Dodge has built its brand image around being an unabashed purveyor of American muscle.
That persona shouldn’t change anytime soon, but the source of its trademark performance could evolve with the addition of electrified powertrains, said Tim Kuniskis, head of passenger cars for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
There might come a day when the old-school sensibilities of the Challenger and Charger are meshed with the modern era of electrified performance that has been a playground for high-priced supercars such as the Ferrari LaFerrari, Porsche 918 Spyder and Acura NSX.
“I think the absolute future is electrification of these cars,” Kuniskis told Automotive News after unveiling wide-body versions of the Charger SRT Hellcat and Scat Pack. “That’s not necessarily bad. It could be [battery electric], it could be [plug-in hybrid], it could be regular hybrid, could be e-axles, any one of the number of electric technologies. But I am a firm believer that electrification will be the key to high performance in the future.”
Kuniskis said consumers’ love of performance isn’t going anywhere even as the electric-vehicle era progresses. Affordability, he said, is the key barrier right now to potential electrified versions of the Challenger and Charger.
“We don’t have the price points of the batteries down to a place where, quite honestly, it’s a mainstream proposition,” Kuniskis said. “You do see it in the upper end. You see it in the new Ferrari that just came out, you saw it in the LaFerrari before that, you saw it in the 918, you saw it in the NSX. So there’s absolutely a performance advantage to it, it’s just a question of when the consumer acceptance is going to be for that. And I think it’s going to be as soon as the price points come down, it becomes a mainstream viable option.”