Analysis: American carmakers muscle up on software, tech to keep horsepower wars going

Shirley Beal

March 6 (Reuters) – American carmakers will lean on technological innovation to keep the horsepower wars likely among their electric muscle mass automobiles, a tectonic change from the major, rumbling motors of the previous.

Muscle cars and trucks – lengthy dominated by designs such as Ford Motor Co’s (F.N) Mustang, the Stellantis-owned Dodge Charger and Basic Motors Co’s (GM.N) Chevrolet Camaro – have played a critical function in American tradition with films or Television set reveals like “Bullitt” and “The Dukes of Hazzard”, though also serving as a manufacturer halo that drove other gross sales.

That is modifying, nevertheless, with the introduction of autos run by electrical powertrains and loaded with laptop chips, industry executives and analysts mentioned.

“It might be the starting of the stop of the V8-powered, gasoline-engine muscle motor vehicle,” claimed car or truck auction internet site owner Doug DeMuro, including that the differentiation of electric powered muscle autos from common household cars will occur down to “bizarre tools or extras that other autos never have.”

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Muscle cars and trucks refer to American two-doorway effectiveness-oriented automobiles, driven by in the vicinity of-400 horsepower V8 motors sending electricity to their rear wheels, supporting them dish out sub-5 second zero-to-60 miles-for every-hour acceleration occasions.

Starting off in the 1960s, American carmakers looking to capitalize on demand from customers spurred by the novelty component and model loyalty, applied massive-capacity motors to just one-up rivals of the time and produce the most electric power – a craze that continued till the mid-2000s.

Nevertheless, desire experienced started to taper off in the 1970s because of rising fuel price ranges and was hit challenging by report fuel selling prices throughout the Gulf War, supplying way to more compact, extra gasoline-economical Japanese rivals these kinds of as Honda Motor Co’s (7267.T) Civic and Toyota Motor Corp’s (7203.T) Corolla.


Muscle mass car revenue have ongoing to deteriorate more than the a long time as buyers switched to trucks and SUVs, and now the EV era’s emphasis on better effectiveness and decreased emissions has elevated the hazard for muscle vehicles even even further as the electrical systems supply wonderful acceleration instances.

“Nearly all the EVs do tackle the exact, they’re extremely rigid, and they are hefty mainly because you are unable to escape the simple fact that the batteries are quite heavy weights,” reported racing driver Ben Collins, previously the Stig from British motoring Television clearly show “Top Gear”.

With most auto providers phasing out their gas-driven vehicles in favor of electric variants, automakers that had previously differentiated their muscle mass vehicles with large engines will now depend on software program updates and quirks to outline their muscle mass cars.

GM and Dodge have each issued timelines to quit offering gasoline-powered muscle cars and change them with electric variants that will use the similar badges. Dodge’s Charger and Challenger muscle mass cars will not be produced subsequent yr, even though Chevrolet has laid out designs for an electric powered Corvette.

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Reuters Graphics

This change to electric powered powertrains with software package and technologies will depart electric muscle automobiles fending off opposition from other high-effectiveness EVs created by Tesla Inc (TSLA.O), Lucid Group (LCID.O) and Rivian Automotive Inc (RIVN.O).

Models these kinds of as Polestar and Mercedes-Benz (MBGn.DE) have announced optional power upgrades to their sedans that strengthen acceleration and full horsepower through paid OTA (more than-the-air) application updates.

Dodge has said it will transition its muscle vehicles to an electric powered platform, and is working to differentiate these styles.

The brand’s chief, Tim Kuniskis, told Reuters in an interview that Dodge will promote physical radio-frequency keys to motorists who want to update their car, a move to differentiate from companies that make each day vehicles and roll out above-the-air (OTA) updates to boost capabilities and give their cars and trucks more ability.

“We are not heading to provide you above the air update for you know, heated seats. We’re going to promote you direct relationship updates for functionality and suspension and points like that, the place you essentially physically have to alter the automobile,” Kuniskis added.

Dodge released a concept Charger Daytona EV last August with options to mimic the experience of driving a gas-powered car or truck that appeals to enthusiasts, like an “exhaust” be aware, and the means to shift gears, contrary to most EVs.

GM said that it was utilizing software to preserve its general performance motor vehicles interactive.

Ford, which sells an electric powered SUV that wears the exact badge as the Mustang, mentioned its Ford Power-Up over-the-air software updates create an “upgradable ownership encounter” about time.

At their essence, the velocity and general performance of electric cars are features of battery sizing and electrical power ranking of the motor together with components these as aerodynamics and weight actively playing a purpose, and field officials reported buyers have to have not dread a upcoming without gas-run engines.

“In a large amount of means, electric powered cars are addressed like the boogeyman to fanatics, as if they’re coming to consider away your inside combustion engines,” explained YouTube car reviewer Nick Roman from Common Automobile Critiques.

“Electric motor vehicles are only the hottest evolution in the vehicle industry. It truly is a adjust. And although transform is unpleasant, it ought to problem you much too.”

Reporting by Nathan Gomes and Akash Sriram in Bengaluru, Modifying by Ben Klayman and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

Our Expectations: The Thomson Reuters Have faith in Rules.

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