By on February 1, 2021

Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis has repeatedly suggested that electrification would be a keystone trait of tomorrow’s automobiles. But he never sounds truly gleeful about the prospect, injecting the level of joy one might reserve when announcing that the trip to the grocery store after noticing spartan shelves in the kitchen. Kuniskis is aware that Dodge’s lineup caters heavily to automotive size queens and that its ability to manufacture those models is swiftly coming to a close.

Despite the former FCA giving the brand the go-ahead to manufacture V8-equipped behemoths like the Hellcat, the newly formed Stellantis auto group may be less inclined to continue those efforts and the freshly installed Biden administration seems wholly committed to doubling down on environmental regulations that were already at odds with high-output automobiles. Kuniskis typically stops short of discussing these issues as the death knell for automotive performance, suggesting instead that electrification will open new doors for the industry while closing a few others. But he occasionally issues statements hinting that he’s not quite so enthralled with or as hopeful about EVs as his contemporaries.

Referencing our current era as the Second Golden Age of the muscle car to CNBC, Kuniskis seemed confident that electric vehicles would eventually surpass internal combustion vehicles in all measurable respects. But he made it clear that this would only happen after the vehicles went down in price, saw their associated technologies improve, and had become commonplace with a robust charging infrastructure that doesn’t yet exist.

“The whole world is going to shift to electrification, right? We know this is coming,” he told the outlet. “The whole world’s going get there and when it does, the price point of that technology is going to come down and … the crazy people are going to take the electrification that has now become accessible from a price point and make that performance-based instead of economy-based.”

But gasoline-reliant performers might become a casualty with no direct heir until electrics manage to achieve a true parity — especially if governments and the industry place the progress desired too far ahead of progress already made. Dodge’s CEO compared 2021 to the period foreshadowing the notorious Malaise Era (1973-1983), where the U.S. Federal Government began requiring new safety improvements (making vehicles heavier) with aggressive efficiency mandates (mitigating fuel usage). This resulted in a bevy of garbage tier performance vehicles and a slew of mainstream models that were often slower than their predecessors and sometimes burnt more fuel.

“1972 was the beginning of the end of the Golden Age of muscle cars,” Kuniskis said. “They went away for fuel economy, for the oil crisis. They went away for safety. They went away for insurance, and they went away for increasing emission standards. It’s kind of crazy to think about we’re getting close to a similar list of things right now.”

President Biden has already issued orders stalling new oil drilling on federal lands and has decided to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline that was formerly under construction. While dismantling the oil industry entirely is unrealistic, the current administration still has lofty environmental goals and most analysts are predicting steadily increasing energy prices. Some of the assumed regulatory changes may also run the risk of ending the United States’ ability to remain energy independent, potentially opening it up to another 1973-style oil crisis.

Kuniskis may not be having nightmares about the Dodge Aspen R/T rising from its grave to seek its slow and inefficient revenge. But he does appear to appreciate what Dodge has managed to achieve ahead of new regulations. By returning to the classic American formula of sticking large motors into big automobiles, the brand has managed to raise the performance bar for both itself and its domestic rivals without needing to saddle its products with six-figure window stickers.

“What Hellcat has done is way beyond what our initial expectations were because it’s way beyond what a traditional, very high-end trim does,” Kuniskis said. “In the last five years or so, we’ve sold well over 50,000 Hellcats. That’s a lot of Hellcats in five years if you think about you know the price point of that car.”

Whether Dodge’s future trajectory will remain focused on maximizing vehicle performance per dollar, Kuniskis believes EVs should eventually be able to surpass all benchmarks set by the internal-combustion engine. But he knows the party is probably ending for vehicles like the Hellcat.

“The days of an iron block supercharged 6.2-liter V8 are numbered,” he confessed during his interview. “They’re absolutely numbered because of all the compliance costs. But the performance that those vehicles generate is not numbered.”

[Image: Dodge]

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67 Comments on “Dodge CEO Hints at Second Malaise Era, Blames Regulation...”


