Fans of the American muscle car have no shortage of stupidly high-powered Detroit sheet metal from which to choose. Part of the appeal of revving a Ford Mustang GT, a Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, or the Dodge Challenger Hellcat is hearing a howling V-8 roar back at you. Sadly, Mike Manley, the new CEO at Fiat Chrysler America (FCA), is saying there are not many V-8s in the future product road map, and he teases that the new norm for Dodge’s performance sleds will be electrification.
Speaking to The Detroit News, Manley said, “the reality is those [Hellcat] platforms and that technology we used does need to move on. They can’t exist as you get into the middle-2020s. New technology is going to drive a load of weight out, so we can think of powertrains in a different way. And we can use electrification to really supplement those vehicles. I think that electrification will certainly be a part of the formula that says what is American muscle in the future. What it isn’t going to be is a supercharged V-8.”
Say it ain’t so. While hybrids and battery-electric vehicles will obviously start to overtake and dominate the consumer automotive landscape, it’s not surprising that the likes of Hellcats would eventually be sucked into the electrical vortex. But there’s something seemingly sacrilegious about eschewing a big-block V-8 that’s been the standard for an iconic car in favor of a hybrid. Manley did note that you likely won’t see the electrical power components taking the starring role in future Challenger models; instead, it will help supplement the combustion engine, which mitigates the sting of this news just a touch.
If you’re a Challenger purist and haven’t yet gotten your hands on a Hellcat, you still have some time before FCA begins tinkering with the power train. Get your orders in now, folks. For those who are hopeful that a next-gen Challenger hybrid sounds killer—and honestly, there are worse ideas than supplementing a Hellcat motor with some electrical juice—then the future looks brightly charged.