Did You Know Dodge Once Had an Electric Car?
A little while back, we talked about Dodge and why the brand may never go autonomous. A self-driving Dodge Charger? Where’s the fun in that? It’ll never happen, people drive Dodge vehicles because they like to feel and control the power behind the steering wheel. What about alternative fuel? Ages ago, it was a lot more difficult to build hybrid and electric vehicles in a practical way, but today, everything’s different. So will Dodge join the brigade?
Surprise! Dodge already did, in a pseudo-rebadged sort of way. Do any readers remember the Dodge Omni? Along with the Plymouth Horizon, the two vehicles were rebadged versions of the European Chrysler Horizon, and they didn’t last long. Produced from 1977 to 1990, the Dodge Omni was a front-wheel drive hatchback that was forgotten quickly as we approached the 21st century. Around that time, the Dodge Shadow was introduced and possibly gave rise to the design of the Dodge Charger we know so well.
Back when the Omni was still rolling off the factory line, an electric vehicle company known as Jet Industries took a look at the Dodge Omni 024 coupe and thought, “What if we replace the engine with an electric motor?” They went ahead and did just that. Jet Industries used the Dodge Omni as the foundation of its 23-horsepower eco-cruiser, an all-electric vehicle. In all honesty, the Dodge Omni had a pretty nice design for the time, even if it was a bit of an oddball in the ‘80s. Something about it just says “slick”, and that style could have been the reason for choosing the Omni as the precursor to what could have been.
However, these were the days before the Nissan Leaf and long before Tesla was around. In the ‘70s, Mitsubishi had started researching electric vehicles, but they were still overseas. So the Dodge Omni, called the “Electrica 007” once integrated with an electric motor, was one-of-a-kind, and at the time, not very practical. For one thing, it was expensive to make, and car manufacturers aren’t quick to bleed money on a bet that electric cars will revolutionize the auto industry, at least not several decades ago. The Electrica 007 also cost $10,000 more to buy then the gasoline-powered Omni. Can you imagine how much someone could buy with $10,000 back then? It was a lot.
An acquaintance of a Jalopnik writer snagged a picture of a run-down Electrica 007 on the streets of Baltimore city, and that was the inspiration for taking another look at the once Dodge electric vehicle. Now that hybrid and electric cars are becoming less expensive to make, and now that the auto market is shifting towards alternative fuel due to rising emission standards, maybe Dodge should take another look at their lineup and take a crack at what Jet Industries sought out to do. Revolutionize the world with an all-electric muscle car, or at least a high performance hybrid.
What do you think? Does a hybrid or electric Dodge Charger sound like a good idea? Or would it spoil the fun? Tell us your thoughts on the Aventura CJDR Facebook page.