Ram Trucks Pull the Plug on Hybrids

By · February 10, 2011

Dodge Ram Truck

Fred Diaz, president and CEO of Ram, Chrysler’s stand-alone truck brand, told PluginCars.com that the company had no plans to produce any hybrid trucks beyond its current government-funded program. “Truckers don’t want to buy hybrids,” he said pointedly.

Diaz added that Ram did expect to take away some “learning about technology” from the program, but said that hybrids would not be brought to market. The company displayed a prototype of its plug-in hybrid Ram pickup at the Washington DC Auto Show in January and said the first fleet deliveries of the 140 units would take place this summer.

Canadian battery manufacturer Electrovaya has been working with Chrysler on a prototype plug-in hybrid Ram pickup truck using Electrovaya's 12 kWh lithium-ion "SuperPolymer" battery system that the company says will give 20 miles of EV-only mileage. The petrol part of the drivetrain is a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. Development of the PHEV Ram is part to a $48 million grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act DOE Vehicle Electrification Program and a $5 million grant from the Canadian government.

Chrysler started announcing plans for a Ram Hybrid soon after hybrids were introduced nearly a decade ago. In March 2010, the company finally decided to kill plans for a 2011 Dodge Ram Hybrid—although it was only too happy to pursue a plug-in hybrid variety, even if only long enough to utilize the $48 million dollar grant. When the grant was announced, Paolo Ferrero, senior vice president of powertrain for Chrysler, said, “This initiative represents how government, automotive industry, suppliers and key partners are reaching common goals and demonstrates how rapidly this type of advanced technology can be brought to market.” Repeat: Brought to market.

When I asked Diaz about technologies Ram will use to meet increasing fuel economy standards for trucks, he responded that Chrysler’s new relationship with Fiat brought with it the potential to add a variety of technologies as well as new vehicles. “We need to be in a position to address higher fuel economy standards,” Diaz said, but not with plug-in hybrids.

Comments

· · 3 years ago

Translation: Real, truck-driving men don't need no stinking wussy hybrids.

Sounds more like a failure of marketing imagination. I bet hybrid trucks would sell if you called them the Dodge Ram with the Ultra Dual Output Diesel-Electric Max Torque Power Heavy Duty Motor System.

· · 3 years ago

Chrysler is still in business? Huh

· · 3 years ago

LoL @ Evil Attorney

· · 3 years ago

>> Chrysler is still in business? Huh <<

If I recall, they made a nice (albeit overdone) luxury car in the late 50's, the Imperial. Then there was a stint with "Safety doesn't sell!" Iaccoca, and the stunning K cars. Oh, yeah, later there was the Viagra alternative, the Dodge Viper. That's all I remember, other than the inability of some German company to provide a proper funeral.

· · 3 years ago

They squandered our money to no good end.

It will be interesting to see the Fiat 500 pickup truck they must be planning to replace the Ram. “Truckers don’t want to buy hybrids,” he says "but our research shows that they love the idea of a Fiat 500 with a wicker basket bed out back."

· Lad (not verified) · 3 years ago

So, what's the problem? 18 wheel truckers don't have hybrids available! I hope you're not calling the Ram drivers truckers.

My guess is Fiat doesn't want to build Ram Hybrids here because they are late to the game and their bailout money was used by the formal Chrysler holding company, private equity firm Cerberus. BTW, has the Government ever investigated Cerberus to find out how they spent the tax money? I know they have been involved with GMAC and Chrysler Motors,and that they closed down Mervin's Department Stores; but, I am unaware of any value they added to those companies other than turning GMAC into a bank so they could collect additional tax money. Something is wrong there.

· Doug (not verified) · 3 years ago

This is the same rationale between "Diet Beer" vs "Lite Beer". Real men can't be on diets and real men can't drive hybrid trucks. This is total BS and this is exactly why the Chrysler corporation will collapse soon - as soon as gas prices go up they will be left with nothing once again....you won't be missed.

· American Taxpayer (not verified) · 3 years ago

I want a refund!

· Evan (not verified) · 3 years ago

Mr. Diaz's thinking just goes hand in hand with the fact that Chrysler is dead last in quality and reliability. I want a refund too!

