Stellantis is going all in on electric vehicles, but don’t expect the gasoline-powered version of the Ram ProMaster to suddenly disappear.
The conventional version is going to coexist with an electric counterpart when it arrives next year.
The 2023 ProMaster debuting Wednesday at the Work Truck Week trade show in Indianapolis is powered by the next-generation Pentastar V-6 engine. It comes with a segment-exclusive TorqueFlite nine-speed automatic transmission.
Ram brand CEO Mike Koval said having “optionality” with powertrain offerings will be critical for consumers, so “we’ll do both.”
“We can walk and chew gum,” Koval told Automotive News. “The market is taking us into, obviously, an electrified space. We plan on being a leader in that space, but we can also build, in parallel, the ICE.”
Ram said the latest ProMaster offers Level 2 autonomy with class-exclusive active driving assist for hands-on-wheel and eyes-on-road automated driving using lane centering with adaptive cruise control. The system uses multiple sensors, including radars and cameras to dictate appropriate roads for the technology.
Styling is highlighted by a new front fascia that uses LED headlights and fog lamps.
“The ’23 ProMaster is going to be the most tech advanced ProMaster ever with the most safety features ever, and those are obvious needs in the marketplace,” said Dave Sowers, the head of Ram commercial product marketing. “As customer demands evolve and how they use their vehicles, we need to evolve with them. So we have safety features like forward collision mitigation, now with pedestrian detection, which is very important.
“Avoiding the collision is better than certainly having them,” Sowers added. “For businesses, they want to keep their vehicles on the road and keep their employees safe.”
The highly-customizable van, the company said, is designed to exceed the demands of both commercial customers and upfitters.
The ProMaster has a varied base of buyers with unique needs such as the RV companies that turn them into campers, or vocational users who are plumbers and electricians that want to have mobile workshops in the back of the van. The vehicle is now available in three roof heights, including a new super high roof configuration.
One of the largest growing segments, Sowers said, are companies using them for last-mile delivery — a task that Amazon will require of its fleet of electric ProMasters.
“That is the type of usage that will work very well here,” Sowers said. “They return to a central terminal every night, which facilitates charging. They’re very consistent in their driving cycles throughout the day, so they can have a set range, and be able to utilize it within the size of battery that we’re designing for them, and they have consistent loads pretty much every day.”
There’s another consumer segment that also appreciates the customization component: those who adhere to the “van life” movement of living in their vehicles and taking them on adventures.
This crowd might appreciate the new “spitfire orange” paint that’s available on the ProMaster.
“The van life movement, which Ram is very much part of, has really encouraged us and invited innovation in that particular space,” Koval said. “We’re starting to have a little bit of fun with it as well.”