  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    As far as I can tell, we are already in the fourth Automotive Malaise Era.
    The first was in the early days, when Henry Ford insisted that no one needed more car than a Model T. Of course he was wrong, and the industry revitalized with all-steel bodies, hydraulic brakes, lights, and heat.
    The Second Automotive Malaise Era was brought on by WW2. Cars became boring and static, but we understand this was a necessity of war. By the early ’50’s, the industry responded with bold new designs, OHV engines, automatic transmissions, and air conditioning.
    The third Era is the one we all know and love.
    The fourth Era is, like the third, driven by regulation. As fuel economy and safety requirements escalate, automakers have responded by slathering on the glitz (huge grilles, silly options, special trim) while also strangling horsepower (three-cylinder turbos with CVTs are everywhere).
    Sound like 1975? What’s the difference between a ’75 car, with a weak and underpowered engine camouflaged by a fancy interior and garish styling, and a ’21 car that pulls the same trick?
    We’ve been in the Fourth Automotive Malaise Era since at least 2015. Like the others, it will spark a revolution- electrification.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “while also strangling horsepower”

      Huh? A 2021 Honda Accord Turbo can blow the doors of a ’71 Pontiac GTO with the 455 0-60.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Vehicles today don’t have bad performance. One could argue they don’t have “thrilling” performance but that’s harder to quantify.

      However, I don’t expect the automobiles of this decade to be remembered very fondly in the future. They are generally ugly (again hard to quantify but I’m more comfortable in stating that aesthetics suck right now) and the super-screen interiors will look as dated as a wood-panel rumpus room does today.

      • 0 avatar
        MrIcky

        Right now in 2021? Absolutely not a malaise era. It’s pretty easy to think every car in 1970 was a big beefy muscle car, but the rare ones weren’t that common. I don’t have the numbers but I’m betting a whole lot more hellcats and 392s have been sold than 426 and 440s. But VW sold 570,000 bugs in 1970 alone.

        But yes, malaise era does look imminent. Electric can be undeniably fast though, so who knows. My gut tells me that just as they really get a broad array of electric cars that you could get emotionally connected to, they’ll kill all the emotional connection with safety aids.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          Exactly. Some of those muscle cars were also downright ‘scary’ to drive as they often had inadequate braking and pre-historic suspensions.

          As noted current mid range sedans often can outrun/outperform them.

          And the muscle cars represented a minority of autos/vehicles sold during their heyday. Remember that Superbirds sat unwanted on dealership lots.

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalMikester

      the model t era was more like the first under $1000 modem equipped computers. no malaise there. you could spend way more and buy a deusenberg or similar. WW2 wasnt malaise either.

    • 0 avatar
      blppt

      You gotta be kidding me. “Strangling Horsepower?”

      You’re pretty much forced to go buy a sports car with 400+hp nowadays if you want to get away from soccer moms and dads in their 400+hp SUV land yachts.

      And the electric cars have the kind of “instant on” power that never existed before.

      You can say that the SUV-ification of America has led to a general automobile design and enjoyability malaise, but horsepower has definitely NOT suffered.

  • avatar
    codylikesit

    As someone who just returned a brand new Dodge Charger R/T to Budget Rent A Car, it’s a sad day. That car was seriously a smile a minute! Fast and loud.

  • avatar
    ajla

    0. I don’t think anyone really believes that BEVs will have worse acceleration than their ICE counterparts. Certain issues like overall weight (Miata, Lotus) or long-term track ability (911 GT2, Ferrari Scud) could be performance issues though. At least for the short-term.

    1. Some manufacturers definitely don’t have their hearts in the EV future. They are only doing this because they aren’t being given an alternative.

    2. Dodge sells plenty of 392s and Hellcats right now despite Teslas also existing. I would personally prefer regulations that allow both things to reasonably exist.

    3. I know some folks on here think it is stupid but some degree of noise is an important part of most performance vehicles. EV silence isn’t going to be the selling-point it is for premium and luxury segments. I’m not sure what the end result will be but companies are going to have to figure it out.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      3. I think this is just something that we have now as ‘nostalgia’ that may have to be let go of. Pretty lights and ever better stereos maybe? I don’t know- I agree with you but I personally hate fake engine noises being pumped in.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        The thing is, having aural preferences isn’t a “nostalgia” thing, it is a human thing that’s been around before vehicles existed. Yea, maybe absolutely killer stereos or something like that can take the place of an exhaust sound but that comes off more as a “luxury car” feature.
        It is a part of why I think an EV “muscle car” will be harder to market even with very fast acceleration.

