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The Future We Want? Dodge's EV Plans are Interesting—Are They Abandoning Their Internal Combustion V8 Engine Loving Customers?

It's pretty astonishing what the Dodge brand has done over the last decade in terms of becoming America's preferred "muscle car" brand. Sure the Camaro and Mustang are great, but when it comes to both market growth and street image Dodge sits at the top.

Dodge Charger Daytona EV Concept Side View

The Charger and Challenger, despite their age, have remained some of the most desirable performance cars in America. And for a good reason. They are fast, they sound great, they are surprisingly practical—and most of all they are relatively affordable. 

Challenger SRT Hellcat Front View on Nitto Tires

Before current supply chain interruptions, a person could get a brand new Scat Pack Charger or Challenger with nearly 500 horsepower for under $40,000. And that's important because it was still around the range of your average new car price. And for those who wanted more, the almighty Hellcat was there at the ready.

Dodge Hellcat Engine

Are "Electric Muscle Cars Real? Maybe it Doesn't Matter

But that era is already coming to an end. Dodge recently confirmed that the Charger and Challenger will cease production after the 2023 model year, with no direct replacement after.

Dodge Charger Hellcat Widebody

Instead, Dodge shook up the internet with the unveiling of the Charger Daytona SRT Concept, which previews the direction of the Dodge performance car in the years to come.

Dodge Charger SRT EV Concept Rear 3/4

From a looks prospective alone, the new Charger Daytona SRT Concept is an incredible-looking car—and if this simply was the next generation of Dodge V8 muscle car, they'd have an instant hit on their hands.

Dodge Charger SRT EV Concept Interior

But this isn't just a preview of next generation muscle car, it's a complete reimagining of one, and it's powered not by a gasoline-fed Hemi V8 engine, but by electric motors and a gigantic lithium battery. It even has AWD.

A New Era

To their credit, the Dodge concept has some interesting features that set it apart from other electric cars, like a mechanical transmission and the first-ever BEV "exhaust system."

Dodge Charger SRT EV Concept Front View

Whether or not these are gimmicks or game-changing elements is the subject of another discussion, but the bigger question is can an "EV" muscle car actually take the place of a gas-powered one?

Dodge Challenger on Nitto NT555 RII DOT compliant drag radial

More importantly, perhaps, there's a big question of whether these and if these future EV performance cars will completely leave budget-minded enthusiasts behind.

Dodge Challenger SRT Redeye Hellcat

Pay to Play

Right now, if you want to buy a "performance" EV from Tesla, Ford, Audi or any of the other players, you'll have to pay a significant sum.

For example, a brand new Mustang GT V8 can be had for under $40,000, while the all-electric Mustang Mach-E GT is about $70,000. Yes, the Mach-E is faster by the numbers with its twin motors and AWD, but it's also nearly double the cost. 

Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Blue

It's likely to be the same scenario with Dodge, though Ford is at least going to continue selling a V8 Mustang while they can, with a next gen model debuting shortly. 

Ford Mustang Mach-E Charging

And for as interesting as the new Dodge EV concept looks, it's hard to imagine a world where the production version of an electric Challenger or Charger is priced anywhere below $60,000 or $70,000. 

Dodge Charger EV Concept Black and Red

Maybe There's No Choice

In their defense, the decision to stop selling V8s in favor of electric muscle cars isn't Dodge acting purely on its own accord. Government at the state, federal and international level have made it pretty clear that they want...or need us out of gas cars and into EVs as soon as possible.

Dodge Charger Daytona EV Concept Interior

The state of California just confirmed its plan to ban the sale of new internal combustion vehicles by 2035, and Dodge, like other automakers knows that regardless of consumer demand, there isn't much sense in continued development in platforms and tech that will be illegal to sell in about a decade.

Dodge Challenger Scat Pack 1320 Burnout

So that's where we sit. There's no doubt the the new Dodge performance EVs are going to be fast. They might even end up being as engaging and exciting as the Hellcats and Scat Packs they sell today.

Dodge Charger Daytona EV Concept

But even aside from the threat of pricing their customers out of the market, retaining their army of blue collar performance enthusiasts who love smokey burnouts and the rumble of a V8 engine is going to be easier said than done.

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