If muscle cars are to have a future, they’ll need to get electrified.
The man in charge of Dodge — a brand with not one, but four models boasting over 700 horsepower — is bullish on future performance, even if it won’t look or sound much like the thumping Detroit beat put out by the Hellcat 6.2-liter supercharged V8 found in everything from coupes like the Challenger to SUVs such as the Durango.
“The days of an iron block supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 are numbered,” Dodge brand CEO Tim Kuniskis told CNBC. “They’re absolutely numbered because of all the compliance costs. But the performance that those vehicles generate is not numbered.”
Kuniskis said that electrification will usher in “Performance 2.0,” especially given fuel economy standards likely to be tightened up during the Biden administration.
Tesla paves the way
Dodge need only to look to Tesla for electric performance. The company’s electric cars offer tremendous power even in their most basic form. Tesla says its new Model S will do 0-60 mph in less than 2 seconds, a figure unheard of as recently as a decade ago. Cars can only get so much faster.
But Dodge is in many ways the antithesis to Tesla. The brand has only offered one electrified model in its history, a short-lived Durango hybrid that delivered so-so fuel economy and performance 15 years ago.
Kuniskis’ boss, Dodge parent Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares, has said that every vehicle launched going forward will have an electrified version. So far, Stellantis — which sells Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Chrysler, Alfa Romeo, and Fiat in the U.S. — has only offered electrification on a handful of Jeep SUVs and Ram pickups.
But it looks like muscle cars may be next up.