· merlinus (not verified) · 3 years ago

The pick-up truck is the last bastion of the "it’s my right to drive a living room on wheels with the added bonus of extra cargo capacity and damn all the rest of you econo-boxers" American car owner. These obese hoarders need a little more convincing to comply with the right vision for the future.

· Dom (not verified) · 3 years ago

I agree with him. I have no interest whatsoever in a hybrid truck. Now offer a diesel in their 1/2 ton and smaller trucks and I will be all ears (especially if a manual transmission is mated to it). I hope that is what he is referring to in that last bit on Fiat technology. I just makes so much sense... if you look at the trucks available in other countries, they all have diesel engines.

· · 3 years ago

Chrysler has a long history of failure and bailout by the US Government. This is one company that truly should have been allowed to fail. They have no problem talking the talk to get the coin, but a bit of trouble walking the walk. I can't fathom why they are still in business (having nothing to do with their hybrid or EV plans.)

· Austintatious (not verified) · 3 years ago

The fact that the old business mentality is still in place at Chrysler is just another example of how misguided and inept the policies of the Obama administration have been with regard to the auto company bailouts. While it is arguable that it was in the best interests of the country to put up taxpayer money for the bailouts, the way this administration handled, or mishandled, the details is nothing short of grossly negligent, having afforded these failed or failing businesses suffering primarily from self inflicted wounds huge loans of taxpayer dollars with essentially no strings attached. It is no surprise, then, that the mentality represented by this man's comments is still alive and quite well in the industry. All one need do is look at the products the three big companies continue to offer. It's one more opportunity missed by the Obama administration, as other major economies gain more ground on the technological and manufacturing capacities of the United States.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

This is what happens when people believe the fantastical notion that fossil fuel car companies want to actually produce "alternative vehicles". They are only too happy to run fake research programs funded completely with taxpayers money, knowing full well nothing will ever come of it. Look at GM and its Fool-Cell vehicles, the so-called volt and other greenwash scams. Auto companies have one goal and one goal only, to produce cludgy overbuilt GAS powered vehicles. Leaveing aside the real question of whether we should be building vehicles at all, anyone that thinks the present gang of FF car companies have any intention of building vehicles that run on anything other than gas-o-line, is fooling themselves

· · 3 years ago

Boy! GM and Chrysler are America's two big obese welfare babies. They take all the American tax payers money they can get and give us crap covered lies in return. We should stop buying GM and Chrysler products and let them return back down in the sewer where they seem like staying...or they can move to another third-world country.

· · 3 years ago

I see in the comments that the Republican are still blaming Obama for the collapse of the American economy. Is it any wonder that the two worst automakers in America, GM and Chrysler are owned and operated by Republicans? Yeah, its Obama's fault that these two worthless automakers are fat and oily welfare babies. The Republicans never did and never will take responsibility for themselves and, I reckon, they will always blame the democrats for their downfall and seek revenge no matter the American casualties they leave in their wake.

· Samie (not verified) · 3 years ago

Austintatious
Everyone can second guess the details of the bailout. Markets should correct themselves in theory but that never happens. With the gas spike, gift of cash for clunkers, and the economic problems of selling the SUV model, the federal government mustard a good (not great) increase in CAFE regulations.

I think Don is exactly right, a small block diesel in a 1/2 ton would be sweet. The scam is to sell most diesel engines only for high-end quad cab trucks.

The hybrid Ram was a joke. The reason goes back to the premium that the consumer pays. Would it have been a waste of time to work on a Dodge Neon plug-in that most could afford? Sounds funny but I only can think of a few Jeep models, Chrysler 300, and Ram truck as the only viable products of this company.

· Priusmaniac (not verified) · 3 years ago

This is a clear and outrageous abuse of taxpayers’ money. Fred Diaz must be prosecuted for outrage against taxpayers and the good faith of government officials and Chrysler must refund the 48 million $ and pay an additional fine atop of it. Additionally there must be an investigation into the internal motives at Chrysler and a serious check at their environmental awareness and obligations. This kind of attitude was bad in the sixties, irresponsible in the seventies, felony in the eighties, outrageous in the nineties and is blunt crime against humanity in 2011.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

Bummer! My Ram is pushing 130K miles and there's no way I'm buying another guzzler. Fortunately I don't drive it much anymore except when I actually need a truck, so my next vehicle will be a plug-in. Was kinda hoping it could still be a truck... but thanks Chrysler for making my decision easier.....

