The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, a powerhouse pickup that offers the only advanced, fuel-efficient diesel engine in the light-duty truck segment, has earned the distinction as Green Car Journal’s 2015 Green Truck of the Year™. The award was presented at the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show in San Antonio, Texas, in the state that justifiably lays claim to being ‘truck country.’
Green Truck of the Year™ honors a truck that best exemplifies what can be achieved when environmental performance is viewed as important as traditional core values like functionality, payload, towing capability, and versatility. Blending environmental achievement with these traditional characteristics is not easy, and in many cases it’s also not cheap. But it is needed. Auto manufacturers are now placing significant new emphasis on trucks that achieve improved fuel efficiency, feature better overall environmental performance, and in some cases run on alternative fuels.
In addition to the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, this year’s award finalists included the all-new Ford F-150, Chevrolet Colorado, and GMC Canyon pickups, plus the efficient gasoline Ram 1500 HFE. Each of these pickups brings its own brand of efficiency and improved environmental performance to bear in the truck market.
The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel distinguishes itself with a powerful and highly efficient powerplant that breaks new ground in the light-truck segment, accomplishing its mission of improved environmental performance without sacrificing the core values important to truck buyers. The engine produces 240 horsepower and a substantial 420 pound-feet of torque while offering rather impressive fuel economy, at least by pickup truck standards, with official EPA estimates of 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. This exceptional fuel efficiency provides a driving range of over 700 miles between fill-ups. The pickup is available in Regular Cab, Quad Cab, and Crew Cab versions with either two- or four-wheel drive.
Some of the key features of the 60-degree V-6 EcoDiesel engine include a dual overhead camshaft with 24 valves, cast iron block with aluminum heads, and a 15.5:1 compression ratio. A 29,000 psi common rail fuel injection system with solenoid injectors is used. The engine is equipped with a diesel oxidation catalyst, diesel particulate filter, and selective catalyst reduction to make it emissions-compliant in all 50 states. It can also use B20 biodiesel fuel.
Along with its considerable towing, hauling, and people-handling capabilities, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel intelligently focuses on efficiencies with active aerodynamics including grill shutters that close for less drag at highway speeds. Other efficiency measures like an eight-speed automatic transmission and an air suspension system that lowers the truck at higher speeds are used to optimize fuel economy and achieve lower greenhouse gas emissions.
When Chrysler introduced the first clean diesel engine in the light-duty pickup segment, there was no way to know just how many pickup buyers would be won over and drive one away from the showroom. Today, production of this truck model has doubled beyond expectations and continues to gain momentum. It was clearly a breakthrough move for the Ram brand and a deserving winner of the 2015 Green Truck of the Year™ award.