The automotive world is moving to electric (or at least, in many cases, electrified) power. That will mean wholesale changes at Stellantis — and the Dodge brand in particular, which more or less exists these days to sell V8-powered muscle cars. The Grand Cherokee Trackhawk looks like it will lose its Hellcat V8; indeed, that engine — and the other Hemi V8s — are likely to be phased out soon entirely.
But that doesn't mean the end for big burnouts and crazy horsepower figures. Dodge had been promising a glimpse of what its future will look like on July 8th — and, as anticipated, the brand announced Thursday that will be making a hard pivot to electric power. Or, as they are relabeling it, "American eMuscle."
The brand hinted at upcoming hybrid models, but they confirmed "the world's first battery electric muscle car" will hit the Dodge lineup in 2024. Dodge did not mention whether the EV muscle car would carry a new name or an old one, although some play on "Charger" would make sense.
The transition will be awkward. If you're someone who is still buying a stupidly powerful Charger or Challenger in 2021, it's because you love a classic V8 muscle car above all else. And there probably isn't an argument that could convince you otherwise.
Dodge is framing the efficiency shift as an evolution, rather than a revolution. They argue — correctly — that the future performance pinnacle won't come from internal combustion. The shrill-sounding, tire-shredding vehicles of the future will have at least some electric componentry.
Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis noted that "if a charger can make a Charger faster, we're all for it." He also made an incredibly canned-sounding pledge for the brand to "tear up the streets, not the planet."
It's not clear whether this reframing will work with customers, particularly the young, diverse audience Dodge says it is targeting. But for the Dodge brand to have a long-term future, it'll need to.