Of the three 2019 Ram 1500 powertrains advertised at launch, just one – the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 with no electrification – has started reaching customers, as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles faces a slowdown with its 48-volt Belted Alternator Starter (BAS) mild-hybrid system. The system is optional with the 5.7L Hemi, and standard with the 3.6L Pentastar V6.
The precise reason for the delay isn’t clear, but Automotive News suggests that it could be due to added scrutiny from the US Environmental Protection Agency, which might be subjecting the mild-hybrid system to extra testing in an attempt to curtail abuses after a string of diesel emissions scandals starting with Volkswagen in 2015. FCA itself got in some trouble in the US stemming from its alleged use of emissions “cheat devices” in its EcoDiesel-equipped vehicles. The automaker is still working out the details of a settlement with the Department of Justice.
Another possibility is that BAS-equipped 2019 Ram 1500s have been delayed due to some issue with the mild-hybrid system’s operation, Automotive News says.
Whatever the reason, Fiat Chrysler is producing both the outgoing and incoming Ram 1500 pickup trucks simultaneously to maintain sales while its Sterling Heights Assembly Plant ramps up production, but the unavailability of the new V6 pickup is nonetheless an issue. Sales of Ram pickups – including its heavy-duty models – are down 8.4 percent through the first five months of the year, although May did see the product line bounce back some, ending 4.3 percent higher than the same month last year.