While there are quite a few top-level contestants, no other name caries as much significance for the Dodge brand as the Charger. And with the automaker having recently reiterated that the Charger sedan and Challenger coupe are retiring after 2023, HEMI V8s included, the heritage of the name should see this transitioning into the electric muscle era Dodge is set to kickstart later this month.
While Dodge spent the whole of 2021 and the first half of the current year preparing us for the transition into the eMuscle era, as the company calls it, a recent Motor Trend story saw us dreaming about V8s staying alive for a brief moment.
Published late last month, the article talked about the Challenger and Charger getting a new ICE (internal combustion engine) platform that would be capable of integrating both V8s and parent company Stellantis’ new Hurricane 3.0L straight-six. This would’ve been offered alongside the electric muscle cars that Dodge had already confirmed for 2024 production.
Alas, Dodge spokespersons have confirmed that the article was inaccurate. In fact, here’s what a company representative recently told Motor1: “The [Motor Trend] story is incorrect. The HEMI in that platform, as well as that platform, are going away. The next generation will be BEV,“
For the record, Motor Trend’s article could be supported by the idea that if Ford can allow the V8 Mustang another rodeo (the Gen VII ‘Stang is coming next year and here’s a leak), Dodge can make use of the generous Stellantis parts bin and give its ICE muscle cars a new lease on life—interestingly, GM continues to remain mum on the topic of the Camaro’s future and all we have is this teaser.
However, the said statement, as well as any others, including the many thoughts Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis has been sharing on the matter, don’t paint a full picture and we’ll start with the things we do know about the next generation of Dodge muscle cars.
A functional Dodge electric muscle car concept is coming later this month
Later this month, at a series of Dodge events, called Speed Week and hosted in Pontiac, Michigan, the carmaker will introduce three new models. Set to debut alongside the 2023 Dodge Hornet, a compact crossover based on the Alfa Romeo Tonale, the most radical of these releases will be a slightly delayed (since Q2, 2022) eMuscle concept that was teased last year. As you’ll notice in the video below, the show car appears to resemble the silhouette of the iconic 1968 Charger, while hinting at an AWD setup.
And, thanks to the Stellantis EV day the company held in June 2021, we know what the company’s electrifications plans consist of. Based on the details it shared on the occasion, we’re expecting what Dodge calls the world’s first electric muscle car to use the STLA Large platform, which implies a battery pack of between 101-118 kWh and up to 500 miles of range.
And with Stellantis’s most capable power unit being able to deliver 330 kW of power, if Dodge uses one per axle, the resulting machine will offer a total output of 886 horsepower. Of course, the carmaker could aim to compensate for the lack of noise and vibration associated with electric power by turning to a triple-motor setup with four-digit output levels, but we’re speculating here.
Dodge could build a whole range of battery-powered muscle cars
Speaking of which, we’ve reached the part of Dodge’s eMuscle development that has us waiting for answers. Will there be an entire range of such vehicles? If not, will the coupe shown in the said teaser bring back the Charger’s old-school two-door form or will it use the Challenger name? What about the Barracuda nameplate that was rumored to skip its Plymouth roots—on account of the brand being defunct—and define a convertible Challenger based on the current car?
Perhaps Dodge will shed some light on August 15-17 when the said concept is released—by the way, the carmaker has stated this will be a drivable contraption rather than just a pretty face.
Camaro electric sedan rumors? This rendering has the Charger EV covering that
Meanwhile, though, as we’ve done for the Challenger earlier today, we’ve brought along an independent rendering portraying a next-gen Charger EV. Coming from digital artist Kleber Silva (aka KDesign AG), the 2D proposal is what we’d call rumor-nostalgic.
That’s because the rendering mixes a updated styling elements of the current Charger (e.g., front and rear lights) with the body of the Alfa Romeo Giulia—previous unofficial talk mentioned that the Charger and Challenger would live on using an updated version of the Italian sports sedan’s Giorgio platform (and we’re back to the Stellantis parts bin path mentioned above).
The logos on the car have a story of their own to tell. And that’s because this wild CGI ride mixes the Hellcat badge with the Fratzhog emblem, a retro effort Dodge is resurrecting for its eMuscle. Oh, and yes, you Porschephiles, there’s a bit of Taycan EV in there (i.e., the rear valance).
If anybody can make an electric can enticing to drive, that should be Dodge
In a bid to usher in the electric revolution, Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis drew a parallel between the Malaise Era ending the OG muscle cars’ reign starting with the 1973 oil crisis and the current emission-fueled demise of the iron block Gen III HEMI V8s.
And while the said falling caused the Charger to become a personal luxury car in the mid- and late-1970s and a FWD subcompact in the 1980s, at least the upcoming transformation will throw insane levels of muscle at us. And given that Dodge knows a thing or two about making power fun (just take a look at the teased vid below if you can’t drive one of their cars), we’re expecting the carmaker’s eMuscle to show us a new face of the electric driving experience.