Hybrids have long had a reputation as slow, eco-friendly city cars, but recently automakers have discovered the benefits of slapping some electric motors on their high-powered gasoline-fueled sports cars to generate even more power.
Add Dodge to the list.
There may be no brand more synonamous with fossil fuels that Dodge and its line-up of Hellcat-branded Challengers and Chargers. The Hellcat broke new ground pushing past 700 horsepower when it came out two years ago and its variants have since pushed past 800 hp.
However, it appears the clock is ticking on the gasoline-only model muscle car, according to Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley, who says the rip-snorting behemoths will likely be replaced with some form of high-powered hybrid in the near future.
(Dodge debuts 10,000-plus hp Hellcat. Click Here for the story.)
“The reality is those platforms and that technology we used does need to move on. They can’t exist as you get into the middle-2020s,” Manley told the Detroit News at the North American International Auto Show. “New technology is going to drive a load of weight out, so we can think of the powertrains in a different way. And we can use electrification to really supplement those vehicles going forward.”
There are a slew of reasons for making the conversion, including ever-tightening federal emissions standards, improved fuel economy, etc., but the primary reason for staying the course is the loyal diehards who believe strongly that a car can’t be a muscle car without a V8.
However, plenty of automakers are revamping the formula and the results are hard to ignore. Acura’s new version of the NSX came back from hiatus with a mix of V6 and electric power. Porsche’s done the same with the 919 racer and now the Panamera and Cayenne. Ferrari and Lamboghini are also said to be headed down that path.
(Click Here for TDB’s first drive in the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody.)
It appears it’s not a matter of if, but when Challenger, and let’s assume its four-door sibling Charger, make the jump as well.
“I think that electrification will certainly be part of the formula that says what is American muscle in the future,” said Manley. “What it isn’t going to be is a V-8, supercharged, 700-horsepower engine.”
In the meantime, there are still plenty of V8 powerplants being tweaked to meet the needs of nearly all speedfreaks. Ford just unveiled the new Shelby GT500 at the Detroit Auto Show, and while not revealing the exact number, it too is putting out more than 700 hp.
(For more about the Hellcat, Click Here.)
General Motors is reportedly working on a mid-engine Corvette that will, because of the move of the engine from the front of the car to the middle, allows for a bump in horsepower up to about 1,000 hp, but there hasn’t been a set-in-stone decision made on those parameters yet.