Exclusive Interview with Ram 1500 Chief Engineer Rob Wichman

The all-new 2019 Ram 1500 pickup truck has just added its name to this year’s distinguished list of truck introductions, and FCA’s Rob Wichman, the lead engineer on the Ram 1500 project, has been shepherding the vehicle to its introduction for the past several years. His team is responsible for taking 225 pounds out of the truck, while at the same time endowing it with a 2,300-pound payload and a 12,700-pound towing capacity. Working hand-in-hand with the design team, his team is also responsible for giving the Ram 1500 best-in-class aerodynamics with an impressive 0.357 coefficient of drag.

2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn

Wichman’s engineering crew specified the use of a variety of high-strength steels in the truck’s construction that limited the vehicle’s weight and also offered enhanced durability and rigidity. The new Ram 1500’s ride and handling are truly its calling card. Aided by the more rigid frame, the Ram 1500 offers an optional air suspension that delivers superior ride, load leveling and even helps you get in and out. The standard rear coil spring suspension offers excellent ride/handling as well.

Innovative powertrain engineering boosts efficiency

The innovative engineering that Wichman describes in the accompanying audio interview extends to the powertrain. The eTorque mild hybrid system helps the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 deliver both great drivability and enhanced fuel economy. To squeeze the most out of this new technology, Wichman’s team added frame-mounted active tuned mass modules that effectively cancel out some of the unwanted shake that could arise from the most fuel-efficient tuning of the powertrain. The team also employed active noise cancellation to nullify sounds that would otherwise become noticeable when cylinder-cutoff technology is at work in the Hemi engine.

See our 2019 Ram 1500 First Review in Photos

Inside the new Ram 1500, the fourth-gen UConnect infotainment system is accompanied by an optional 12-inch touchscreen that dominates the center of the dash. Among the electronic safety aid highlights are adaptive cruise control with stop, go and hold. Because you gotta know when to hold ‘em.

Click on the interview link to hear what Wichman has to say about the 2019 Ram 1500 truck, his newest baby.


About Tom Ripley 54 Articles
Born in Boston, Tom Ripley has been writing about the automotive industry and the human condition for more than a decade. He's a frequent traveller but nominally resides in Villeperce, France.