We’ve all heard of regenerative braking and know that it’s associated mostly with hybrid vehicles, now it’s being used in Ram trucks.
Regenerative braking is a system that recaptures the energy that would otherwise be wasted during the process of braking. Even though this is a system that’s normally used in small hybrid vehicles and EVs, Ram is putting into the new version of the Ram 1500 and calling it the eTorque system that can add power back to the system that can be used for the drive needed and the power desired in the truck.
More Details About eTorque
The eTorque system replaces the conventional alternator with a 48-volt motor/generator that can capture the braking energy and store it to be used later when the engine needs a boost at low speeds. This is about as simple as a regenerative braking system can be, but the fact that FCA has found a way to add it to the Ram 1500 and be the first to put it in a truck is amazing. There are differences between this system and one that you might find in a Toyota Prius though and that’s what makes it unique.
The Ram Crankshaft is the Brain in the System
In most vehicles that make use of regenerative braking, the point of contact for the system is the wheels. The power is delivered directly to the wheels to make hybrids work the way we expect them to. In the Ram 1500 with the eTorque system, the point of contact is the engine crankshaft and this is where the benefits begin to take place for this truck. The crankshaft is the brains or the delivery system for the power that’s stored and then used to help make this truck work better.
When a Ram 1500 accelerates at a low speed, the regenerative system acts as a motor and adds more power to the crankshaft to give it a helping hand in getting the power needed. When you lift off the throttle and coast or lightly touch the brake pedal, the engine’s slowing crankshaft reverses the eTorque system and delivers power to the system into a 430 watt-hour, air-cooled,lithium-ion battery pack that is the size of a small suitcase. This battery pack is located in the cabin on the rear wall between the cabin and the bed of the truck.
The Ram 1500 eTorque Battery Pack at Work
Not only does the power that would otherwise be wasted get retrieved for use, but it is also used in an efficient manner. The battery pack is able to convert the 48V of power to a typical 12 V that is able to charge the smaller battery, power engine accessories, and free up the motor for other duties. This is an extremely efficient method of operating a vehicle with the ability to recapture some of the energy that would otherwise be lost. Ram found a way to make sure less of the otherwise wasted power could be reused in the right way in this truck.