Fiat Chrysler Automobiles says it will use battery power to push its performance agenda in the next generation of Dodge muscle cars.
Speaking to the Detroit Free Press at the North American International Auto Show, FCA boss Mike Manley indicated "the clock is ticking" on the current Challenger's aging platform and thirsty engines.
"The reality is those platforms and that technology we used does need to move on," Fiat Chrysler's CEO told the Free Press. "New technology is going to drive a load of weight out, so we can think of the powertrains in a different way. And we can use electrification to really supplement those vehicles."
Manley said that, in his view, electrification will be part of the muscle car formula of the future, and that cars like the Challenger will move away from big, supercharged V8s like the 707-hp engine in the Dodge Challenger Hellcat. But Manley added that FCA's use of electricity in the context of muscle cars will put performance before fuel economy.
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Industry experts suggest a rumoured forthcoming twin-turbo version of the Dodge Pentastar V6 would be a likely engine to mate with an electric motor for sports car performance in the vein of the Porsche Panamera Hybrid.
There is also a suggestion that, at the bottom end of the Challenger range, FCA's turbo four-cylinder hybrid powertrain (an option in the latest Jeep Wrangler) could serve as an entry-level power source.
The timing of a hybrid Challenger is unclear, but Manley contends that the Challenger's current platform and technology "can't exist as you get into the middle-2020s." If Manley's sentiment carries the day at FCA, we'd expect to see a hybrid Dodge muscle car in showrooms in the next five years.