Dodge challenges: Can the automaker bring muscle into the electric future? – TechCrunch


The time period muscle automobile has at all times been a euphemism for concessions. Need probably the most energy for the cash? Overlook a few sports activities automobile from Porsche or Lotus. Purchase a muscle automobile and simply take corners a bit slower. In the present day Dodge introduced it’s making an electrical muscle automobile and it will likely be obtainable in 2024. The primary query that involves thoughts: Effectively, if it’s a muscle automobile, what’s lacking?

There’s a distinction between a muscle automobile and a sports activities automobile, and Dodge is uniquely suited to know the variations. The model has lengthy been related to horsepower and going quick in a straight line. The Dodge Viper. The Dodge Challenger. Even the Dodge Durango, a lumbering SUV, is on the market with a tricked-out V8 able to placing out 710 hp — extra energy than most Porsches, although nobody is about to pit a Durango in opposition to a 911 on the monitor.

A part of the draw of electrical autos revolves round their mechanical simplicity. That was the unique gross sales pitch for the muscle automobile, too. However, as a substitute of providing a sports activities automobile with a tuned chassis and memorable aerodynamics, which provides vital improvement value, American automobile firms simply stuffed bigger engines in on a regular basis household vehicles. Bam. Muscle vehicles, child.

Let’s assume Dodge makes use of the muscle automobile mildew and makes a low-cost, high-power, straight-line electrical racer — assume Dodge Challenger reasonably than Toyota Supra. This mildew has a number of distinct traits.

One, burnouts. Muscle vehicles are identified for his or her burnouts, which themselves are a byproduct of an overabundance of energy, lack of chassis refinement and utter disregard on your tires’ tread. Dodge teased this functionality in its announcement tweet, displaying a car smoking all 4 tires. Dodge is aware of its viewers.

Muscle automobile house owners anticipate to have the ability to tune, tweak and modify their autos at house. That’s one of many primary appeals to one of these car. Straight from the manufacturing facility, muscle vehicles are succesful, however the purchaser understands the automaker omitted sure components to maintain the sticker value as little as potential. Need higher traction? Swap out the tires. Need higher cornering? Add stiffer sway bars. An electrical muscle automobile have to be modifiable — one thing that’s more and more uncommon as efficiency is extra usually optimized by software program tweaks than mechanical upgrades.

Tesla has lengthy been criticized for its aversion to car modifications and at-home repairs. This is a chance for Dodge and others. A big swath of automobile patrons anticipate to have the ability to wrench on their autos, and I’ll wager this demographic is essential to Dodge’s future progress.

These distinctive traits of muscle vehicles are what make the phase so interesting for Dodge. The auto model struggles to maintain up with the market with a secure of stale autos, and the muscle automobile’s low-cost method might enable for cheaper improvement prices.

And preserving improvement prices low is what Dodge wants proper now.

Dodge is owned by Stellantis, a brand new car conglomerate fashioned when FCA, Dodge’s outdated proprietor, merged with the Dutch automaker PSA Group. It will get extra complicated when Dodge’s earlier proprietor is talked about. As soon as at all times talked about together with the giants of GM and Ford, Chrysler beforehand owned Dodge however is now simply one other model within the Stellantis household. Collectively, Dodge and Chrysler provide solely six autos, and none have seen vital updates in years.

An electrical muscle automobile might revitalize the model in the identical approach the Bronco is revitalizing Ford.

Take a look at Ford. The 2021 Bronco is a success as a result of it traces up properly with shopper’s expectations of a Bronco. Individuals hardly keep in mind the engine and chassis points that have been lengthy related to the Bronco. As a substitute, individuals keep in mind a sturdy off-roader (and gradual automobile chases), so Ford made a sturdy off-roader loaded with fashionable conveniences.

Dodge ought to do the identical with its upcoming electrical muscle automobile. However, in fact, calling a car a muscle automobile units sure expectations that Dodge can be clever to ship.

Likewise, Ford can also be promoting a four-door electrical Mustang, and its closely rumored Chevrolet is getting ready the same electrical SUV Corvette. Whereas most individuals love the electrical Mustang (I don’t), additionally they concede the Mustang naming muddles the branding.

What’s it going to be known as? Automakers are more and more turning to their again catalog for brand spanking new branding. GM revived the Hummer for its first electrical truck, and Ford introduced again the Bronco and F-150 Lightning. Dodge has numerous historical past with muscle vehicles. There’s the legendary Charger Daytona (excellent if the upcoming automobile is constructed on the present Charger or Challenger), the low-cost Coronet and its upgraded sibling Coronet Tremendous Bee, the Dodge Stealth or Dodge Polara — although perhaps Polara is just too near the EV maker Polestar. Or Dodge might flip to names utilized by Plymouth, one other model beforehand owned by Chrysler. So there’s the Plymouth Roadrunner, Duster, Fury and Barracuda, too.

Final query: How will Dodge make the automobile sound like a muscle automobile? Hopefully, they gained’t. I’m right here for feeling efficiency reasonably than listening to it — and I drive an enormous F-150 with a customized exhaust.




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