You'd think that the Dodge Challenger R/T with its 376HP 5.7-liter V8 Hemi would be one of the least obvious candidates for an electric drivetrain. We mean, it's a damn muscle car - if you want economy, go fiddle around with a Prius or a 20 year old Honda Civic. Nonetheless, there is some logic behind this project that is featured on a type of advertising microsite for Popular Mechanics. See, the ECO + Challenger R/T uses a separate electric drivetrain for everyday driving and a modified V8 Hemi that's equipped with a nitrous system when the driver calls for performance.
"With inexpensive aerodynamic aids, a state-of-the-art electric drive system and some other helpful bits, we'll turn our potent Challenger into a parallel hybrid plug-in/solar/electric that burns no fuel at all in everyday driving," say the creators of the ECO + Challenger R/T. "We think this is a spectacular way to please both environmentalists and enthusiasts. Eco+Muscle. What's not to like?"
Before the addition of the electric drivetrain, the modified Challenger R/T ran the 0 to 60mph (96km/h) sprint in 3.95 seconds and the quarter-mile in 12.4 seconds at 114 mph. That's compared to the stock Challenger R/T's 5.5 seconds and 13.9 seconds at 103 mph respectively. Other upgrades include a sport suspension, Brembo brakes and 20-inch alloys wrapped in Michelin rubber.
The electric drivetrain consists of an 125HP and 176 lb-ft of torque electric motor, 28 batteries that replace the rear seat bench, a fuel cell system and a separate, aircraft-like hand throttle to control the electric motor. The Hemi V8 is controlled by the stock foot pedal.
The creators haven't disclosed acceleration numbers for the electric drivetrain, but they say it can provide a top speed of up to 100mph (160km/h) and a range of around 40miles (60km). In theory, the driver could use both drivetrains to accelerate but that of course would mean he'd have to handle both throttles.
The dual-powered Eco + Challenger R/T will be on display at the NASCAR Pocono 500 race in June, at the San Bernardino Route 66 Rendezvous in September and at the Las Vegas SEMA Show in November. According to the site, it will be auctioned off in Scottsdale next January.