· · 3 years ago

Whoa, folks. While the outrage about the use of taxpayer money may have some validity, I'm seeing a substantial lack of understanding of what pickup trucks' role is out there. The vast majority are work trucks, often with small businesses, where they really do work, i.e., hauling things, towing things, going places cars shouldn't or couldn't go. Not the natural environment for a hybrid, although some fairly new and expensive technology might work there. As @Dom said, light-duty diesels and advanced engine/transmission technologies are more likely to produce more efficient and functional Rams than hybrid technology. We shall see.

· · 3 years ago

In Europe we have the same small businesses. Plumbers, electricians and handymen who drive much smaller cars without any impact to their business.

99% of pickup trucks are about ego and nothing else.

· · 3 years ago

Why all that Chrysler bashing?
Toyota doesn't plan any hybrid Tundra either.

· · 3 years ago

Unfortunately CAFE and other forces have created a huge need for big trucks by hampering the ability of cars to do anything besides benign highway driving.
My grandfathers used to haul everything in a trailer towed by their Buicks and Oldsmobiles. Most of their driving was done in the car but when they needed to haul, they just hitched up a trailer.
Car manufacturers today try very hard to discourage towing of any kind with their CAFE-doftened cars. How much of this is to encourage us to buy high-margin trucks and SUVs and how much is really caused by the lightening required by CAFE is unclear. This could also be because they chose to meet CAFE by lightening their ICE cars instead of adopting good hybrid designs.
Of course, for safety liability reasons, trailer rental places generally won't rent you a large trailer if you don't have a full-size pickup or huge SUV. If they run into this very many times, many handy and useful people tend to just suck it up and buy a big truck today. Wimpy people who want to look like they are handy and useful will then buy big trucks too (agreeing with dutchinchicago) :-(
I keep an SUV around for utility and rugged purposes but it costs money and parking space to just keep it around, something not everyone can afford to do.
If you look in Europe, many homeowners keep a small trailer and have a hitch on their compact hatchback for trips to the DIY store (similar to Home Depot, etc).
A small PHEV (preferably with diesel ICE for maximum efficiency and fuel flexibility) with a strong electric motor should be able to offload the problems that light transmissions have towing heavy trailers yet it won't hurt gas mileage. This could be in an aerodynamic car body just as easily as a truck body so it wouldn't waste fuel as much in normal passenger/highway driving but would serve when needed.

· LakeCountyHybrid (not verified) · 3 years ago

Laurent, the difference is Toyota is doing things with more of the rest of their line and Toyota is not known for its trucks. I have always been a Chrysler fan, in fact for 10 years or more that is all I had, but since Lee left the company it has all been down hill. And actually this really just proves my point that bailing out companies is bad for capitalism, Obama saved Chrysler and for what? Seen anything to say that they should have been saved? I mean this is a company who is the leader in Minivans, anybody seen the first hybrid minivan from Chrysler? huh? no, thought not. Its time to let poor performing American companies that are only looking out for shareholders, not the American customer to go the way of the dodo bird. At least GM seems to be making progress, but one car to me does not show that they truly get it yet either. I want to buy American cars (although most are not so American anymore), but these companies make it very hard, except for Ford, and so, now I own 2 Fords instead of 2 Chryslers like the old days.

· Samie (not verified) · 3 years ago

dutchinchicago wrote "99% of pickup trucks are about ego and nothing else".

Lets dive into what I think 'ego' is in buying a truck. I think most V8 options are a joke & a waste of money as most need only a V6 or diesel engine. I agree with others that trucks are important for some small businesses & those who need to haul or tow things. Lets not let the idiotic general contractor who has a new/clean, no scratches, top of the line work truck for show get in the way of those who still have a need for a working truck.

One last note I am sad that the Ford Ranger, Chevy SS, and Isuzu small truck options won't come back. At least we are seeing an emergence of small hatchback/station wagon vehicles for those who need to haul stuff.

