There’s been more happening at Dodge in the past few days than the past few years. The Hornet - its take on the Alfa Tonale - is Dodge’s first all-new car in a decade; the Durango SRT Hellcat will return for one last hurrah in 2023; it was announced that Dodge dealerships would help third parties make Challenger convertibles; and a whole new suite of Dodge Direct Connection Performance Parts was launched, for those that want their last-of-the-line Hellcats (also announced earlier this week) to have a little more pep. And all of that was before this, a ‘perception-shattering concept that reimagines what a BEV can be’. It’s been some Dodge Speed Week, put it that way.
This is the Charger Daytona SRT Concept, a car that previews what Dodge’s muscle car future might look like without a combustion engine. And what a stunner it is - even without ‘Charger’ written on it anywhere you just know what this is, with the iconic light silhouette, narrow glasshouse and pumped-up haunches. The concept even gets something called an R-Wing (the scoop in the front end above the light bar) as a homage to the original Charger Daytona, keeping the blunt profile (Dodge’s words, not ours) while helping aerodynamics. Which will assist range, of course.
A historical badge has also been resurrected for this car, the ‘Fratzog’ logo seen on the wheels and at each end first seen in Dodge muscle cars from 1962-1976. According to its maker, this car ‘features inspired design that takes on the challenge of revolutionising the look of a BEV while offering subtle nods to the brand’s muscle car past’, one that ‘muscles aside the boring BEV paradigm and replaces it with an electrified vehicle unlike any on the road today’. You won’t find us disagreeing with any of that sentiment.
But making an EV look cool is considerably less than half the battle. Because a Charger like this must replace a car powered by an unforgettable V8, and that’s not an easy task. Undoubtedly aware of the challenge it faces, Dodge is using the Daytona to introduce new tech that aims to enliven the EV experience. The first is something called a Fratzonic chambered exhaust; not only does it have an appropriately silly name for a muscle car accessory, it’s also going to ensure an electric Charger is anything but silent. The amplifier and tuning chamber make a ‘one-of-a-kind’ performance sound that’s as loud as a Hellcat. No, seriously - Dodge says this is an EV that ‘voices a 126dB roar’. And we’d all be curious to hear that, right?
In addition, this Charger is fitted with something called an eRupt transmission that works with the exhaust to make the best noise possible. Described as a multi-speed transmission ‘with electro-mechanical shifting delivers distinctive shift points, throwing shoulders into seatbacks in true Dodge style’. Which, again, doesn’t sound entirely possible with an electric vehicle, but we’re nothing if not curious to experience the reality. Because there’s not an EV out there that wouldn’t benefit from the sort of theatre and entertainment this tech looks set to bring.
The Charger isn’t just gimmicks on top of an outdated platform, either. The Daytona is underpinned by a new ‘Banshee’ architecture, with a system voltage of 800 volts like a Porsche Taycan. That should mean a lighter, faster-charging electric car. This concept is also all-wheel drive, which ought to make for some incredible quarter miles time.
Perhaps just as important as all that is the effort Dodge has gone to in making this concept seem like a production-ready car. This is not some pie-in-the-sky idea to appease legislators - there is going to be a Charger that looks like this at some point soon. See inside for proof. It’s just like a Dodge interior, except it isn’t - because it’s good. The cabin isn’t full of daft concept car features that’ll never make production, instead previewing what the next generation of Dodge’s eMuscle cars might actually look like. Notable features include a steering wheel mode button for Auto, Sport, Track and Drag settings, wraparound lighting that will change with those modes and proper pistol-grip shifter like an old-school muscle car. How it will all feel in reality is a different matter, but the Daytona looks great for the moment.
Dodge CEO Time Kuniskis is bullish about the Daytona’s prospects, suggesting it’s capable of nothing less than redefining American muscle: “Dodge is about muscle, attitude and performance, and the brand carries that chip on its shoulder and into the BEV segment through a concept loaded with patents, innovations, and performance features that embody the electrified muscle of tomorrow.” The Charger’s future arguably never looked so bright.
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