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Ram’s Hydrogen-Powered Heavy-Duty Pickup Is Finally Coming To America

Key Takeaways

  • Ram plans to introduce a hydrogen-powered 5500 heavy-duty truck in North America.
  • The hydrogen FCEV version would offer consumers an eco-friendly alternative to V8 and turbodiesel engines.
  • Stellantis has previously said it plans to introduce a hydrogen-powered truck but shared no details at the time.

Stellantis-owned Ram has plans to introduce a hydrogen-powered 5500 heavy-duty truck for the North American market. In an interview with the German publication Welt Am Sonntag, Jean-Michel Billig, head of Stellantis’ hydrogen efforts, said production of the fuel-cell truck will begin this year.

Billig said the first vehicles will be built in Poland later this year, with development following in North America shortly afterward. “Hydrogen will be an essential part of CO2-free mobility in the future. We want to offer a completely decarbonized product range in Europe by 2030. We also need this technology for this,” said Billig. CarBuzz has contacted Ram to learn more about the 5500 FCEV and will update the article once we receive a reply.

FCEV Drivetrain May Replace Thirsty V8 And Cummins Diesel

Currently, the 5500 is sold as a Chassis Cab, and is powered by a 6.4-liter V8 engine as standard. Optionally, customers can choose from a 6.7-liter inline-six Cummins turbodiesel. While these are excellent powertrains and easily pull these hefty trucks (and their big loads), they’re not exactly frugal or efficient. Introducing a fuel-cell version would provide consumers with an equally powerful yet eco-friendly alternative to the large V8 and diesel engines.

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You may remember that Ram announced a hydrogen-powered pickup last year. This is likely the 5500, which would have limited appeal at first. Like the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo, the FCEV Ram 5500 may initially be sold in The Golden State only. As one of the biggest markets – particularly for alternatively fueled vehicles – in the United States, it would make sense for Ram to cater to customers in California.

Ram 5500 3/4 front view

Hydrogen Would Make Sense For A Truck Of This Size

Evidence suggests the hydrogen-powered 5500 will plug a gap in the local market. On Ram’s 5500 configurator, a message reads, “Not registerable in all 50 states. Starting January 1, 2024, 2024 Ram Chassis Cab 4500 and 5500 vehicles with Aisin transmissions will no longer be available for registration in the state of California.” It’s worth noting Toyota is also working on a hydrogen fuel-cell pickup based on the Hilux.


Stellantis CEO Says Battery Weight Must Be Halved

Reducing battery weight is key to making a positive environmental impact with electrification.

Going electric would be impractical, as the battery required to lug these big trucks around (and provide a decent range) would have to be massive. It would be very expensive and heavy, which poses several other issues. This is why companies such as Hyundai also use hydrogen for heavy-duty tractors. Reports suggest the Ram 5500 FCEV will be built in Mexico, but this is yet to be confirmed. The truck maker is one of the last to introduce electrified trucks, with rivals from Ford, GM, Rivian, and Tesla all bringing electric pickups to market sooner. However, that will change with the Ram 1500 REV and the upcoming hydrogen-powered truck.

Source: Welt Am Sonntag via Welt

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