For those lamenting the imminent 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 preview for the automaker’s first electric car, which is expected to go into production in 2024.
“The Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept exists because performance drove us to do it,” Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis said in a statement. “Dodge is all about muscle, attitude 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.”
The Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept exists because performance made us
Before we talk about the specs, we need to say something that sound. EVs are mostly silent by nature, 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 hit the throttle on an electric muscle car and this was the noise it made.
How would you describe that sound? Ornery lion just neutered? Tracheostomy bobcat with a voice box? The use of fake engine sound is sure to be divisive among muscle car enthusiasts. Some will love it, while others will no doubt find it leaves a lot to be desired. Dodge calls the “BEV exhaust note” (which is just a delightful oxymoron) a first. Whether it’s the right sound for this particular car is still up for debate.
How would you describe that sound? Ornery lion just neutered?
The look of the Charger Daytona SRT concept is likely to be less divisive, straddling the line between retro and futuristic while maintaining a muscular, aerodynamic appearance. Dodge said the intention is to “push aside” (har har) other, duller-looking EV concepts in favor of something more in-your-face.
There are many design elements meant 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 electro-mechanical shifting experience the automaker calls “eRupt.”
(“Fratzonic” is a reference to a logo used by Dodge in the 1960s and 1970s called the “Fratzog”—a word coined by a designer. It features a split deltoid muscle made of three arrowhead shapes that form a three-pointed star.)
The new system pushes the sound through an amplifier and a tuning chamber at the rear of the vehicle. Kuniskis, speaking to CNBC, likened it to a wind chime with chambers and pipes.
“We said, ‘Okay, if it’s going to happen, let’s do it like Dodge,'” Kuniskis told reporters. “We don’t go there and do the same thing. Dodge will get lost if we try to do the same as everyone else.
“Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust”
But if you’re looking for more relevant specs like range, battery capacity or charging speed, you’ll have to wait. Dodge is not yet releasing performance stats for the concept car or the yet-to-be-named production muscle car.
The automaker did reveal that the concept sits on top of Dodge’s 800-volt Banshee propulsion system, which, if it makes it into the production version as expected, should allow the EV to charge at speeds of up to 350 kW at a DC fast charging station. In addition, the four-wheel drive will ensure that the Dodge Charger EV performs well in all conditions.
While EVs are often faster than most gas-powered vehicles thanks to “linear acceleration” that delivers amazing 0-60 mph times, they often lack the driving dynamics enjoyed by many performance car owners. Dodge says it is trying to close this gap by introducing new features, such as the eRupt electro-mechanical shifting. This feature “provides distinctive shift points, throwing the shoulders into the seatbacks in true Dodge style,” according to the company.
Like Tesla with its ridiculous mode, the Dodge Charger EV will include something called a “PowerShot push-to-pass feature.” At the push of a button on the steering wheel, the PowerShot delivers an “adrenaline boost of more horsepower for rapid acceleration,” the company says.
In addition to electric versions of Charger and Challenger vehicles, Stellantis, Dodge’s parent company, also plans to produce electric trucks, including a battery-powered Ram 1500 that would compete with the forthcoming Ford F-150 Lightning. Dodge’s sister companies, such as Jeep, Chrysler and PSA Groupe brands, also produce EVs.