Dodge's muscle cars continue with new versions of the Charger that are electric or gasoline-powered

America's muscle car culture will continue as the country transitions to electric vehicles, but the gas-powered performance car will stick around for at least a few more years.

DETROIT β€” America's muscle car culture will persist as the country transitions to electric vehicles, but the high-performance gas-powered vehicle will stick around for at least a few more years.

Dodge on Tuesday unveiled two battery-powered versions of the powerful Charger that will still roar like a big V8 without the pollution from the tailpipe.

However, the Stellantis brand, which has carved out a market niche selling performance cars, will continue to sell a gas-powered Charger as well, without the big Hemi V8.

Both will be built on Stellantis' global large vehicle underpinnings, and the Windsor, Ontario, plant that will manufacture them will be able to switch between gasoline and electric depending on consumer demand. The flexibility will allow Stellantis to hedge its bets if electric vehicle sales take off or slow.

Last year, Stellantis stopped making gasoline-powered Chargers and Challengers, and many thought that would be the beginning of the end for thundering sedans.

However, the company downplayed the gas version by offering two-door and four-door electric models that looked a bit like 1960s Chargers with aerodynamic lines and hatchbacks instead of trunks.

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The electric versions, named the Charger Daytona after a Nascar race track in Florida, will come with two engines, one of which delivers up to 670 horsepower with the ability to go from zero to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 3.3 seconds. The other is no slouch with 496 horsepower and a zero-to-60 time of 4.7 seconds.

Dodge claims the high-performance electric version is the world's fastest and most powerful muscle car. A higher-performance version will be released next year.

The 496-hp Daytona is expected to have a range of 317 miles (510 km) per charge, while the high-performance version can go 260 miles (418 km).

Both will feature the company's Fratzonic Chambered exhaust that sends air through the chamber to simulate the roar of a V8 engine.

Both are heavy due to their large batteries, with a total vehicle weight of more than three tons each.

The new gas-powered Charger Sixpack model will look similar to the electric versions and will be powered by a new 3-liter six-cylinder engine with two turbochargers. The standard versions will generate 420 hp while the high-output engine will have 550 hp.

The company says the new engine will generate more horsepower and produce more torque than the previous 5.7-liter and 6.4-liter Hemi V8 engines. Company officials said they have not yet completed fuel economy tests on the new engine in the Charger.

All versions have all-wheel drive but can be converted to rear-wheel drive so owners can keep hustling and drifting. There will be options to prepare the cars for the race track.

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Production of the two-door Daytona coupe is expected to begin this summer, while production of the four-door electric and gas-powered versions will begin early next year.

Kuniskis said he's not sure which versions will sell better, electric or gas. With federal tax incentives on electric vehicles, there are likely to be very attractive lease payments that could sway some buyers, he said.

The company will almost certainly be criticized by environmental groups for coming out with electric vehicles that emphasize efficiency and performance and retain the gas-powered muscle car. But Kuniskis said under normal circumstances, about 17 million new cars are sold in the United States each year.

β€œIt's a 17 million unit industry,” he said. “And you know what? People need options,” he said, adding that the company could come under fire if it doesn't build electric versions.

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