Dodge is going electric, but you’ll hardly notice when it does.
CEO Tim Kuniskis said that’s the goal of the brand’s two-year, “Never Lift” plan to get loyal customers ready for its first EV coming in 2024.
Dodge is rolling out the vehicle in several steps that will include the reveal of a concept car this summer that’s already been teased in a short video. Kuniskis has also hired a “Chief Donut Maker” brand ambassador through a reality show-type competition to help bridge the gap to Dodge fans concerned about the transition.
Dodge’s first electric muscle car is equipped with all-wheel-drive.
“It’s a shock, it’s a change, and we need some soak time,” Kuniskis said. “And we thought, better than me saying it’s going to be OK, why not take a fan, why not take a person that’s been with us, been in the brotherhood, knows what we’re doing, likes what we’re doing and can see from the inside out, kind of peek under the tent of what’s going to be coming, and then they can share that …. with the rest of the fans.”
Kuniskis told Fox News Autos the idea is to ease people into it and give them time to make an informed choice when the car goes on sale.
“Human nature is to resist change and then accept it before you even realize you accepted it,” he said.
Dodge will continue to introduce new versions of its V8-powered muscle cars, like the Challenger SRT Super Stock, in the coming years.
Kuniskis knows there are plenty of Dodge owners who want to kill him — metaphorically — for the blasphemy of building an electric muscle car, but others who are excited because they know Dodge is doing things differently. He promises that the car will stay true to the brand and be Dodge first and an EV second.
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“We’re going to build them a muscle car. We’re going to build them something that drives like a Dodge, looks like a Dodge, sounds like a Dodge and performs like a Dodge and, oh, by the way, it also happens to be electrified,” he said.
The Dodge EV resurrects the brand’s classic "Fratzog" logo in illuminated form.
Kuniskis isn’t sure when the EV flipping point will be reached, when their prices are on par with internal combustion engines and the charging infrastructure to support them is robust, but thinks the transition will come quickly when it is. At that point, just having an electric car in your lineup isn’t going to be good enough.
“At some point in the future, everybody’s going to be electrified, so, saying you’re electrified. Who cares? It won’t be a differentiator,” he said.
Dodge isn’t done with new gas-powered models yet, however.
“There’s a lot of people that love these cars and want them, so we’re going to be promoting ICE (internal combustion engines) alongside electrification, and we’ll have some special editions through that period.”
Gary Gastelu is Fox News Digital’s Automotive Editor.