· Austintatious (not verified) · 3 years ago

@ Michael:

I suggest, respectfully, that you reconsider your comments about the role of pickup trucks, at least for some parts of the country. Maybe it depends a lot on where you live and I don't know what part of the country you're in but, in Texas, a very significant portion, if not the majority, of privately owned/used pickups are used as passenger cars or for occasional light hauling. In addition, many fleet and business owned pickups are used for relative light duty. My observation is that most are half tons or the smaller truck models and that they are not typically used as off road vehicles. While the technology may not be well suited for the heavy haulers, surely it would be practical for all those pickups we see being driven to the office with the driver and maybe a passenger or two inside, including lots of Dodge Rams.

· Samie (not verified) · 3 years ago

ex-EV1 driver
Maybe you can help me understand why all major auto-manufactures took the small truck out of production. Also, why no small diesel for a 1/2 ton truck? I honestly think there is a market for these type of vehicles as we see with newer hatchback options. We could also add a hybrid mini-van to the list. I could be wrong but I think most of the argument goes to profit margin strategies not burden (cost) of CAFE regulations.

· · 3 years ago

@ex-EV1 driver. My take on the dearth of small pickups is that relatively cheap gas and the relatively small cost differential between building a small truck and a full-size one squeezed the smaller trucks out of the market. That said, Ford has introduced the Transit Connect (including a plug-in version) and Chrysler is clearly looking at some of the smaller Fiat offerings (Diaz mentioned them as part of the future options). On diesels--all three Detroit automakers (and Toyota & Nissan) has light-duty diesel on the planning board when the recession hit. Those engines--and several other unrelated programs--went on the chopping block. Chrysler appears close to adding a Cummins to its Ram 1500, but Diaz said they're looking at Fiat diesels as well.

· · 3 years ago

@Austintatious, And I would just as respectfully suggest that most of the pickup posers who bought trucks because they were "cool" have dumped them when gas prices spiked--and pickup sales did cool off. There are certainly non-business uses of pickups, but again, every automaker will tell you the typical buyer is getting the truck for work/business purposes and, while @Samie makes a good point about the V8 option not being needed all the time, the pricing of that option and the potential for better performance/capabilities means a skew toward the bigger engine. Another factoid from Diaz that probably ensures Ram will soon have a light-duty diesel--70-75% of their HD Rams are sold with Cummins diesel engines.

· Highrev2 (not verified) · 3 years ago

I think that one of the truck manufacturers needs to come up with a hybrid. And one that makes sense. Retail guys probably won't "want" a hybrid truck. But construction company fleet managers such as myself would love them. A V6 or small V8 hybrid would sell like hotcakes to large corporate and municipalities. Most F150's, 1500 Silverado's and Ram 1500's sit on jobsites idling for large chunks of time, mostly for HVAC reasons. Ford is close if they can pull off the start/stop technology. Next time you are out look at how many white pick ups you see with some logo on the side, that could be a hybrid.

I convinced my boss to buy me an Escape Hybrid in 2007, at the time he said "who drive a hybrid, I need a V8", now after four years of signing checks for the fuel bill he changed his tune. Every time we need a managers of light duty vehicle = "can I get one of those hybrids for them too"

Money talks, and the technology is out there

· · 3 years ago

I have been out of the truck market for so long that I actually didn't realize that compact pickups had come off the market.
I could probably relate it to the new CAFE which includes light trucks too. Small pickups always had a low margin so, just like station wagons were the first on the chopping block with the first CAFE laws, it makes sense that pickups would be sacrificed in favor of spending their fuel economy points on higher margin SUVs.

· · 3 years ago

@Highrev2. GM's got a hybrid version of the Silverado, but it appears the only buyers appear to government entities. It's price/value is pretty slim for fleets. You get almost as much buying the base V6 for much less. It will be interesting to see how the new Eco-boost F-150 fares in the market. The small SUV market like the Escape is completely different than the pickup market (and of course the Escape is a car-based vehicle as well, helping its fuel economy in all versions). We will definitely see more downsizing in the commercial market as prices rise, but that may not mean a rush to alternative technologies.

· · 3 years ago

Why do people keep saying Obama bailed out GM and Chrysler? The bailouts were in 2008. These were Bush bailouts.