        • 0 avatar
          MrIcky

          I couldn’t agree more. I drive a Challenger and a decent chunk of the whole fun of the car is the sound. I understand that a Tesla will smoke me like a ham, and while I appreciate them I can’t make an emotional connection with them. Tesla’s amazing but assertive traction control also breaks my connection with the car.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Agreed, if there’s anything I’ll miss about these big V-8s, it’s the engine note. My ex-neighbor had a Durango SRT with the 392, and man, did that car sound sexy.

      Then again, there are also cars that sound a lot better than they perform (Maserati Ghibli, I’m looking at you).

  • avatar
    jmo

    Hum…it sounds like he means malaise for Stellantis. Do they have anything close to the money required to migrate to electric? I know the merger with PSA was supposed to help. But did it?

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Stellantis has 26 billion Euros cash on hand and a 5% net operating margin. If they can’t afford to go EV then a lot of companies are screwed.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        EUR 26 billion? So that’s a no. They don’t have the money. “Toyota cash on hand for the quarter ending September 30, 2020 was $81.536B” “Volkswagen AG cash on hand for the quarter ending September 30, 2020 was $77.411B”

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          I’m not sure on your source for the VW number. It looks like EUR 45B to me (page 38).
          https://www.volkswagenag.com/presence/investorrelation/
          publications/interim-reports/2020/Q3_2020_e.pdf

          VW is also the largest automaker in the world. So again, if Stellantis is in trouble with EV conversion then many other manufacturers will be as well because their financial position is not that bad.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      2 things there:

      Ya it’s a hybrid- but watch the 4xe Jeep when it comes out. The way they handle that roll out and advertising will set a lot of the stage for the transition. How they handle the 4xe vs the 392 advertising will say a lot about how they view the future imho.

      2nd I just don’t think it’s as hard a transition to electric as some people think. The motors are very close to an off the shelf solution, as are controllers. I’m not trying to diminish it, and obviously the devil is in the details as far as packaging goes. But because electric motors are relatively small- once you have your skateboard designed you can build a dozen body styles off it. I also wonder if that’s part of why Stellantis has been letting some cars continue on for a while- why do a full design of an interrim if you’re going to have to change fundamentally fairly soon.

    • 0 avatar
      MoDo

      They should just sit back and wait, let the suppliers pay for it. It’ll just end up being an EV skateboard with your body on it.

  • avatar
    turbo_awd

    Maybe in RELATIVE terms we’re in a slight malaise given the outright bonkers cars of the last 10 years? What was the 0-60 of the ’85 GTI, car of the year? 8.9-9.0s, IIRC? I think our minivan (’15 Town and Country) is faster than that.

    This is plain old “fearmongering” / whining. Tesla has a model with ~1000 hp. That will outrun many cars at the strip.

    Malaise would be if the fastest electric cars couldn’t beat a Prius and an average one was a Mitsu i-Miev and a Leaf was considered one of the best performing EVs.

    I’m not an EV person – my ’19 Stinger GT1 attests to that – but I don’t think there’s any danger of EV performance going back to a “Corvette with 180 hp” levels.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      It’s worse than Corvette with 180hp levels.

      The only places in most countries where you can, with any half reasonable expectation of not being gratuitously shaken down, use even 180hp in ay form of sustained fashion, are places far enough from the nearest donut shop, that they are simultaneously beyond reach of any range-limited battery car at speeds utilizing any meaningful number of horses.

      Even where shakedowns of enthusiastic drivers are less fashionable, on German freeways, very few buy battery cars. Once up to any sort of speed, the battery cars simply have no range at meaningful Autobahn speeds. And that will remain so for the foreseeable future.

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    Well if Stellantis is so bereft of ideas and innovation perhaps they should just fold up shop and call it a day. Because it’s completely impossible to innovate and solve technical problems and use your big mammalian brain to figure stuff out.
    I recall in the ‘70’s manufacturers arguing against emission controls, and in the 60’s arguing against safety features and seat belts. Nothing but job killers! Airbags kill! Antilock brakes? Impossible! No one can afford fuel injection!!! Without leaded gas your car will self destruct and kill babies! GM would still be selling small block Chevys with leaking main seals and oil starved cam shafts if they weren’t pushed to innovate. They certainly tried.

