2023 Ram ProMaster commercial van preps for next year's battery-electric model
The 2023 Ram ProMaster commercial van is getting more space for cargo and is prepping customers for the launch next year of a battery-electric model.
The Stellantis NV brand on Wednesday is revealing the updated model during the National Truck Equipment Association’s Work Truck Week trade show in Indianapolis. Following a midcycle refresh last year, the Mexico-made van is adding configurations to better serve vocational and delivery uses. It'll be available on dealer lots in the third quarter.
The ProMaster gets a new front fascia with LED headlights, a new "super high" roof option and new safety features, including available parallel and perpendicular park assist. Ram Telematics also now comes standard — a move in preparation for the launch of the battery-electric ProMaster next year.
“We will make that part of the standard equipment so that the large number of commercial customers can use that data for decision-making in the management of their fleet,” Dave Sowers, head of Ram's commercial marketing, said of the telematics feature. “It’s part of establishing the electric future, as well. Telematics are important for the EV ownership experience.”
The telematics module, which previously started at $895 for the box, installation and first year of service, helps fleet operators with tracking the location of vehicles and needed maintenance, saving time and money. Critically for EVs, it also can provide information on charging levels, battery health and energy use.
“With a BEV vehicles, you want to keep closer tabs on those vehicles,” Sowers said. “They have more information aside from throttle usage and things like that. If you have 100 BEVs, and 90 make their routes everyday with plenty of charge, and 10 of them don’t, you need to look into it: What is the energy use and what is their driving behavior?”
Ram previously had partnered with Verizon Connect, an online platform, to provide that information to owners. As it makes the module standard, Ram is expanding its telematics partners whose subscription prices will be negotiated on an individual basis. More details are to come soon, Sowers said.
Telematics is one of the key pillars for Stellantis NV and its aspirations to achieve $22.5 billion in annual software revenue from 34 million vehicles on the road by 2030. That data as a service is expected to represent $9.8 billion in revenue by the end of the decade. Stellantis, which is investing $35.5 billion into electrification and software by 2025, last week said it wants to be No. 1 in commercial vehicles in North America by 2024.
In the last six years, U.S. sales of the Ram ProMaster van doubled. Stellantis sold more than 63,000 of the vehicles in 2021, a 25% increase year-over-year.
"I’m bullish on the large vans segment," Ram CEO Mike Koval Jr. said. "Not only in the U.S., but across North America, it's outsold all of its competitors. We've delivered more than 4 million vehicles (globally) over that time."
Growing that appeal, Ram has added a third, taller roof height for ProMaster with 10 more inches, making for 19 available configurations with lengths ranging from 8 feet to 13½ feet. Also new is a roll-up anodized aluminum door. The full-size van has up to 6,910 pounds of towing capability and 4,680 pounds of payload.
The next-generation 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine with a TorqueFlite nine-speed automatic transmission produces 276 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. All models come with a front-wheel-drive system.
Although the electric van has yet to launch, Ram already has its first customer. Amazon.com Inc. will put thousands of the electric vans to work on delivery routes in the United States in the coming years.
"With input from Amazon," Koval said, "Ram has designed some unique last-mile features that will transcend beyond North America with global reach for Stellantis in additional markets."
Ram also is using the Indianapolis event for one of its Ram Revolution "real talk" sessions to hear from customers about what they are seeking from an electric Ram 1500 pickup truck, which is set to debut in 2024.
"We’ve been very, very pleasantly surprised," Koval said, "with the number of folks who want to be Ram insiders, who want to be a part of the Ram revolution."