Dodge CEO Admits EV Transition Was Like ‘Heading Towards A Wall’

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Change is inevitable. It comes easier to some than others, and that brings us to Dodge. It’s been 19 months since the Charger Daytona SRT EV Concept debuted, pointing the way toward the company’s electrified future. And now that future is here with the 2024 Charger Daytona, billed as the world’s first electric muscle car.

Whether buyers accept instant electric torque over a raucous V-8 remains to be seen. But at the Charger Daytona debut event, Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis acknowledged the difficult path facing the company. After 18 years of walking tall on a range of Hemi engines, he likened the EV transition at Dodge to racing towards a wall the company couldn’t avoid.

“We knew we were heading towards a wall,” he told reporters at the event, using drag racing as a metaphor for the situation. “So we went full throttle, and pulled the chute just before the end.”

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This is a reference to Dodge’s run of Last Call Chargers and Challengers, culminating with the Challenger Demon 170 and its factory-equipped parachute. Announced at the same time as the Daytona SRT Concept, the plan was to give Dodge’s “brotherhood” a chance to accept the electric future while enjoying the Hemi’s last stand.

“They needed that soak time,” said Kuniskis, sticking with the drag racing analogy. “And [the Charger Daytona SRT Concept] was the production car, hiding in plain sight.”

To Dodge’s credit, its first EV isn’t a compliance car. In range-topping Scat Pack trim, the 2024 Charger Daytona should reach 60 mph in 3.3 seconds and cover a quarter-mile in 11.5 seconds. The automaker stakes a claim of having the quickest and most powerful muscle car on sale now, provided your definition of muscle car doesn’t require a V-8 engine to qualify. But that’s a discussion for another time.

Judging by early responses on social media, it seems no amount of “soak time” will be sufficient to convert some folks. But as we’ve seen with BMW, criticism on the socials doesn’t necessarily translate to poor sales. And for those not happy with the electric Charger Daytona, a 2025 Dodge Charger Sixpack comes next year with up to 550 horsepower from a twin-turbo Hurricane I6 engine.

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So the Charger’s future isn’t entirely electric. But it is absent a V-8 engine for the first time in nearly two decades. For a brand that’s thrived on Hemi power, is this too much change for the Charger to survive? Jump into the comments, and let us know your take.