The days of the supercharged V-8 engine may be nearing an end at Fiat Chrysler. Company CEO Mike Manley says the next-generation of the company’s muscle cars will likely utilize electrification to get big power.
Speaking with The Detroit News on the sidelines of the Detroit Auto Show, Manley said the 13-year old LX chassis that underpins the current Challenger–along with its V-8s–can’t last too long into the next decade.
“New technology is going to drive a load of weight out, so we can think of the powertrains in a different way. And we can use electrification to really supplement those vehicles,” Manley told the publication.
Manley failed to offer any specifics regarding how FCA will utilize electrification to transform American muscle. Some speculate the company will leverage electric motors to supplement power out of smaller displacement engines. An obvious match up would be a twin-turbocharged version of the company’s Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 engine with an electric booster. This combination could yield power similar to today’s supercharged V-8’s.
Utilization of electric motors to add power is not a new concept. Many luxury European brands are already doing so, but with a host of added costs and mass to the vehicle. It isn’t yet clear if FCA has mastered a balance of technology that could mesh electrification with a price tag in line of what people expect for a modern American muscle car.
Regardless, they have time to figure it out. A new version of the Dodge Challenger isn’t expect until sometime next decade, after 2021. In the meantime, the supercharged V-8’s seem to be selling just fine.