For those lamenting the impending demise of Dodge’s gas-powered muscle cars, the automaker has a message: don’t fear the future, because it’s electric.
Dodge unveiled its first electric muscle car, the Charger Daytona SRT concept, at an event this week at its headquarters in Pontiac, Michigan. The two-door coupe is positioned as a teaser for the carmaker’s first EV, which is expected to enter production in 2024.
“The Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept exists because its performance led us to do it,” Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis said in a statement. “Dodge is about muscle, posture and performance, and the brand carries that chip on its shoulder and into the BEV segment through a concept brimming with patents, innovations and performance features that embody the electrified muscle of tomorrow.”
Before talking about the specs, let’s talk about: that sound. EVs are naturally quiet most of the time, thanks to the absence of an internal combustion engine. And so much of what defines a Dodge muscle car is related to the roar of the Hemi engine. So Dodge fans would be excused if they found it a little off-putting when they stepped on the gas pedal of an electric muscle car and this was the sound it made.
How would you describe that sound? Ornery lion just neutered? Tracheostomy bobcat with a larynx? The use of fake engine noise is sure to divide muscle car enthusiasts. Some will love it, while others will no doubt find that it leaves a lot to be desired. Dodge calls the “BEV exhaust note” (which is just a delightful oxymoron) a first of its kind. Whether it is the right sound for this particular car is still up for debate.
The look of the Charger Daytona SRT concept is likely to be less divisive, straddling the line between retro and futuristic, while retaining a muscular, aerodynamic stance. Dodge said the idea is to “put aside” (har har) other, duller-looking EV concepts in favor of something more in your face.
There are many design elements intended to hark back to Dodge’s legacy—the front in particular has a large opening for air to pass through, which the company calls an “R-Wing.”
The other two patent-pending features that Dodge wants to highlight have equally absurd-sounding names. The first is the “Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust,” which Dodge says can reach 126 decibels, “making it as loud as a Hellcat-powered Dodge.” And the second is a multi-speed transmission with an electromechanical shifting experience the automaker calls “eRupt.”
(“Fratzonic” is a reference to a Dodge logo used in the 1960s and 1970s, the “Fratzog”, a word coined by a designer. It has a split deltoid muscle made of three arrowheads forming a three-pointed star shape .)
The new system pushes the sound through an amplifier and a tuning chamber at the rear of the vehicle. kuni skis, in conversation with CNBCcompared it to a brass organ with chambers and pipes.
“We said, ‘Okay, if it’s going to happen, let’s do it like Dodge,'” Kuniskis told reporters. “We’re not going there to do the same. Dodge will be lost if we try to do the same as everyone else.”
But if you’re looking for more pertinent specs like range, battery capacity, or charging speed, you’ll have to wait. Dodge is not releasing performance stats for the concept car or the yet-to-be-named production muscle car.
The automaker did reveal that the concept sits atop Dodge’s 800-volt Banshee propulsion system, which, if it makes the production run as expected, should allow the EV to charge at speeds of up to 350 kW at a DC fast-charging station. . In addition, four-wheel drive ensures that the Dodge Charger EV performs well under all conditions.
While EVs are often faster than most gas-powered cars thanks to “linear acceleration” that produces amazing 0-60mph times, they often lack the driving dynamics that many performance car owners enjoy. Dodge says it is trying to close this gap by introducing new features, such as the eRupt electromechanical switching. This feature “delivers distinctive shift points, throwing the shoulders into the seatbacks in true Dodge style,” the company said.
Like Tesla with its Ludicrous mode, the Dodge Charger EV will include something called a “PowerShot push-to-pass feature.” By pressing a button on the handlebars, the PowerShot delivers an “adrenaline boost of more horsepower for a quick burst of acceleration,” the company says.
In addition to electric versions of Charger and Challenger vehicles, Dodge’s mother Stellantis also plans to produce electric trucks, including a battery-powered Ram 1500 that would compete with Ford’s upcoming F-150 Lightning. Dodge’s sister companies, such as Jeep, Chrysler and PSA Groupe brands, also manufacture electric vehicles.