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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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The Hispano Suiza Carmen Boulogne is an all-electric hypercar

Photo courtesy of Hispano Suiza

The Hispano Suiza brand has been around for more than a century. Now primarily known as an aerospace company, the automotive side of the business is attempting a revival, first with the Carmen's introduction and now with the Carmen Boulogne, a sportier take on the Carmen.

The Carmen Boulogne is a fully electric and exclusive hypercar that was designed, developed, and manufactured in Barcelona, Spain. The company will create just five examples for sale.

Its name origin stretches back to 1921 when Hispano Suiza made a racing version of its high-performance H6 Coupé and entered it in the George Boillot Cup, an endurance race lasting more than 3.5 hours around the French city of Boulogne. Hispano Suiza took the win at the race in 1921, 1922, and 1923.

Hispano Suiza Carmen Boulogne Photo courtesy of Hispano Suiza

The Hispano Suiza Carmen Boulogne delivers 1,098 horsepower and has an electronically limited maximum speed of 180 mph. The car can get form zero to 60 mph in 2.6 seconds and weighs 3,593 pounds. Its weight is 60 pounds less than the traditional Carmen, a number that was achieved by changing out traditional structural elements for a carbon fiber subframe, among other parts. Additionally, the entire body of the car is carbon fiber.

The car's 80 kilowatt hour battery gives it a driving range of up to 248 miles. That's similar to the range of the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E. Its battery is designed and produced in-house, and has fast-charging capability of more than 80 kilowatts, taking just 30 minutes to charge from 30 to 80 percent via a CCS2 fast charger. It also has CHAdeMO and GB/T charging options.

Each rear wheel of the car has two permanent-magnet synchronous motors. The torque deliver of each motor is controlled through a vectoring system honed by experience in Formula E racing. Off the line through 6,500 rpm, the car is capable of reaching 1,180 pound-feet of torque.

The face of the car has the same semi-circular headlights and scowl as the Carmen, with the difference of a copper-colored grille. Buyers can customize their model to include either suede or black Alcantara on the dashboard and door panels.

Hispano Suiza Carmen Boulogne

Photo courtesy of Hispano Suiza

The price of the Hispano Suiza Carmen Boulogne starts at $2 million USD, and its manufacturing process requires approximately twelve month of lead time.

The five units of the Carmen Boulogne hypercar join the 14 units of the Carmen to reach a total of 19 units in production, with the first unit ready to be delivered in 2022.

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The 2021 Kia Sorento is towing the numerals for the 2020 Times Square New Year's Eve ball drop ceremony across the country.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The journey is underway. As many Americans are eager to close out 2020, Kia is working to make the end of the year happen in style. A 2021 Kia Sorento is hauling the iconic numerals for the One Times Square ball drop ceremony across the country with planned stops in Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.

"New Year's Eve is typically seen as a fresh start and a new beginning, and that holds true this year more than ever. With its rugged capability, the Kia Sorento will bring a little piece of the energy and fun of New Year's Eve in Times Square to people nationwide. This will also be a reminder that we're all in this together and that the New Year brings new opportunities and excitement," said Russell Wager, director, marketing operations, Kia Motors America.

2007 New Year's Eve Ball Drop Numerals Workers unload the giant '7' completing the "2-0-0-7" sign for the New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square December 13, 2006 in New York City.Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

The fourth-generation Sorento started its journey at Kia's North American headquarters in Irvine, California. Its journey will end in Times Square, the New Year's Eve heart of New York City, where the SUV and its cargo will be on display for three days along with other vehicles, before being installed on the top of One Times Square awaiting the iconic ball drop ceremony.

Kia lists the vehicle as being able to tow up to 3,500 pounds in the SX Prestige X-Line trim when equipped with the available factory-installed tow hitch, a $475 add-on.

At select points along the way, National Geographic will document the Sorento's journey, bringing stories from its stops to life through photography and video.

The publicity stunt culminates in the launch of a new creative campaign for the 2021 Sorento, which will debut during "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2021" on ABC. During the broadcast, you may see some Kia employees in the Times Square. They are there courtesy of the company, who will be hosting them at the event.

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