Dodge's next generation of performance cars could go electric
By Nicholas Yekikian
Following rumors that the next generation of its sports cars – the Challenger and Charger – might get a plug-in hybrid powertrain as an option, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ chief of passenger cars, Tim Kuniskis, said to Automotive News that its Dodge performance cars may get fully electrified powertrains, too.
"I think the absolute future is electrification of these cars. That's not necessarily bad. It could be [a battery electric powertrain], it could be [a plug-in hybrid powertrain], it could be regular hybrid, could be e-axles; any one of the numbers of electric technologies. But I am a firm believer that electrification will be the key to high performance in the future," he said.
There’s a chance that the performance versions of their flagship coupe and sedan could go full-electric, but muscle car aficionados probably won’t take to that very kindly. Dodge is probably worried that, if they do go fully on board with electrification too soon, customers will jump ship to brands that still keep internal combustion engines under the hood. Remember, Dodge was the brand that brought out the rip-snorting 707 horsepower Hellcat motor a few years ago.
Not only are plenty of the Dodge fans big on petrol-powered propulsion, they also look for a performance bargain. There are very few places where you can get more than 700 horsepower for less than a $100,000, and Kuniskis added that electrification can get expensive right now.
"We don't have the price points of the batteries down to a place where, quite honestly, it's a mainstream proposition. You do see it in the upper end. You see it in the new Ferrari that just came out, you saw it in the LaFerrari before that, you saw it in the 918, you saw it in the NSX,” he said. “So there's absolutely a performance advantage to it, it's just a question of when the consumer acceptance is going to be for that.
And I think it's going to be as soon as the price points come down, it becomes a mainstream viable option.
Hopefully Dodge adopts electrification with the next generation of Charger and Challenger, but to what degree remains to be seen.
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