I think the truck hybrids, in general, are actually a great idea. If you look at the gallon/mile rates instead of mpg, it shows that turning a truck into a hybrid saves as much gas as turning 2 or 3 compact cars into hybrids.

· · 3 years ago

@ Michael Coates -

I don't follow the logic that just because pickups are most often used for "real" stuff like hauling and going places cars don't go (This isn't the case anywhere that I've been in CA (where the're mostly used for single-occupant commute vehicles), but it may well be the case in the general US population) - that they can't be hybrid? Is the idea that hybrids are only useful for light duty? Like locomotives (in use for too many years to count) or earth movers (in use for too many years to count)??

How could heavy-duty mean "no hybrids" to anybody? Makes no sense. What did I miss?

I'm really curious - is the picture of the blue pickup attached to this article one of those "real" trucks that's used for hauling and towing in places cars can't go? Has about as much ground clearnace as my Prius. And far less than my Rav4EV.

· · 3 years ago

@darelldd No one said car (or truck) buying decisions were completely rational. Of course hybrids make a lot of sense in buses, too, but those are also paid for (80% or so) by federal funds). The two-mode hybrid system found on full-size GM SUVs is a very functional, but very expensive system. And fairly popular (the three GM models almost sold as many as the Lexus HS250h in Jan. see http://www.hybridcars.com/hybrid-clean-diesel-sales-dashboard/january-20....

· · 3 years ago

I guess I'm wondering most about the "natural environment for a hybrid" comment. It seems to imply that hybrids aren't any good for "real" vehicles that people need to rely on.

· Samie (not verified) · 3 years ago

Missing from the argument is three key truck options.
1. Vehicles like a Ford Range
2. Diesel options for 1/2 ton trucks.
3. Lower premium cost of hybrid trucks compared to minimal increases in mpgs.

How can we justify hybrid trucks or say the necessity of trucks if options are lacking... The only thing we all can agree on is that higher fuel costs could change consumer preferences.

· · 3 years ago

@Michael Coates,
Truck manufacturers are the same as car manufactures in that they suffer from the same archaic attitudes about EVs. To them EVs must be weak, underpowered things which must be crushed like cockroaches whenever they are detected or suspected.
Therefore, the lame 'two-mode' hybrid trucks the GM let out were carefully designed to be as expensive as possible and get the minimum benefit possible from an electric drivetrain. GM was definitely successful at achieving their design goal of perpetuating the myths about EVs.
It would take very little effort to make a serial hybrid truck with 500 lb-ft of torque independently driving each wheel that runs off of a 70 hp, 4 cylinder motor and gets over 25 mpg. But who would want that when you only know how to make and sell big V-8 gasoline engines?

· · 3 years ago

@darelldd: When I say "natural environment," I mean the operating conditions that allow the optimization of hybrid technology, which I would say are urban driving with start/stop situations, which is why hybridization works in transit buses.
@ex-EV1 driver: No one says EVs have to be weak or underpowered, look at the Tesla or the T-Zero. Then look at their price. It's all about cost-benefit and selling a product people will buy in quantity. The serial hybrid would be an interesting concept, applying a variation of the Volt. It would surprise me if GM engineers aren't already running around in one. Remember, these are the same guys would made the EV-1 and Volt. They don't lack for technology or creativity, but aren't always let loose to do what they can. Things are changing over there from everything I can find out, so prepare for the unexpected.

· Austintatious (not verified) · 3 years ago

@ Schanie:

You're abolutely right about the Bush administration. Not only was the initial and bigger portion of the auto bailout their baby but, unlike Obama, they share a large part of the blame for the events that set up the so called crisis. In the Bush/Paulson case, I think the term "criminal" would be more appropriate than the mere "gross negligence" I attribute to Obama/Geithner. My complaint with the Obama administration is that they, among other things, also made "no strings attached" loans in the latter part of the auto bailout that was on their watch, at a time when, thanks to the Bush disaster, we already knew how utterly irresponsible that practice was. And how did GM repay the American taxpayer? Its first big announcement was that they were to build a new manufacturing plant in Mexico. In other words, thanks a lot, suckers. No excuse.

