Earlier today, FCA showed us the Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat 2021 (a 710-horsepower family SUV powered by a 6.2-liter supercharged V8) and the Challenger SRT Super Stock (an 807-horsepower muscle car on drag radials powered by a 6.2 liter supercharged). V8). As such, you could have knocked us down with a feather when we heard Tim Kuniskis, director of FCA passenger cars in North America, say that electrification would eventually come in the company’s sports cars.
“We are very interested in electrification, especially for performance,” said Kuniskis Motor1.com in an exclusive interview. “I think it’s absolutely the future of performance, and that’s what will allow performance to exist in the middle [environmental] regulations.”
Kuniskis is the steward of what is arguably the most prominent brand of the FCA – SRT – as well as Dodge, Chrysler and Fiat. And while hybrid, rechargeable hybrid, and battery-electric powertrains are very useful for family cars like the Chrysler Pacifica and commuters like the Fiat 500e, it’s surprising to hear the executive include electrons in a discussion of the speed.
“I’m not going to say there is no way to avoid it, because I don’t consider it something we want to avoid,” said Kuniskis. “I think it will be the next evolution, the next stage of performance even higher than anything we’ve seen so far. This will open up a huge capacity. “
His zeal for electrified performance is somewhat rare among performance enthusiasts, a group to which Kuniskis certainly belongs. He played a key role in defending Dodge’s first supercharged muscle cars, the 2015 Charger SRT Hellcat sedan and the Challenger SRT Hellcat coupe. But by chatting with him, it’s clear that he’s excited about the performance and power that electrified powertrains provide.
I am not going to say that there is no way to avoid it, because I do not consider it as something that we want to avoid.
-Tim Kuniskis, head of passenger cars at FCA North America
Of course, Kuniskis is also realistic.
“Right now, electrification is not profitable,” he says. “Suppose you have a version that you want to turn into a superb, electrified performance car, and you’re going to sell 5,000. There is no way to justify spending it because of the cost of the technology.” “
However, by amortizing development costs on more attractive models, electrified performance becomes possible. “When the cost … goes down in the mainstream, it opens the door to madmen,” he says.
It is therefore fair to assume that FCA will eventually integrate more plug-in vehicles into its range. The auto giant is already marketing the fourth best-selling PHEV, the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, but it will likely require more FCA vehicles in a larger price structure before SRT can invest in high-performance electrification.
Unfortunately, Kuniskis was unable to meet a precise timing. We have heard rumors that the next Jeep Grand Wagoneer 2022 will offer a plug-in hybrid variant, as well as the new generation Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee. With that in mind, we’d like to see some sort of electrified Hellcat successor – a rechargeable charger, if you will – at the start of the next decade.