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      Well, airbags do kill if they were made by Takata. Any airbag also kills kids and dogs if they are in the front passenger seat, even if the kids are in a car seat or booster seat.

    • 0 avatar
      Oberkanone

      Would you rather have too much oil and depressed prices or too little, high prices and energy crisis? Biden revoking Keystone XL and moratorium on drilling leads to a future energy scarcity.

      • 0 avatar
        Imagefont

        Oil producers would love higher prices. Production costs are more or less fixed. Everybody wants cheaper oil but good lord, it’s so cheap now they’re giving it away. I filled up for $2.29/gal the other day, which is ridiculously cheap. And this energy independence nonsense is mischaracterized. The US can produce all it needs and export more but that’s not the goal and not how markets work.

    • 0 avatar
      Oberkanone

      Innovation occurs without government mandates and regulation.

      • 0 avatar
        Imagefont

        Agreed. Innovation occurs with competition. If you don’t innovate you go out of business, as you should. But car companies certainly needed the push from government regulations to innovate things they wouldn’t have otherwise bothered with.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Correct, innovation does occur without government money priming the pump – it just happens slower.

        Good example: I’m sure that if the government hadn’t underwritten the development of microproccessors and the Internet, someone would have. But when? And what country would have made the money off it that we have been making?

        You can think of government subsidies for things like EV credits as handouts, but that’s not the case at all – it’s the government trying to control where the technology is developed, and ensuring that we, not some other country, make money on it.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          In reality most innovation is government funded or initiated.

          Think of all the innovation that resulted from the space program.

          And the massive amount of innovation that resulted from both World Wars. When WWII started most nations still had biplanes with fixed undercarriages. By the end of the war, both sides have jets engined aircraft in operation.

  • avatar
    MKizzy

    Unless EV manufacturers cool it with the excessive EV horsepower, the next Malaise Era will come once the Feds realize how impractically fast even pedestrian EVs can accelerate where it seems like every EV car and truck can do 0-60 in < 4 seconds.

    All it will take is 1-2 high profile accidents caused by people driving their EVs like maniacs and the Feds will force automakers to muzzle EV power and acceleration to match your average mid sized CUV.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      It is possible but Tesla (and even most ICE high performance vehicles) require drivers to put their vehicle into some sort of sport/launch mode (sometimes several layers of sport mode) to get those crazy 0-60 times. The vast majority of normies aren’t going to bother with sort of thing and they’ll be fine with whatever the default gives.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        With some, you can even go to an ECO mode which slows the accelerator response further. Really nice to have in heavy stop and go traffic since it gives you more control.

        • 0 avatar
          wolfwagen

          ECO mode – YUK! I had a company-issued Prius in 2013 – 2017. I hated the eco mode button, it made the car perform like a piece of crap – yeah you got good mileage but it was a slug. I loved the POWER button. Wish I could have found a way to keep the car in that mode all the time since it would reset every time you shut the car off

  • avatar
    tylanner

    Malaise at Dodge….yes indeed.

  • avatar
    Shockrave Flash Has Crashed

    Yikes, why would you say that?

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Anyone who had the pleasure of driving late 70’s through late 80’s cars would not consider today’s car as under powered. Hell, my 14 Honda Accord with the 2.4 I4 coupled to the CVT would blow the doors off an 80’s Mustang or Camaro. The problem is the highly congested roads prevent using even 180 HP.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      To be fair, compare the ’14 Accord to the era Accord. I did enjoy the era, but it took a little help from the aftermarket to get there, starting with the required gear ratio swap and a posi (or trac-loc) if not so equipped.

      A cam, carb, intake, headers/exhaust, ignition, etc, didn’t hurt either.

      Modifying what the factory put out was just part of the deal. Speed/marine shops were everywhere, in every small town, no matter.

      Otherwise, the era (V8) Mustangs and Camaros (and a few others) had the right looks, size, proportion, balance, etc, so you didn’t feel like you were missing a darn thing.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The only Malaise Era to return could be for ICE engines, but not for cars in general. People know what performance is possible today and will continue to demand it.

