What Engione Was Under the 2022 Batmobile’s Hood(s)?
Matt Reeve’s “The Batman” is quickly becoming a cult classic. In addition to Robert Pattinson’s gritty take on the caped crusader, the 2022 film featured one of the gnarliest Batmobile movie cars in cinema history: a 1969 Dodge Charger, heavily modified by Bruce Wayne himself. As far as I know, I was the first journalist to successfully identify the make and model of the car beneath the battering ram and fender flares. Now I’m going to reveal the V8 engines, and electric motors under the 2022 Batmobile’s hood(s).
The Bat and the Furious: Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne was a retired street racer
Robert Pattinson’s Batman has an extensive backstory, explained in a prequel tie-in book: Before the Batman: An Original Movie Novel. This version of Bruce Wayne grew up in Wayne Tower, converting an abandoned train station in the basement to his teenage lair. He fell in love with an old muscle car, fixing it up himself, and eventually competing as a street racer.
In the story, young Bruce Wayne gets hooked on continually modifying and improving his car. But when a young Riddler causes an accident at a street race, Bruce goes out of his way to protect the other racers. He gets even more of a thrill out of this than racing and becomes a vigilante instead. He reworks his old car to serve in this new mission.
The 2022 Batmobile featured a rear-mounted engine conversion
One eye-catching modification to the 2022 Batmobile is its rear-mounted engine. That’s right, it seems that at some point, Bruce Wayne hollowed out the back of his old 1969 Dodge Charger and installed a V8. Why? Perhaps moving the weight to the back improved the handling, balancing out the locomotive-size battering ram at the front.
This rear engine is connected to a short exhaust that ends in a cool jet-like afterburner. The prop cars also feature big side-exit exhausts for the front, which makes it seem like Bruce Wayne kept a second engine up front.
In universe, I’d wager the front engine was a built version of the high-compression 426-cubic-inch HEMI V8 that was the 1969 Charger’s most powerful engine option. But the movie prop cars had a very different V8.
How would two engines even work? I don’t know. Maybe the front of the car was FWD, and the rear engine was connected to the rear wheels with some kind of transaxle. Why? Its driver was a billionaire who runs around in a mask all night to beat up bank robbers with his bare hands, we’re outside the realm of logic anyway.
The Batmobiles built for the 2022 movie have Chevy V8 engines
Matt Reeves hired famed graphic designer Ash Thorp to pen the 2022 Batmobile, in part inspired by the villainous car in Stephen King’s Christine. Then he commissioned English special effects artist Dom Tuohy to build four prop cars for the movie–according to Sourav Banik of HotCars.
Tuohy has confirmed that the build began with 1969 Dodge Chargers. His team converted the four 2022 Batmobiles to rear engine, AWD powertrains. Three of these cars have custom 700+ horsepower Chevy V8s.
Why Chevy engines? They are actually very common in movie prop cars because they are powerful, reliable, and plentiful. Film crews will often standardize the engines in their prop cars so if one breaks, they can replace it with another. This is why many Chargers in Fast and Furious movies actually have Chvey V8s.
Tuohy then installed huge, flared widebody kits on his 2022 Batmobiles. This gave the Batmobiles swooping, bat-like wings. This was an homage to the original Corvette Stingray batmobiles.
The move cars all got full roll cages, 15-inch rims with armored hubcaps, and wide Mickey Thompson Sporstman SR tires. The cars also call out Bruce Wayne’s racing history with a Corbeau bucket seat and Luke Racing harness.
One 2022 Batmobile was even Tesla-powered
For one scene, Matt Reeves needed a silent batmobile so the actors could talk while it was rolling. So Tuohy outfitted one of the 2022 Batmobiles with a motor from a Tesla EV.
The other 2022 Batmobiles included one lightweight model with a fiberglass battering ram and long-travel suspension. The movie crew used this vehicle to film jumping scenes. Finally, the crew installed rooftop controls on one car so a stuntman could drive it while Pattinson focused on acting for closeup shots.
See the 2022 Batmobile for yourself in this scene from the movie:
Learn more about the Robert Pattinson batmobile in this special feature from the DVD: