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Gas-powered muscle car drives into the sunset and turns electric

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The Associated Press

Associated Press

Tom Krisher

This undated image provided by Stellantis shows the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept. (Stellantis via AP)
Stellantis undated Image Dodge Charger Daytona SRT concept on display. (Stellantis via AP) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

PONTIAC, MI (AP) — Gasoline powered for decades Their last Saturday night cruise, an icon of American culture, will come to an end in the years to come as automakers honking muscle cars begin to replace them with battery-powered super-fast vehicles.

Stellantis' Dodge brand, formerly known as Fiat Chrysler, was the performance flagship of the company, but has officially gone electric. On Wednesday night, Dodge unveiled his car, the battery-powered Charger Daytona SRT Concept.

Stellantis says it will stop making petrol versions of its muscle cars, the Dodge Challenger and Charger, and the heavy-duty Chrysler 300, by the end of next year. The Canadian factory that makes them will be converted to electric vehicles. Other automakers are or are moving in the same direction.

General Motors has announced that it will build an all-electric Chevrolet Corvette. According to Tesla, the Model S Plaid version is the fastest production car capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph (97 kilometers per hour) in less than two seconds. Audi, Mercedes, Porsche and other European automakers are already selling high-performance electric models. And Polestar, an electric performance spin-off from Volvo, has just unveiled its new Polestar 6 roadster for 2026.

One of the reasons the industry is changing is that electric cars simply get faster off the starting line. Handling is also usually better, as the heavy battery lowers the center of gravity.

Stricter government pollution requirements are another factor. As U.S. automakers produce a wider range of EVs in the face of tougher fuel economy requirements adopted by the Biden administration, they will have to abandon some of their gasoline-fueled muscle car models.

Tim Kuniskis, his CEO of the Dodge brand, said the potential government fines for not meeting fuel economy requirements has hastened the shift to electric chargers. "Compliance fines, such as those associated with the large cast-iron supercharger V8, are certainly severe," he said.

Still, it will be years before the petrol-powered Classic goes away.

"I think the internal combustion engine will continue to exist for the next few years, probably through most of his decade," said Sam Abu Elsamid, research analyst at Guidehouse Insights. . "But increasingly, the focus will be on electrification."

According to the EPA, new fuel economy standards announced in April will see the average fuel economy of new Should increase from 25.4 mpg to about 40 miles per gallon. The standards are likely to get tougher in the future, forcing US-based automakers to sell gas-powered muscle cars to avoid fines.

According to the EPA, the Stellantis had the lowest average fuel economy of all major automakers, at 21.3 miles (21.3 miles) per gallon, and the highest average carbon footprint. So the company may have to remove some models to avoid fines. For example, his supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi Hellcat V-8 powered Limited Edition Charger SRT Widebody gets just 12 mpg in city driving and on the highway he's only 21 mpg.

For many gearheads, the idea of ​​a muscle car without noise and smell is heresy. But Kuniskis says Dodge is working hard to make the electric experience comparable to the internal combustion engine. The Charger produces its own airflow to produce an exhaust note that rivals gasoline-powered cars, he said. And the transmission shifts gears.

He said electric cars have the potential to outperform fast-accelerating gas muscle cars. But he said they were kind of barren.

Kuniskis wouldn't say how fast the electric charger would go from 0 to 60 mph, but said it would be faster than the company's current petroleum-powered vehicles. He also didn't mention the range-per-charge of the new Challenger, but added that range isn't as important as what makes it a true muscle car. 72}

Rick Nelson, owner of Muscle Car Restoration Design in Pleasant Plains, Illinois, near Springfield, warned that switching from big, fuel-burning engines to quiet electricity can be difficult. For veterans who grew up with the sounds and smells of racing.

Nelson, 61, fixed his first car in his teens and spent hours on his strip in drag, he said. He acknowledged that the switch to electric was inevitable and necessary to attract a new generation accustomed to quieter speeds. He said he misses the smell of fuel.

Companies are already putting electric powertrains into classic muscle cars, according to Nelson. He's been in touch with Tesla engineers about retrofitting the battery and electric motor into some classics. said of electric muscle cars. "But this is not the story of my generation."

Kuniskis says the move to electric doesn't mean the end of muscle cars. It's a new era.

"All right," he said. "Let me show you what the future looks like."

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