· Priusmaniac (not verified) · 3 years ago

Michael, if we even let aside all the ego drivers, here are some excellent reasons for an hybrid. First of course is that they can be plug-in vehicles, thus recharged, but that is quiet expected and perhaps not of prime matter to a worker. But here is the most important aspect, they can be perfect power generators for onsite power production. This means you have electricity for whatever you have to do without the need for an extra generator to haul behind. No extra attention and maintenance neither since the generator is build into the vehicle. Think about the flexibility that this means. Another advantage, although not immediately visible, is the fact that high electric power on board means the vehicle is ready for new high power applications that are not possible otherwise. Ever thought about cutting with a high power laser instead, or lighting an entire work area with high power projectors for night work. The possibilities with large electric power onboard are just at the beginning.

· James (not verified) · 3 years ago

It's thinking like this that keeps me driving an '88 Toyota pickup - 4WD, mostly driven loaded and/or on rough dirt, and still gets better than 25 mpg.

That's when I need a truck, of course. Most of the time I drive a Honda Insight. But I'd be glad to have the option of a hybrid pickup. Indeed, I've sometimes thought about getting a wrecked Prius and transplanting the drivetrain into my 4x4.

· · 3 years ago

@James: I respect your understanding of the appropriate uses of technology, but question your "thought" about trying to adapt Prius technology into your 4x4. Besides the technical challenges, my bet is given your uses of the vehicle, the fuel economy improvement would be marginal (10-25%) and never payoff the cost of the transplant even if it did work. I'll say again, there are optimal uses of hybrid technology, but it is not some magic cure-all for the shortcomings of all internal combustion engine vehicles, especially if you're attentive to cost-effective considerations.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

"Ram Trucks Pull the Plug on Hybrids"

logic dictates the next headline should be "gov pulls the plug on chrysler"

· Robert A (not verified) · 3 years ago

Someone please explain to me why Chrysler is still getting taxpayer money for garbage projects...

· · 3 years ago

This money was handed out some time ago, they just now produced the first truck. GM, Ford, Nissan, Tesla, Fisker and a slew of battery companies have all gotten big chunks of govt cash and loans. At least GM and Chrysler have started paying the govt back.

· · 3 years ago

@Michael Coates · "At least GM and Chrysler have started paying the govt back".

LOL. Using the bailout money, I guess.

· · 3 years ago

Haha. No GM and Chrysler are actually selling vehicles and using the money to pay back the govt. Don't see that happening with Tesla and Fisker any time soon. Fisker hasn't even started building vehicles and Tesla doesn't sell enough to actually make any money. Biggest moneymakers in the auto industry this year were Nissan and Ford.

· · 3 years ago

Thanks for bringing back this discussion about the real issue: money, and what makes it flowing, the market. I think the evil advocate was right. It's not a product problem, but a market problem.

Is the Chevy Tahoe hybrid selling well? It would be easy to make hybrid trucks, but how many people would buy them? I see more opportunity for diesels, and I believe Chrysler too.

· · 3 years ago

@Michael Coates · "Don't see that happening with Tesla and Fisker any time soon"
That is because they haen't been bailed out and forced through a quick bankruptcy proceeding that removed all their other debts.

· Austintatious (not verified) · 3 years ago

The dedication of taxpayer money to the Tesla and Fisker programs by our government has been and is absolutely outrageous. If our government is to invest public monies in the development of transportation technologies, that investment should be for the development of modalities intended to benefit everyone and not just those sufficiently wealthy to afford a $100,000 plus vehicle or any vehicle with such limited practical application. As a condition of the bailouts, the Bush and Obama administrations should have imposed extensive requirements on the auto companies for the development of EV's suitable for the masses. And if there was to be investment in private startups, they too, should have been for reliable and affordable vehicles for average Americans, who simply will never be able to afford a Tesla or Fisker product. To say that it's money very poorly spent is to put it mildly. If Obama genuinely hopes to see a million EV's on our roads by 2015, there are far better ways to get there than investing taxpayer dollars in the Tesla and Fisker programs.

