How much value do 26 years of market presence have for a car that reaches out to the emotional side of its customers? That is the question that may end up defining the future of the Dodge Viper. And, at this point, things are clear: either parent company Stellantis gives Dodge the go-ahead for a battery-powered revival of the American supercar, or the name, which has always been linked to its humongous V10, remains confined to the museum.
With the recent release of the 2022 Charger Daytona SRT concept, Dodge has given us quite a few clues towards its electrified performance future. However, with the muscle car paying tribute to the 1960s original, there’s little of its stling language that could be transfered to a supercar.
As such, when creating this Dodge Viper EV 3D work for hotcars, digital artist Rostislav Prokop started with the familiar Gen V Viper, while adding futuristic touches at both ends of the vehicle.
For one, while the LED light clusters define the go-fast machine’s identity, that generous lip up front could be part of an active aero system giving the imaginary machine an edge. And the same airflow manipulation can be expected from the vast areas around the slim rear light bar.
Why did the Viper go away in 2017?
Back in 2017 when the Viper was retired after five generations, Dodge blamed the regulations-pushed need to install curtain airbags, which would’ve impacted the already limited headroom. That being said, the carmaker also had to consider other things.
With the 2014 introduction of the Hellcat Challenger and Charger (here’s how you can enjoy them before the go extinct next year), the company already had a halo offering. And since sales of the Viper were falling below expectations, choosing to pay fines for vehicles not meeting yearly fuel economy requirements was not an option anymore for the two-seater.
Of course, with the heritage mentioned in the intro, Dodge should make use of the Viper name to stand out in the battery-powered supercar market. After all, this is one asset that favors such legacy automakers in the fights against fresh arrivals like Tesla, whose second-generation Roadster will play in the said segment—its 2023 launch date expected at the moment may be further delayed, though.
An electric Viper revival with Banshee power is possible after 2024
The electric Charger show car has been confirmed to morph into a production model in 2024. And, with the said fines out of the way and the Viper adressing a totally different clientele, Dodge could figure out a way to bring back the mighty supercar once the emuscle is out on the road.
Cannibalization among the numerous Stellantis brands shouldn’t be an issue, even with brands like Maserati having already entered the battery-powered supercar arena. At least not if Dodge maintains what has always been one of the Viper’s greatest assets, namely value for money. Having been fortunate enough to sample the final Gen V, I can tell you that this gave Italian exotics a hard time for a fraction of the money. And, once you got behind the wheel, you would notice it was considerably easier to live with than expected.
Alas, the Viper was a car that needed to be driven in order to be understood, which made it a rather rare purchase. However, the Charger show car proving that Dodge knows how to mix usability with Banshee electric power, a multi-speed, electro-mechanical eRupt transmission and emotional design, the same assets could be packaged into Viper form.
Solid-state batteries could be a solution for the Viper, but this would probably involve a certain delay
And this is one of those cases where later would be better than sooner. It all has to do with solid-state batteries expected to become mainstream after 2025. Compared to the current lithium-ion units, these are more energy dense and therefore limit the weight penalty of an electric powertrain.
Meanwhile, though, people have started Hellcat-swapping Vipers, with Dodge reportedly considering an official kit for the transformation. So, as sacrilegious as it sounds, it feel inevitable for somebody to EV-swap a Viper.