I believe Dodge will return to NASCAR for the 2024 season. What’s more, I believe Dodge will return to stock car racing with the mild-hybrid version of its new eMuscle powertrain lineup. A hybrid Dodge racing in NASCAR!? It’s not as ridiculous as it sounds.
When is Dodge going hybrid?
2024. None of Dodge’s current internal combustion chassis will survive past the 2023 model year. The brand is promising an eMuscle rebirth. In addition to full EVs, Dodge may continue to build next-generation V8 cars with Ram’s eTorque mild-hybrid system.
Dodge’s brand CEO Tim Kuniskis grabbed headlines when he said, “If a charger can make a Charger quicker, we’re in.” He continues to tease an eMuscle revolution which includes no fully internal combustion cars available by the 2024 model year.
This new lineup will likely include a fully electric supercar, perhaps on a chassis shared with Dodge’s Stellantis cousins: Maserati and DS E-Tense. It also will likely include plug-in hybrids sharing technology with Jeep’s 4xe vehicles. But it may also include some traditional V8 muscle cars with the addition of Ram’s eTorque mild-hybrid technology. Only time will tell.
Is NASCAR going hybrid?
Yes. NASCAR has admitted that 2024 is “probably” when the Association will add some hybrid technology to its race cars. Engineers have theorized that this could look like an electric motor integrated into the Next Gen car’s transaxle.
Times certainly are a-changing. Within a couple of seasons, NASCAR Cup Cars will have electric hybrid regenerative braking technology. But Formula One cars and Le Mans cars have leveraged hybrid technology to maximize a tank of gas, for years.
NASCAR will change the Cup cars’ specifications to include some manner of regenerative braking/electric motor, soon. One thing Steve Phelps admits officials are puzzling over is when this power boost will be available to drivers. It could help them pass other cars or accelerate after cornering. We’ll just have to wait and see how hybrid powertrains change NASCAR.
Is Dodge returning to NASCAR?
Neither Dodge nor NASCAR has officially confirmed the OEM’s return to the stock car Cup. But NASCAR and Dodge’s going hybrid the same year is a mighty big coincidence, if NASCAR isn’t trying to get Dodge back to the sport.
Dodge is in a bind: its parent company, Stellantis, includes 14 brands. It has said all the brands get one decade to prove they can build vehicles that will remain competitive into the electric future. Then some brands may be spun off.
Kuniskis wants to prove the Dodge brand can roll with an automated, EV future. But Dodge’s customer base is used to performance-oriented, gas-guzzling retro muscle cars. This is why Kuniskis claims his pivot to electric is about getting more horsepower and more performance. What better way to prove this than to dominate NASCAR with a hybrid powertrain?
Phelps actually let it slip that he is pursuing a new OEM joining NASCAR. Then he admitted that this OEM had demands:
“I would be surprised if a new OEM came in without some sort of electrification, and I am not talking about all electric, I am talking about a hybrid system.”Steve Phelps, NASCAR president
There is a very good chance that this OEM was always Dodge, and Dodge’s eMuscle timeline was a big reason Phelps pushed for electrification by the 2024 season.