has committed to paying Oshkosh Defense $482 million as a first step toward the new vehicles' production. The money will be used to finalize the production vehicle design and complete factory build-out, all of which is necessary before production gets underway. The process is similar to ones mass market vehicle manufacturers use.

"Our century-long history of delivering products to customers, operating in some of the most demanding and severe conditions on the planet, uniquely positions us to bring exceptional reliability, safety, and maintainability to USPS's Next Generation Delivery Vehicles," said John Bryant, Executive Vice President, Oshkosh Corporation, and President, Oshkosh Defense. "Partnering with trusted suppliers, we have developed a purpose-built solution to support the current and future needs of the USPS," Bryant concluded.

In addition to a new exterior and powertrain options, the NGTV also gets modern features and amenities like a rearview camera, walk-in cargo area, air condition, telematics, and a sliding cargo door. There's also a host of safety technology and equipment including airbags, automatic front and rear braking, blind spot warning, a 360-degree camera, and forward collision warning.

Production of the next generation delivery vehicle is expected to begin in 2023.

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