Mar 5, 2024 - Business

Muscle cars enter their electric era

Image of a silver electric Dodge Charger on a racetrack at sunset

The electric 2024 Dodge Charger Daytona. Photo courtesy of Stellantis

With the upcoming launch of the all-electric Dodge Charger Daytona, Stellantis is targeting a skeptical and perhaps even downright hostile audience: muscle car fans.

Why it matters: Electric vehicles (EVs) have already hit the mainstream — even some pickups run on battery power now. Muscle cars represent the last bastion of the gasoline era.

Driving the news: The new electric Charger made its debut Tuesday in an online video channeling the rebellious spirit of brothers John and Horace Dodge.

  • Dismissing other "compliance" EVs built to satisfy government regulators, Stellantis said the next-generation Charger is still the world's quickest and most powerful muscle car.
  • It will also be the loudest, thanks to a patent-pending "Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust system" — a speaker box that replicates the deafening burble of Dodge's Hellcat V8 engine (no typical EV whine here).

By the numbers: The electric 2024 Dodge Charger Daytona Scat Pack delivers 670 horsepower, goes 0-60 mph in 3.3 seconds and runs the quarter-mile in an estimated 11.5 seconds.

  • Performance features include standard all-wheel-drive, along with a PowerShot feature that delivers a jolt of 40 extra horsepower, and selectable Drag, Track, Drift and Donut modes.
  • There's even a "drive experience recorder" that lets you show your friends how crazy you are.

Reality check: Lots of other carmakers have built performance EVs that are fast and fun to drive.

  • And just last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk made a bold, believe-it-when-we-see-it claim that the next-generation Roadster will go 0-60 mph in under 1 second — which would be insane.

Between the lines: EVs are finally becoming relevant for a niche group of muscle car buyers who only care about what's under the hood.

  • They want noisy V8s and manual transmissions and like to show off by screaming past you on the interstate or doing donuts and squealing their tires at intersections.
  • "For some people, the performative aspect of a muscle car is as important as its performance on the road," Mark Phelan, veteran automotive critic at the Detroit Free Press, tells Axios.

Purists, take heart: Other Charger models will follow in early 2025, including two gasoline versions.

The bottom line: Stellantis knows what Dodge buyers want.

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