The Dodge Charger is dead; long live the Charger! Dodge will only build its current Charger for two more years. By 2024, Dodge will replace all its current cars with a brand new lineup. Does this mean we are getting an electric Charger?
Stellantis EV Day 2021: the future of Dodge eMuscle
Dodge is one of fourteen brands in Stellantis, the fourth-largest automaker in the world. In early November 2021, Stellantis held its first EV Day. Its brands from the world over presented plans for efficient, electric, future-proof fleets. Stellantis corporate presented a plan to consolidate all its vehicles to four platforms. It will offer all four platforms as battery electric vehicles. The first is “STLA Small,” designed for efficient city mobility. The second is “STLA Medium” and is intended for premium vehicles from multiple brands. The third is “STLA Large” and it will include all the AWD performance and American Muscle vehicles. The final is “STLA frame” designed for full-frame vehicles offering capability and practicality.
During Dodge’s presentation, brand CEO Tim Kuniskis doubled down on his promise to sell eMuscle. He differentiated Dodge’s future battery electric vehicles from other EVs by insisting they will be performance-oriented. He said he sees them as an “evolution” of Dodge, not a “revolution.”
The new LB-sized (Challenger) and LF-sized (Charger) Dodges will ride on the STLA Large architecture. This architecture will be built on top of Alfa Romeo’s “Giorgio” platform which underpins both the Giulia and Stelvio. This architecture will support internal combustion mild-hybrid engines (similar to Ram’s eTorque), plug-in hybrids (similar to Jeep’s 4xe), and battery electric powertrains (similar to Tesla). It will also be available in RWD and AWD. Which configurations will Dodge build? Will any of them be named Charger?
All three current Dodge’s cancelled, three new Dodges on the horizon
Since the EV Day presentation, Kuniskis told MotorTrend that he has three all-new vehicles on the horizon. He has yet to reveal any of them. But because he is canceling all existing Dodge vehicles, these new ones are critical to the brand’s future.
One vehicle in the works is a plug-in hybrid. This will have a drivetrain much like the Jeep Wrangler 4xe. It will have a gasoline engine, an electric motor, regenerative braking, and a large battery pack you can charge overnight. When fully charged, the new Jeep has a 25-mile fully-electric range. On longer trips, it can fire up its gasoline engine. The Dodge plug-in hybrid may be very similar to the 4xe, or a completely different vehicle using the same basic principle.
Another vehicle Dodge already teased is an eMuscle car. Even the fastest internal-combustion Dodge cars are losing to battery electric supercars at the drag races. It is about time Dodge struck back. Last winter, the company teased the outline of a new muscle car, admitted it was electric, and joked that “performance made us do it.” This car is long and low and wears the old “fratzog” Dodge logo. Kuniskis promised to reveal this car by Q2 of 2022.
Kuniskis is staying quiet about the third vehicle. All he’s said is it will be “a very, very, very, significant car” for the Dodge brand. He promises to show it to the world by the end of 2021, so hang tight.
The new Charger: based on the 1999 Charger R/T Concept?
Will any of these mysterious new Dodges wear the Charger nameplate? There is of course a chance Dodge retires the name altogether, but it seems too recognizable a name to leave on the table. What’s more, the word Charger also holds EV connotations. Kuniskis even said, “If a charger can make a Charger quicker, we’re in.” But which one of the upcoming vehicles will be the Dodge Charger?
The next generation of the Dodge Charger was first shown to dealers at a 2015 event in Las Vegas. Attendees said this new Charger actually reminded them of a nearly forgotten concept car. That car is the 1999 Charger R/T. Before the resurrected Charger shook the world in 2005, the 1999 concept made its own splash. Its low, sleek design made it look almost like a four-door Viper. Could this be the eMuscle car Dodge has been teasing?
Whatever the new Charger looks like, we know it will ride on the STLA Large chassis. This is important because this chassis will support internal-combustion-based eTorque drivetrains, plug-in hybrid drivetrains, and battery-electric drivetrains. Will Dodge offer all these drivetrains in the next Charger? Only time will tell.
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