A living legend in the world of muscle cars, the next-generation Dodge Challenger will take a bold step as it gets a hybrid alternative powertrain, ushering in a new era of muscle car performance.
The Dodge Challenger has virtually always been synonymous
with jaw-dropping horsepower and potent HEMI engines. But as consumer demands
shift from gas-guzzling high-performance engines toward more efficient and
environmentally sustainable options, the Challenger is faced with the question
of how to stay true to its roots while adapting to an ever-shifting automotive
Some muscle-car enthusiasts might contend that you can’t
have the Dodge Challenger without a massive internal-combustion engine, and
point out that the Challenger has remained a popular car in the face of
declining car sales in the overall market and a shift toward electric and
hybrid powertrain technologies.
Still, as Fiat Chrysler CEO Michael Manley has noted, even
given the popularity of the current Dodge Challenger, “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 also notes that skeptics should remember that hybrid
powertrain technologies drastically reduce overall vehicle weight, allowing us
to think about things like horsepower in a different way.
While other vintage muscle cars have developed into sleek, streamlined machines in the 21st century, Dodge’s offerings like the Charger and Challenger have stayed committed to preserving a more rugged design. Now, an electrified Dodge Challenger is reportedly in the works — but FCA says that won’t detract from the traditional muscle-car feel.
“The reality is those platforms and that technology we used does need to move on,” Mike Manley, new head of FCA, claims. He went on to reassure fans, explaining, “We can use electrification to really supplement those vehicles.”
He also told news outlets that the electrification features will not dominate the vehicle — rather, they’ll supplement the traditional gasoline-powered engine. However, the electrified Dodge Challenger will not be getting a 700-plus horsepower engine, like the Hellcat. Instead, Dodge will emphasize creating a new platform and powertrain to compete in a modern market.
Industry experts speculate that the electrified Dodge Challenger will use a 48-volt system or implement a plug-in hybrid model, but FCA Chrysler is staying quiet about what those electrified upgrades to the new Dodge Challenger will fully entail. The technology isn’t set to roll out across the model until the “mid-2020s” according to officials, so there are a few years ahead of the Dodge Challenger before it makes the switch.