How Ram went from the wild-looking REV Concept to the production pickup

If you saw the Ram REV Concept and then got a look at the production Ram REV, a little confusion would be warranted. The Concept is this very futuristic-looking electric pickup with tons of wild features and a totally new design aesthetic we’ve never seen before from Ram. Meanwhile, the production REV truck is a lot more like the F-150 Lightning in design execution. In short, it looks like a regular Ram 1500 gasoline pickup with unique front and rear styling.

There’s nothing wrong with that at all. In fact, Ram very well could have the look right on the money, because truck buyers already seem to love the current Ram design. Going EV doesn’t necessarily mean you need a futuristic spaceship in the driveway to signify it as such. That said, we were curious how Ram and Stellantis went from offering up the REV Concept as a design to the far more plain production truck it shares its name with. To get an understanding of the differences between the two, we sat down with Stellantis Chief Design Officer Ralph Gilles.

“It’s not like we went a different direction with it,” Gilles said “That was always a direction, to do this. The concept truck is exactly that. It’s a concept to show where we’re ultimately headed, right? It’s kind of a manifesto that’s gonna inspire us, get our owners excited about what they want, because if you looked at that truck, it had every conceivable innovation we could come up with in one place.”

Reading between the lines, it looks like the REV Concept (above, right) wasn’t meant to be the direct inspiration for the production truck Ram just revealed (above, left). Instead, Ram is using it as a north star of sorts that will guide electric truck design into the future, possibly even for a next-generation electric pickup.

“So we want to listen to what resonates, you know, we’re looking at the chatter on the internet,” Gilles tells us, referring to the REV Concept. “We’ve actually sent it to clinic. We’re sending it all over the U.S. to do shows and we’re actually engaging customers with it to get their feedback and the response … so there are a lot of ideas, and we’re going to make the best use of that as we architect the new generation.”

If the public takes to the futuristic features and look of the REV, it seems a safe bet that we see some of the ideas and styling incorporated make its way into future Ram products. Ram CEO Mike Koval told Autoblog a similar story, saying that the end goal will be to bring elements of the REV Concept to a production truck one day. Just don’t expect that day to be any time soon, as Gilles tells us the typical timeline for its truck design is 10-12 years. We’re only about four years into the current generation Ram 1500, so expect the Ram REV as it sits today to be around for a long while. 

All the above said, the front-end look and rear lighting style of the REV Concept did make it into the final design for the production REV.

“In fact, we were doing the manifesto,” Gilles says, referring to the REV Concept as the manifesto. “It came from the manifesto piece that we showed at CES. And right away we’re like, we got to use that on the truck and we actually had to stop where we were going and go further because it changed more stuff and we have to support the team, and I’m happy we did.”

And even though some of that REV Concept did make it into the production truck, Gilles was very clear that none of it was done to give it a specific EV design aesthetic. Sure, it has a few aero tricks such as a paneled underbody, lower standard ride height and more aero-friendly lines in front, but this is still just a normal-looking truck at heart. Gilles sums it up nicely in the end and gives us an idea into his philosophy for how future Stellantis EVs will take form.

“I think part of what we’re realizing, at least my take on it, is we don’t need to be outwardly EV,” Gilles said. “And I don’t believe there’s a thing as an EV aesthetic. Like, all cars should be handsome. This should be good-looking … It’s not trying to be outwardly, ‘I’m EV,’ you know, it’s not about this, it’s just that handsome good-looking truck that happens to have EV propulsion.”

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