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Well, it was bound to happen. Back in early 2019, Dodge was in talks of incorporating alternative fuel into its powertrain lineup. Whether in the form of a hybrid, plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), or electric vehicle (EV), the muscle car automaker would have to commit and make the change. This isn’t just to meet ever more strict European Union Commission standards on carbon dioxide emissions, although after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (now part of Stellantis) made a deal with Tesla to pool vehicles together, Dodge stuck out like a sore thumb for the higher numbers in emissions. Back then, Mike Manley, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, confirmed that electrified Dodge vehicles would come within the next decade, and with Stellantis turning up the heat, ten years is all the muscle car automaker may have to prove it has what it takes to go green and still succeed.
If Dodge needs to release an electrified vehicle while keeping fans happy, then the best way to go about it wouldn’t be to introduce a brand-new model – although let’s face it, the Dodge lineup has shrunk in the last few years. No, if an automaker wants to buy the trust of its muscle car fans, then the smart move would be to electrify an already fan favorite. We thought Dodge would resurrect the Barracuda name from Plymouth, but it seems the plans to go green start with the next generation Dodge Charger.
The Dodge Challenger isn’t as old as the Dodge Charger, but it sure does push the envelope a lot more, especially with that last Challenger SRT Super Stock. To save the brand, the Dodge Charger, a muscle car under the guise of a family passenger car, might work. Regardless, in October 2020, Dodge revealed that three new variants for the Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger are already in the mix. Because Dodge has yet to work on an electric platform though, it’s clear this new electric option Charger will have to be reworked from the ground up. Some reports say it will roll out in 2024 at the earliest.
That’s three years away, so the details about this Dodge Charger hybrid don’t exist just yet. We can only base the specs off what we know so far. After the mild-hybrid eTorque system made a name for itself, we can see electric components being added to some of the smaller engines in the lineup. The 5.7-liter V8 could get a shot, but it’s doubtful that the 392 cubic-inch SRT or the Hellcat engines will be getting an electric motor. When Manley announced Dodge would eventually go green, he also said the long list of engines will be coming to an end. The SRT Hellcat engines may not even exist by 2024.
Before the merger, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles ordered a lot of new hybrid-designed transmissions from ZF Friedrichshafen in 2019. FCA has a long-standing buying from ZF and putting eight-speed automatic transmissions into its vehicles. These eight-speed transmissions have been designed for mild-hybrid and plug-in applications. Called the 8HP, this will be used on many rear- and all-wheel-drive models. We might be seeing this in the Dodge Durango Hybrid, another upcoming green vehicle with little information to share.
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