    While the 1970’s 200 MPG carburetor was obviously a myth, today’s Hellcat is orders of magnitude cleaner and better-running than its forebears. But you’re not going to make it much cleaner than it is now, because the last 50 years of innovation have already put safety and emissions improvements on an asymptotic curve.

    Electrics have proven to be plenty of fun. Still, I’d prefer a 200-HP EV with 500 miles range over a 500-HP EV with 200 miles range. I want the Hellcat to exist, but that’s not what I’m buying.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Dodge’s problem was that it stuck with the old stuff for WAY too long. For a while, they could dress up their old-as-dirt product with big nasty V-8s. But we all knew that was bound to end – setting the whole regulation question aside, the product was ANCIENT. FCA knew it, and didn’t want to spend a lot of money making something fundamentally new or different. I mean, they didn’t even bother to redesign the DASHBOARDS on their cars. So Dodge got creative and made some fun stuff, and did it on the cheap. It was fun while it lasted, and I give them credit for making some really great stuff. But now they have nothing coming down the pipe. Well, yeah, I get why they’re upset, but who can they blame for it but themselves?

    Other manufacturers build all kinds of entertaining stuff that doesn’t have a big nasty V-8 – heck, you can even buy a four-banger Mustang or Camaro that will put all kinds of iron from the Muscle Car Glory Days on a trailer. Come to think of it, the same is true of any number of $35,000 family sedans.

    Malaise? Nope. In Dodge’s case, it’s the end of the “we can dress up our ancient product with a big bunch of V-8 yee-hah” era. I’ll miss it. But the future is anything but bad…certainly not malaise-era bad.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I think you are being harder than necessary on FCA. Is their actual product portfolio really all that different than what GM and Ford offer today? Truck/CUV heavy with a few doses of whimsy. Dodge just gets unlucky that their showroom space is shared by a dedicated utility vehicle brand.

      The Charger is old but GM, Ford, Hyundai, and Kia all just straight up killed their large sedans in this market because they couldn’t make money on them. It is a dead segment, no reason to invest there.
      Yes, there is a turbo-4 Camaro and Mustang. They don’t sell especially well to anyone that isn’t a rental fleet. The future of either of those pony cars also far from assured. The Camaro is probably dead and the Mustang will need to share a platform to be justifiable.

      If you were in charge of Dodge what you offer?

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I think the real question isn’t “if I were in charge of Dodge what would I do now” – it’s “if I were in charge of Dodge five years ago what should I have done”? And here are a few ideas:

        1) If you can’t redo the product, then at least freshen it, for goodness’ sake. You shouldn’t open the door of a 2021 Charger and see the same dashboard the thing had in 2011. Come on, fellas…the tooling and engineering is paid off. No reason not to keep the interiors from getting dingy.

        2) Five years ago, it was apparent that the market was heading to CUVs, so why not make a Dodge performance CUV (or at least one with performance attitude)? Use the same basic platform as a Jeep Cherokee, but give it Dodge “attitude”. Think “Journey Hellcat”. Today, we’re starting to see more models like this, and Dodge could have been a leader. Not a huge market, but it’s a niche, and it’s something to build on.

        3) Move the sedans and the Challenger to the Giulia platform, making them more contemporary. That way, when the V-8 death knell sounds, you don’t have something that is worthless without it.

        Would it have worked? I dunno. But it was clear that the “stuff a big engine in it and call it a day” act from five years ago wasn’t a long term solution either it was a party while it lasted, so the writing was on the wall for that approach.

        Unfortunately, I don’t think the brand has a future at all now. Just shut it down and expand Ram, make it a standalone brand for trucks and full size SUVs. Maybe that was the plan, and what we saw was FCA milking the last dollar it could out of Dodge?

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          #2 on your list might have had some legs. I also think instead of a Chrysler Pacifica the minivan should have gone to Dodge. Ditto on the 500x. I don’t know what the deal is with the Giorgio platform but it isn’t optimized for EVs so it is probably just a cash fire at this point.

          I’ll still die on the “never update the Charger” hill though.

          I think the plan with Dodge and Chrysler is to let the acquisition partner figure it out. Rebadged French cars? Death? New investment? Who knows.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    If anyone wants to really understand just how bad the malaise era was, read this article from Car and Driver about the Charger Hellcat of its’ day – the legendary ’77 Mercedes 450 SEL 639.

    https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/a15143513/mercedes-benz-450sel-69-archived-road-test/

    Forty-four years ago, this car, which would go for $132,000 in today’s money, was one of the strongest-performing non-exotics you could buy. Today, it’d get its’ lunch eaten by some kid delivering Blackjack Pizzas in his mom’s V-6 Altima.

