2011 Dodge Ram 1500 to get Cummins diesel V8 or hybrid-electric powertrain

Article by Christian A., on December 9, 2010

The new entries in dealers’ Star systems indicate that there will soon be a 2011 Dodge Ram 1500 with a Cummins diesel V8 or a hybrid-electric powertrain. If this report is accurate, the model will be available in both regular and quad cab and will be powered by a 5.0 liter V8 diesel engine, which is probably the one from Cummins.

This engine intended for more lightweight service than the straight-six Cummins “B” engine that has been seen on heavy duty Ram trucks for many years.

If this is the case, it’s likely not to have a 350,000 time between overhauls (100,000 miles more than Chevy and Ford diesels), but would be more affordable and more practical for the Ram 1500.

The hybrid-electric powertrain will also appear as a transmission option. The four transmissions that will be available for Dodge trucks with the diesel engine are the six-speed Getrag manual, the 545RFE, a four-speed automatic 42RE, and the AHS-T.

It would seem that this is the “transmission with motors” that featured in the Durango and Aspen hybrids, an engineering achievement mainly reached by General Motors, with the involvement of BMW and DaimlerChrysler.

But then, we must keep in mind that these trucks may not actually be offered. There’s a possibility that they were entered into the system in anticipation but have not been approved yet or have not passed the required tests.

Amazingly, the new 2013 Ram 1500 is the first truck to feature an active grille shutter system. This system can automatically stop the airflow through the grille when there isn't a need for cooling. Thanks to this system, the truck suffers from between 3 percent and 5 percent less aerodynamic, thereby enhancing fuel economy by 0.5 percent and enhancing warm-up time/defrost time.

Once the active grille shutters are closed, airflow is channeled over and around the front of the Ram 1500. Instead of creating turbulence in the engine bay, this process hikes the truck’s aerodynamic performance. The shutters – which position is determined by the speed of the 1500 and the temperature of engine coolant – stay closed when engine cooling is less required and when aerodynamic drag is at a high. The shutters are opened when the truck needs more cooling air.

To deliver class-leading ride and handling, the new 2013 Ram 1500 could be specified with an all-new air suspension system, which features a load-leveling capability that could detect load on the suspension from a trailer or payload. The system increases air pressure until the 1500 reaches normal ride height, thereby leveling the truck.

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