Insane muscle car to get even meaner

America's baddest, meanest V8 muscle car could soon boast a clean, green streak.

Reports out of America suggest Dodge could up the power of its aptly named Hellcat models (Challenger and Charger) by fitting an electric motor, in turn reducing fuel use to meet stricter emissions standards.

While enthusiasts would be lured by the promise of more power and better performance, authorities will like the hybrid drivetrain's ability to lower fuel use - at least for those who don't want to fully experience the monstrous 6.2-litre supercharged V8 at the Hellcat's heart.

The hybrid Hellcat speculation surfaced from automotive news authority The Detroit Bureau, which interviewed Fiat Chrysler Automobiles powertrain boss Micky Bly.

A hybrid powertrain can deliver even more power than pure petrol.
A hybrid powertrain can deliver even more power than pure petrol.

While Bly wouldn't be drawn on the possibility of a hybrid Hellcat, the news organisation quotes "several FCA insiders" as suggesting the Dodge performance heroes could adopt a similar mild hybrid system to what is available in the latest Jeep Wrangler in America.

That set-up includes a 48V electrical system powering a small electric motor to assist with take-offs and restarting the engine after it has shut down temporarily. It's expected to add at least 175Nm, similar to the torque of some small cars. Combined with the current 527kW and 880Nm there should be no shortage of punch.

Bly also gave some tantalising hints that a promised shift to electric propulsion across the FCA lineup could permeate even the thirstiest, most powerful cars the company produces.

While FCA has been slow to the shift towards hybrid and electric, he said that will change.

"We're not leaders [in electrification] now … but we will be soon."

Bly also said that despite the big power produced by the current Hellcats - an engine also used in the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk sold here - there was an expectation for more.

"People want more than today."

A hybrid Hellcat promises insane performance.
A hybrid Hellcat promises insane performance.

For years the Hellcats were the most powerful muscle cars to emerge from an American manufacturer, outdone only recently by the drag strip-focused Challenger Hellcat Demon, with up to 626kW from a unique engine of the same size and configuration.

While the upcoming Ford Mustang GT500 will beat the regular Hellcats with 567kW, they are still highly regarded for their immense outputs.

In the meantime, Dodge has begun offering a Widebody Package for the Charger four-door. The wheel arch flares add about nine centimetres to its width, in turn accommodating wider tyres.

Suspension and brake upgrades complete the package that claims to improve cornering.



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