    If you could magically transport a Ecoboost Mustang back to 1977, it wouldn’t just be a dominant performer – it’d be like Thanos showing up during World War II and saying “submit or else, peons.”

    THAT is how bad the Malaise Era was, folks. And this guy from Dodge thinks it’s coming back because the days of the monster V-8 are numbered? Nope.

    • 0 avatar
      msquare

      Don’t sell the Mercedes 6.9 too short. It was the actual car used in the famed video “C’etait un rendez-vous” in which a car is driven at high speed through the streets of Paris at an hour when there was no traffic. Of course, that happened in the early 1970’s, so you could never duplicate it now unless you closed down the route.

      The Ferrari sound effects were dubbed in post-production, but here’s what a big Mercedes could do four and a half decades ago.

      Link: https://youtu.be/Eu-LZfQIdag

      Let’s see if the embed works.

      [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eu-LZfQIdag&w=560&h=315%5D

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I agree – the W116 was a splendid car (my family had a ’75 450SE, and it was a TANK), and the 6.9 was the best of that breed. Even so, I think you get my point – even a non-smogged Euro version would probably get its’ a$$ handed to it by a 2.0 Accord Sport.

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          One of my fondest automotive memories is getting a high-speed ride through the back roads of Virginia horse country in Paul Marriott’s brand new 1969 300SEL 6.3. That was an awesome car.

          Although the time he lent my dad his ‘69 E-type for a similar ride was pretty cool too.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Given the claimed performance of the Tesla Model S Plaid+, it’s pretty obvious that performance is still around. It’s just not ICE powered which is where Dodge has been making its money.

  • avatar

    Cadillac is not aware about coming soon Malaise era, judging from the first article on this site. As far as I am concerned – good riddance of ICE and oil.

    • 0 avatar
      wolfwagen

      Except for those of us that heat with Oil because natural gas is unavailable.
      We can all die, right?

      You will still need ICE and Oil for Diesel-powered Trucks, Locomotives and Cargo ships.

      While the Tesla Truck looks promising, I’d love to see how it works full loaded in the middle of the midwest at below-freezing temperatures in the middle of winter. Or Alaska or Canada for that matter

  • avatar
    Dan

    There were three major components to malaise.

    Crap power outputs. Everyone remembers this one, usually to the exclusion of the other two, and it’s one of two things EVs get right. Even the bottom feeding compliance gestures like the Leaf keep up with traffic, genuinely quick isn’t far behind. No malaise here.

    Crap emissions equipment. Rube Goldberg multi chambered carbs, fuel injection that barely worked, hoods up and wallets out. The other thing EVs get right with most of their moving parts excised. No malaise here either.

    Downsizing. Stubby little econoboxes with broken proportions. Seen a Tesla lately? Stupid fast, giant infotainment screen, and all the presence of the Prius that aerodynamics combined with an affordable battery require it to be shaped exactly like. A 3 is a little Prius. Even $100,000 of X is just a medium sized Prius. Sad little things.

    On that point malaise is back with a vengeance.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      EV styling doesn’t have to be weird or boring, ala Tesla Model 3/X/Y (which I agree are dorky looking). But you mean to tell me you wouldn’t be seen in a Model S, or the upcoming Audi E-tron GT?

      https://robbreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/etrongt02.jpg

      If you ask me, that’s a sharp-looking car regardless of how it’s powered.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        That Audi is sharp indeed, and the price of departing even a little bit from Prius shaped blob is a range of just 220 miles despite a 95 kWh battery.

        EVs that don’t cost 100,000 dollars look like ass.

    • 0 avatar
      chaparral

      We actually need to go much further in the Tesla direction. In order to get 400 miles of range from a 50 kWh battery, the driver’s feet will need to be in front of the front wheel centerline, the passengers and driver will need to have their shoulders and hips offset fore-aft to make the upper body narrower, and the car needs to taper a lot more towards the back.