· · 3 years ago

@Austintatious,
I won't speak on Fisker's behalf but I will remind you that Tesla was and is making money selling their $100K supercar and they were making money on it before the government backed any loans or subsized them.
They could just go sit on their supercar profits as Ferrari and Lamborghini do but no, they continue to pour their own profits and efforts along with the subsidies into development of their next model which will be more twice the utility and half the cost.
The government money was put in because people like you, who can't or don't chose to buy $100K cars want to speed up Tesla's development of more affordable cars. They would get there eventually through the profits from Roadster sales but it could take a long time and the state and Federal governments decided they don't want to wait that long.
Startups can't make affordable vehicles. I don't believe that today's litigious and regulatory hamstrung environment makes it economically possible and there hasn't been any evidence to suggest otherwise. There hasn't been a new car company started for nearly 100 years, way before most of us on this forum were born.
Trickle-down is the only thing that seems plausible. Tesla said this and I and many others agreed so we put our money down to buy there cars - at great personal expense and risk. Our short-term dividend, of course is minimal maintenance and a really fun car :-) . Our long-term dividend is that Tesla's Roadster proves that EVs are possible and has led to the development of others. The Volt is here because of Tesla and Tesla could also have been a big influence in Nissan's decision to go through with the Leaf - although I haven't heard of them actually saying so.
You can grouse around like a self-entitled ghetto bum or you can wake up to the realities of the world.

· · 3 years ago

@ex-EV1 driver: Tesla making money on its roadster! Haha. Oh, I hope you meant that as a joke. The last quarter they reported on (Sept. 10) they lost $34.9 mil. And they're not making it up on volume. Roadster production ends before they deliver the first Model S (MSRP $57,400 for base model) in 2012, close to twice the cost of the Leaf and about 30% more than the Volt). None of these, excepting maybe the Leaf when you consider all of the incentives, is a mass-market car. I wish them luck, but it's still a long road to profitability.I wish them luck. If they make it, they'll be the first successful new car company in the US since Chrysler in 1924.
FYI--Ferrari's profits go into Fiat coffers and Lamborghini's feed the VW corporate machine, which are both mutually beneficial arrangements.

· · 3 years ago

@Michael Coates,
That loss is corporate loss, not loss on Roadster sales. That includes costs and revenue from the Roadster as well as investment in the Model S. Once Roadster sales end, I'm sure you'll see that number jump a lot. I, for one hope we don't see any corporate profit until the Model S is well into production, otherwise, something funny is going on.

· · 3 years ago

@ex-EV1 driver,
A loss is a loss. That loss is the cost of running the business; you can't look at sales of a product in isolation of the cost of creating and supporting those sales. I don't think you'll be surprised by any profits at Tesla, even well after the Model S launch. It's not the software business where you can stuff the channel to make your numbers at the end of every quarter. That's expensive. We shall see.

Of course the contrast is over at GM, where they are losing money on every Volt they sell or lease but making it up on Cruze, Silverado and Equinox sales with decent margins.

· · 3 years ago

@Michael Coates,
A loss is not a loss. With large, established companies losses mean losing. With startups, it is necessary in order to grow to a point where they can earn large profits (Capitalism 101)
I don't expect or (as a shareholder) want to see any profits from Tesla for a long time. They are a startup and need to take every dollar that comes in, be it from sales or investors and use it to build their company. This will allow them to get a production line going and then get some market share, after which, if all is successful, profit will become important.
Clearly, they are a hardware manufacturing company (think Sun, Intel, Apple, or Cisco), not a dot com or software company where they might turn profit quickly. Also, hopefully, they will be large enough and reduced operating costs sufficiently that by the time they start focusing on profits, their stock will have grown in value as their company does.

· · 3 years ago

@ex-EV1 driver,
OK, I'll wait. We'll see if their shareholders will. Sounds like you might have a piece of the action.

· · 3 years ago

@Michael Coates,
I agree, it will be interesting to see if there are any investors left in the stock market or whether only short-term speculators remain after the dot com fiasco.
I don't have a significant piece of the action though - unless you're referring to the car. That's definitely action >:-)

· · 3 years ago

@ex-EV1 driver ,
Well Tesla's stock closed today at almost $1 under its IPO price and well below its high of $36. I think the action is all behind the wheel.

