Stellantis plans to electrify its line-up of 14 brands in a hurry. This move includes muscle car-focused Dodge, which last month confirmed it was working up its first all-electric performance model. But, well before that BEV muscle car makes it into production, Dodge will introduce its first plug-in hybrid model.
The PHEV will share the same underpinnings as the Alfa Romeo Tonale set to debut in 2022, and according to new reports, it will be dubbed the Dodge Hornet, using a name the old Fiat Chrysler quietly registered last year.
The Dodge Hornet could prove a critical addition for a brand that has lost all but one of its SUV models during the last several years. While it has a loyal following for high-powered sedans and coupes like the Charger and Challenger, the bulk of the U.S. automotive market has migrated to SUVs and CUVs. And other brands are beginning to use electric drive technology to give their utility vehicles a serious performance boost.
All part of the plan
Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares has been dribbling out details about his company’s plans for electrification. During a “Battery Day” event in early July, he and other officials offered insights about the direction some of the 14 Stellantis brands will take. And more details were revealed when the world’s fourth-largest automaker announced its second-quarter earnings last week.
Among other things, Tavares shared that there will be 20 new PHEVs and BEVs coming to market in just the next two years. Some of those had already been confirmed, including the Alfa Tonale. That model was originally planned for launch late this year as a 2022 model. But, as TheDetroitBureau.com reported earlier this week, it has been pushed back because brand boss Jean-Philippe Imparato didn’t think the sub-Stelvio crossover’s drivetrain delivered the sort of performance expected of the brand.
The Dodge model will be dubbed Hornet, according to fan publication Mopar Insiders. Hornet will share key internals with the Tonale, which, in turn, is borrowing its underpinnings from the Jeep Compass. Alfa is expected to upgrade the platform and powertrain to deliver more performance and handling than the outdoor and off-road-oriented Jeep. Hornet is expected to also focus on power and handling.
Choosing a powertrain
Exactly what sort of powertrain it will use is uncertain. Jeep has two plug-in powertrains it could bring to the table, starting with the gas-electric package in the Wrangler 4xe. It pairs a 2.0-liter gas engine with an electric drive unit to produce a combined 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. The system yields up to 30 miles in all-electric range — with Jeep officials estimating it can manage about three hours of creeping and crawling off-road in all-electric mode.
There’s also a PHEV package using a 1.3-liter gas engine coming for the Jeep Renegade 4xe that could deliver as much as 240 hp.
We’ll have to wait to see what plug-in hybrid system the Dodge Hornet goes for. Known internally by the codename GG, according to Mopar Insider, it is not expected to debut until after the launch of the delayed Tonale, which suggests the Hornet will show up during the second half of next year under a 2023 model-year designation.
Whether it will get a conventional, gas-only driveline is another uncertainty, but that would seem likely for cost factors.
That said, it’s unlikely Dodge will position the Hornet as a budget offering — as it traditionally did with the Journey, the model the new plug-in SUV will effectively replace.
Look for the Dodge Hornet to be assembled in Italy, at the same plant that will produce the Alfa Romeo Tonale.