New Package

Ram announces new blacked out 1500 and HD trucks at Texas State Fair

Ram has introduced new blacked out editions of their popular trucks.

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Yes, I'm back. Well, I'm back in black. Ram unveiled new 1500 Limited Black Edition and Heady Duty Big Horn and Laramie Night Editions at the State Fair of Texas. The fresh models combine the award-winning design and engineering of Ram trucks with blacked out design elements and equipment.

"Along with increasing capability, technology and efficiency, Ram is always looking for ways to create more comfort and refinement for our customers. The new Limited Black Edition is another example of how we deliver the most luxurious pickups in the industry," said Reid Bigland, head of Ram brand. "Additionally, the new Heavy Duty Big Horn and Laramie Night Editions now offer an even wider selection of personalized content."

2020 Ram 1500 Limited Black Edition

On the 2020 Ram 1500 Limited Black Edition the following parts are uniquely black: grille with R-A-M letters, badging, tow hooks, exhaust, premium LED headlamps, grille surround, bumpers, door handles and side-view mirrors. Each model also has Limited trim features including 22-inch black wheels, tonneau cover, and sport performance hood.

2020 Ram 1500 Limited Black EditionThe Ram 1500 Limited Black Edition is new for the 2020 model year.Photo courtesy of Ram

It comes in 4x2 and 4x4 configurations and is powered by the buyer's choice of a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6, 5.7-liter HEMI V8, or 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with eTorque.

The Ram 1500 Limited Black Edition has a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $53.690. It will arrive at dealerships in the late third quarter of 2019.

2020 Ram HD Big Horn and Laramie Night Editions

The big boys are getting a makeover as well. Ram HDs in Big Horn and Laramie trim levels will be available with blacked out exterior elements including a black grille with body-colored surround, black badging, black headlight and taillight bezels, and black 20-inch wheels. Duallies get 17-inch black wheels with machined pockets.

2002 Ram 3500 HD Night EditionThe black accents give the truck a commanding presence.Photo courtesy of Ram

It comes in Ram 2500 and 3500 crew cab models with 4x2 or 4x4. Buyers can choose from either the 6.4-liter HEMI V8 or 6.7-liter Cummins six-cylinder under the hood. The Cummins has 1,000 pound-feet of torque.

The 2020 Ram Heavy Duty Night Editions has a starting MSRP of $37,995. Ram Heavy Duty Night Editions go on sale later fourth quarter.

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First-year Ford F-150 Lightning production numbers doubled
Ford

Ford has begun serial production of the new F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck, marking what could be one of the most important days in recent automotive history. The first trucks rolled off the assembly line at Ford's Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Michigan today, so America's best-selling truck has finally gone electric. Ford wants to sell two million EVs per year by 2026 and have half of its global sales volume to be electric by 2030.

Ford F-150 LightningPast meets future: Ford's new electric pickup will be the F-150 Lightningautomotivemap.com

Ford has seen extreme demand for the trucks, with 200,000 reservations since the books opened. To deliver, the automaker plans to increase production to an annual rate of 150,000 units by next year, which involved huge investments in the Rouge Center and created hundreds of jobs. Ford's total investment for the F-150 Lightning crests $1 billion across Michigan alone, and has created 1,700 jobs across various facilities in the state.

Ford F-150 LightningThe first production trucks left the factory today.
Ford Motor Company

Though the Lightning starts around $40,000, the most mainstream models will cost much more than that. The F-150 Lightning Pro, while affordable, is a stripped-down truck intended for commercial buyers. It's still a forward-looking electric truck with amazing capabilities, but it lacks much of the creature comforts and features that everyday drivers expect. Higher trims get the latest driver assistance features, including BlueCruise, which is Ford's semi-autonomous hands-free driving assistant. A 12-inch touchscreen is standard, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and more.

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New mail delivery vehicles

USPS orders almost $3 billion in new mail trucks

The new mail trucks are scheduled to hit the streets next year.

USPS

Your mail carrier is about to get a huge transportation upgrade. The United States Postal Services (USPS) is retiring its current fleet of mail trucks, many of which have been on the road for more than 30 years. The Oshkosh Defense Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) is expected to hit the streets in 2023, and will mark a big step forward in safety, comfort, and even styling for the classic mail truck.

The $2.98 billion order is for 50,000 vehicles, around 10,000 of which will be electric - more than double the original number of EVs expected in the contract. The USPS' current fleet contains nearly 200,000 vehicles, many of which have been on the road for decades. They lack current safety features, are massively inefficient, and have long been a maintenance nightmare. The new trucks will be able to carry larger loads and will offer basic comfort and convenience features, such as air conditioning, a camera system, and traction control.

Oshkosh NGDVThe new vehicles offer numerous upgrades over the previous model. USPS

Even with the steep increase in the number of EVs, the USPS deal is still heavily tilted toward gas-powered trucks. As Reutersnotes, 80 percent of the trucks purchased will be powered by internal combustion engines. The Postal Service estimates its 20-year costs at $9.3 billion for gas mail trucks and $11.6 billion for EVs. Those numbers cover 75,000 new trucks and includes fuel, maintenance, and related costs.

Oshkosh won the USPS contract in 2021 after a years-long selection process. Controversy over the deal began almost immediately, as many were surprised at the number of gas vehicles. The current Grumman LLVs (long-life vehicles) were only intended to run for 24 years, but at this point, all of them have served much longer than that. A fleet of gas powered mail trucks purchased today could theoretically still be on the road deep into the 2040s, at which point most major automakers will have shifted to EVs.

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