      If we can cut drag by 40-50%, affordable EVs will arrive a lot sooner. It’ll also make it possible for faster charging to be provided once the batteries can take it – using existing chargers. If a 50 kWh battery can accept 200kW that’s a 10-minute 10-85% charge.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      Model 3’s, FWIW, actually have pretty good room and comfort for four passengers. The roofline looks swoopy, but Tesla did a good job with packaging and thinking through the glass roof so that–unlike the vast majority of non-CUV/SUVs on the market–there’s actually headroom. I’m 5’10”, and the 3’s back seat is a much better fit for me than, e.g., an Accord’s.

      I’m not an EV evangelist, but a friend has a Model 3, and I’ve spent enough time in it to realize much of the criticism directed at it is outright bullsh_t.* I’m not a fan of some of its “technology for technology’s sake” aspects (specifically the giant touchscreen, the gee-whiz door handles, and the HVAC controls), but I suppose those are there in the spirit of giving their core customers what they want (even if I think it’s the wrong thing). But on the whole, it’s a well-executed vehicle.

      – – –

      *For example, an uncredited CAR AND DRIVER reviewer, secure in the knowledge that most of its readers haven’t sat in a Model 3 and that many of them are predisposed to disliking it, says, “[T]he rear seats are cramped and uncomfortable.” Sorry, either the writer was too lazy to actually give the back seats a try (definitely a time-honored tradition for auto scribes) or he or she just decided to lie (also a time-honored tradition for auto scribes). Sorry, I’ve actually tried it, C&D.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Stellantis is not just Chrysler. Fiat has just introduced a new EV 500 with 200 miles of range (European measure, downhill with a following wind and where Teslas never need a recharge), and between them Peugeot and Citroen have two current EVs, with four more on the way between them in the next two years to match the VW ID3 and ID4. Last time I checked, Ford has just one, the Mustang Mach-E, 4900 lbs of road-hugging weight yet dainty as a Miata on a road course.

    It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that Chrysler could phone up or send a text after a Google translate to those crazy foreigners in the Stellantis company over there in commie barking-mad-dog socialist Europe and ask for a spot of EV help.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    New malaise era, what nonsense. Even the most sedate Tesla blows the doors off 99% of the ICE vehicles out there. The Honda Accord Hybrid yields 40-50 MPG, hits 0-60 in about 6.5 seconds, has room for 5, and a big trunk. It also sells for less than the average new vehicle price.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    Back in the day before FCA they had Wrangler hybrid mules that would go 400 miles on 8 gallons of gas. Gas went cheap again and those got put on the back burner but they have engineers that understand how that works. It will be interesting to see how the new Wrangler hybrid does.

    The problem for Stellantis is they make more money with the V8 cars than they spend in carbon credits. Whether they are using that money for further EV development or not remains to be seen.

    There is a new inline 6 coming which should have better upgrades than the Pentastar which has issues with forced induction.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    At a Stellantis headquarters somewhere in Europe: corporate Bigwig; “we have Jeep and that’s a cash cow!:’ bigwig’s minion, “sir, what about Dodge?”; corporate bigwig “We have Jeep!”.

  • avatar
    wolfwagen

    Does anyone else want to have that Aspen at the top of the post or is it just me?

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Ok, so can we please, for the love of all that’s Holy, stop pretending that SUVs are performance cars which need 45 series tires, 21″ rims, and black trim and go back to the luxury decor packages of the ’70s now? Finally? More appropriate and probably greater sales.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    I’m thinking the Malaise is not what we have available currently for performance but more in what we are inevitably losing with the endless government mandates and interference. V6 and V8 engines, sound, feel, stick shift transmissions, pony cars and coupes will all be casualties and even the normal sedan is at risk. And lets face it if cars like the Camaro, Charger, Challenger, 300 and Mustang GT are all killed off and turned into electric blobby SUV’s we will have lost that type of styling as well.

    It will also be interesting to see what these much ballyhooed electric cars for the everyday buyer will look like price wise. Considering one car still walk into a car dealer and buy a new Elantra for between 16995-17995 or a Fusion for under 20K or a new Sentra for well under 20K with many other lower cost examples I won’t get into. I’m having serious doubts an electric car of similar size is going to sell new for anywhere near that price even 10 years down the road. So add that to the list. Time will tell

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