· · 3 years ago

@Michael Coates,
Huh? Tesla is at $22.77 right now (yesterdy was Valentine's Day so I wasn't checking the price at the close) and it's IPO was at $17. I'm not familiar with your math but I was taught that $22.77 is greater than $17.
Besides, it wouldn't surprise me if it drops below IPO. That would be a great time to do a little due dilligence and maybe buy up. You're welcome to gloat all you like if that makes you feel good though. Just don't forget that it's the horse that finishes the race first that is the winner, not the one who takes the lead at the start. Not that I'm saying Tesla is definitely going to succeed. Less that 10% of startups succeed and there are a lot of ways Tesla could fail too, many of which have nothing to do with their product.
Clearly, you're not a Silicon Valley guy and maybe you learned about startups at the same place as you learned your math. Do you work at Argonne Labs or for the ACEEE (http://www.plugincars.com/chevy-volt-barely-makes-2011-list-top-12-green...)?
As an example of startup performance, I just sold the remainder of the stock from my first startup for more than 10x what I paid for it (I had offloaded bits and pieces along the way as well). It had dipped down to less than half it's IPO price when the speculators abandoned it in favor of dot coms. It stayed below IPO for about 5 years before the street woke up and realized that the company had quietly established itself as a market leader. It was just acquired by a huge company that couldn't compete with its technology so I dumped all I had.

· · 3 years ago

@ex-EV1 driver,
I was just taking the stock numbers from the Tesla website; it showed it opening at $24, but as you say, it would not be unusual for it to drop below the IPO. Looks like you know that end of the business quite well. congratulations.

Actually, I do live in Silicon Valley and have worked for several start-ups in a variety of positions. That's the foundation of some of my skepticism. That, and having worked in the auto industry enough to see its shortcomings as well as its strengths (I lived through the dot com era where everyone predicted the demise of the auto companies and dealers).

While I don't necessarily agree with ACEEE or the GREET model (it's limitations are being discussed pretty thoroughly as the state tries to establish its Low Carbon Fuel Standard), they are trying to establish some measurable metric. But always comes down to the weighting of different elements.

· · 3 years ago

> But always comes down to the weighting of different elements. <

Including the weighting of *weight* of all things.

· JJ - Can (not verified) · 2 years ago

What good is a V8 when you're stuck in rush hour traffic.
You're just burning gas waiting in bumper to bumper traffic.
That is when battery power is really useful.
You're not using any energy while just sitting in traffic.

· · 2 years ago

That's it! I'm not buying a Ram 2500 until it incorporates a mild hybrid system. They need to get the 13mpg city up to at least 15 or I won't even consider it.

· · 2 years ago

@Tom M. That's easy enough, just buy the Cummins-equipped version. Diesel will deliver in the city and even better on the highway, plus you can pull all the stumps you want!

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

If they didn't sacrifice power for fuel efficiency, I would definitely consider a hybrid truck. For all the power we get out of our trucks now, they are real gas guzzlers. I'd like to see the same level of power without having to pay a fortune for gas.

· · 2 years ago

There is no reason why the power can't stay the same (or improve where it is most needed) while efficiency is significantly increased. My 52mpg Prius has as much power as many cars that get ~35mpg for example.

· · 2 years ago

@dash I think you jumped the shark there as you link leads to an Isuzu site with a variety of Class 4-6 commercial trucks. Actually that may be a good jump as that is the market where hybrids are starting to make inroads because they make financial sense. The technology may migrate up to big rigs as well. Meanwhile, back to our light-duty pickup discussion, I'd suggest that dropping 4 and 6-cylinder diesels (as it appears Nissan and Chrysler are about to do) is the best way to boost fuel economy in the near term.

· Right Steps (not verified) · 2 years ago

How about a Ram truck with a bonus? How about a truck that has the same amount of power but goes further? One can do more work, haul stuff further, and save on gas. Current locomotives are diesel hybrids because they HAVE to be in order to have the power and stamina they need. There's no TECHNICAL reason that a plug in truck wouldn't be effective. I ought to know I'm a mechanical engineer. I use to be a truck driver in the military. I LOVE trucks but this lousy excuse from Chrysler about not having a plug in hybrid ram are ludicrous.

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