All Hope is Not Lost!

  • October 25, 2023

You may get a charge out of this news. Or – rather – you won’t have to. And that’s the really electrifying news.

Which is this:

It looks like Dodge is not going to turn the Charger into a battery powered device next year after all.

At least, not necessarily.

There will be a battery-powered version, as promised. Or rather, as forced.

As a result of the federal regulatory regime having made it nigh-impossible to continue making Chargers with engines.

At least, exclusively.

Battery-powered devices help Dodge (and every car manufacturer) comply with the pending federal regulations that require every manufacturer’s combined fleet of vehicles to average close to 50 miles-per-gallon come 2026. A battery powered device is favored hugely by the regs because of a legerdemain called “MPGe” that enables a battery powered device to tout spectacularly high mileage numbers that are supposedly equivalent to what a gas-burning vehicle would be, if it were as “efficient” as a battery powered device.

The problem is the formula does not take into account the inefficiencies involved in generating and transmitting the electricity burned up by the battery-powered device – which, if taken into account, would halve the touted “MPGe” figures to about the same as the average MPG numbers touted by a mid-sized gas-burning crossover SUV.

But never mind that.

What matters when it comes to trying to sell things these days is figuring out ways to make sure what you sell is compliant with the regulatory regime’s diktats. Nothing else matters – because compliance is fundamentally all that matters. Because compliance is the fundamental object of government.

That is why Dodge – and Chrysler and Jeep and (yes) Ram trucks, too – will no longer be powered by the Hemi V8 that has been one of the main reasons so many people have bought Dodges, Chryslers, Jeeps and Ram trucks. The V8 could not be made compliant – and thus, Stellantis – which is the parent company of those brands – could no longer offer for sale that which people wanted to buy.

However, it is becoming increasingly obvious that many people are not wanting to buy a battery-powered device. Especially Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep and Ram truck buyers. Trying to sell them a battery powered device is something on par with trying to sell heterosexual blue collar men Bud Lite with Dylan Mulvaney on the can.

As in good luck with that.

The people running Stellantis appear to understand the peril of that and have decided to take corrective action before rather than after the fact.

A credible source in a position to know has leaked the following:

They’re keeping gasoline engines. The official designation for the vehicle platform is LB and it will have the new GME-T6 Hurricane inline-six in RWD and AWD . . . It will be using the Stellantis Gen 4 transmission that’s also rolling out to Mack Assembly, Jefferson North Assembly and Toledo North.”

Cue Johnny Cash singing I saw the light!

This will be the alternative to the battery-powered device, much as the F-150 is the alternative to the battery-powered device – the Lightning – that isn’t selling. But by offering it for sale, Ford is compliant with the regime of the federal regulatory apparat. Each battery-powered device made by Ford ups Ford’s fleet average miles-per-gallon number.  For example, while a V8-powered F-150 only averages 19 MPG, the battery-powered device claims “68 MPGe,” or nearly three times as “efficient.” Which – of course – it isn’t. But that’s not what’s important.

Compliance is.

So Ford builds the battery-powered devices to offset the compliance costs of selling vehicles  . . . the ones people want to buy.

This is what it looks like Dodge is going to do, too.

The soon-to-be-launched next-generation Charger will be available in the configuration people want – with an engine – which Dodge will be able to offer by also making a battery-powered version. Remember: The latter doesn’t have to sell. It just has to be made.

In order that Dodge is compliant.

Of course, someone is going to have to pay for all of this compliance – and that will be the people subsidizing the costs of the battery powered devices via the purchase of the alternative to them. Expect the price of an engine-powered new Charger to be substantially higher than the cost of a current  (2023) Charger with an engine, in order that Dodge can recover the costs of making the battery-powered devices for which there is little (and dwindling) market demand.

There will also be some other costs. The new engine isn’t a V8 engine – because even with the offset assist of the battery-powered devices, it uses too much gas to allow for a balancing out. Also, the new six cylinder engines will not be offered with a manual transmission, which is still available (for another two months) in the two-door version of the Charger, the Challenger. The next-generation Charger (and Challenger, if Dodge decides to offer a two-door version going forward) will be automatic-only, because automatics can be programmed and thus are better suited to be compliant.

Nonetheless, it’s a step in the right direction for a change. A reversal of course that bodes well for a future that might not be entirely “electrified,” after all.

. . .

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