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Dodge to launch hybrid version of Ram pickup

Chrysler's hybrid lineup has been conspicuously sparse -consisting of only the now-dead Dodge Durango Hybrid and Chrysler Aspen Hybrid -- but the Michigan-based automaker will soon revive its two-mode hybrid system in another truck-based model.

Earlier on Wednesday at the Chicago Auto Show Chrysler announced that its light-duty Dodge Ram pickup truck will soon be available with a two-mode hybrid system. Chrysler failed to give any more details on the hybrid truck - instead focusing on its Heavy Duty Ram lineup - but it is assumed the truck will combine Chrysler's two-mode hybrid system with a 5.7L HEMI V8.

Under the hood of the Dodge Durango Hybrid, the two-mode hybrid system - which was co-developed with General Motors and BMW -- managed EPA fuel economy ratings of 20 mpg city and 22 mpg highway. We expect to see similar figures for the Ram Hybrid.

Chrysler didn't mention a release date for the hybrid truck, which leads us to believe that it could be a while before it shows up in Dodge dealerships. Look for the Ram Hybrid to hit the market in late 2009 at the earliest, with a 2010 launch date more likely.

Chrysler only managed to sell 81 examples of its hybrid SUVs, so hopefully the Michigan automaker will have better luck with its Ram Hybrid.