When you hear the term muscle cars, you automatically think of muscular V8s, but times are changing. The next generation of Dodge muscle bundles will have an electric powertrain. Is that sacrilege or the new normal?
What would Kowalski think of this? A Dodge Challenger, the legendary model that raced through the deserts of the United States 50 years ago? The car you heard coming from afar, after which it came sailing wildly around the corner, but with a silent engine? We suspect that Kowalski would not have left Denver at all for his famous drive to San Francisco, which was portrayed in the film ‘Vanishing Point’.
The Dodge Challenger and Charger have been making the dream of being part of your very own road movie come true for decades. They offer a lot of power and a sexy design, and for a relatively reasonable price. For enthusiasts of this type of car – and there are many more, even though both models are now old – the announcement by Dodge chief Tim Kuniskis must have sounded like a nightmare. From 2024, the old-school muscle cars will make way for what Kuniskis calls ‘eMuscle’. Based on the STLA large platform developed by parent company Stellantis, models are being built that ensure that this car type does not go under. After all, from 2035, for example, in California, new cars with a combustion engine may no longer be registered.
This year Dodge wants to show a prototype to the world. A recently released video carries the message that under the Fratzog logo, used in the 1960s and 1970s, cars are being developed with electric motors that drive all four wheels. Although there are already four-wheel drive muscle cars, that does not alter the fact that in two years there will be culture shock. Not, however, for Andrew Pilsworth, the man who markets the Challenger and its four-door sister model Charger in Germany. His judgment is surprising. “I am convinced that a modern electric powertrain will realize the benefits of these models,” said the director of AEC, the largest Dodge importer in Europe. He takes it one step further. “Modern EVs also have enough power, in many cases even more than cars with combustion engines. And they offer the advantage of not having to rev to deliver maximum torque.”
Moreover, Pilsworth believes that these types of models should also contribute to sustainability in the car industry. At Dodge itself, they try to put into perspective the aversion to big block engines, which simply no longer fit in today. The manufacturer states that it will not sell electric cars from 2024, but as usual the classic muscle cars, which will then be locally emission-free.
However, internet forums indicate that Challenger fans have mixed feelings about it. “Much of the scene is skeptical about electrification,” said Frank Esch, head of the German Challenger forum. However, the members know that this development is unstoppable. “We have no problem with plug-in hybrids and EVs, but prefer a different model name,” says Esch. In his eyes, the Ford Mustang Mach-E is an example of what not to do.
According to Stellantis, the EV technology that will serve in the Dodge models is good for a range of up to 800 kilometers. If Kowalski were to make his road trip again, it would mean that from 2024 he would have to charge the Challenger three times en route. And then hope he can find a fast charger.
– Thanks for information from Autoweek.nl