Dodge’s Electric Charger Daytona SRT Concept Is the Future of American Muscle Cars
Retro looks, 800-volt architecture, and a loud ‘exhaust’: This is how Dodge plans to do electric vehicles.
At long last, the Dodge Charger and Challenger as we know them are stepping down to make the way for electric vehicles, and we've finally got our first look at what'll replace them. It's called the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept, and it's as much a throwback to Dodges of yore as it is a radical approach to EVs. That's not something I say lightly, either, as Dodge insists this EV is a true muscle car, one loaded with pioneering design features that might make it appeal to EV and V8 hardliners alike.
Let's start with the drivetrain and what Dodge considers a replacement for displacement. The Charger EV concept is powered by a new, 800-volt "Banshee" drivetrain with standard all-wheel drive, an "eRupt" multi-speed transmission, and a push-to-pass PowerShot boost. Gosh, a Charger with a button for extra power, wonder where they got that idea from.
Dodge says its performance outstrips that of the Hellcat, which indicates an output exceeding 717 horsepower. Before you point out that it does so without making any fun noises, Dodge has already thought of that. This EV does in fact make noise, and it'll bellow as loud as 126 decibels, or exactly as loud as a Hellcat. Here's a clip, judge for yourself whether it's a worthy replacement for eight screaming cylinders of freedom:
Comparisons to old-school Dodges are just as apt in the design department, too. This concept marks the first use of Dodge's retro "fratzog" badge since 1976, in a grille inspired by the 1968 Charger. Said grille has a brow that's literally a front wing (Dodge calls it the R-Wing) inspired by the Charger Daytona. It's apparently functional, though I'm going to come out and say that I wouldn't care either way: I'm just jazzed Dodge put a front wing on what's supposed to be a road car.
What's definitely functional are its six-piston brake calipers, mounted behind 21-inch wheels with center lugs and a turbine-inspired design. The jet motifs continue in the interior, where there's a fighter jet-inspired starter button obscured by a flip-up cap and a pistol grip-style, trigger-equipped shifter. It's still got paddle shifters, too, and buttons to change drive modes between Auto, Sport, Track, and Drag. With a "carbon fiber 'tub' floor," the Charger EV should be more than up to any of those kinds of driving.
The concept's interior is further distinguished by features that favor utility and comfort more than its V8 predecessors. Its rear seats fold flat to make the most use of the rear hatch, and there's a panoramic sunroof. The biggest touchscreen in Dodge history (oof) at 12.3 inches is angled 10 degrees toward the driver, who also benefits from an 8-by-3-inch head-up display.
I'll save you the effort of typing a comment and say I'm not sure about the styling. It looks aerodynamic, sure, but it's probably too rounded and swoopy to appeal to buyers of the squared-off Challenger. This is still a concept, but you'd think they'd pull out all the stops for what's supposed to just be a show car. Unless, of course, this design is nearer to production than we realize, in which case, there's no telling how it'll go down with Mopar-or-no-car types. Maybe they'll put their money where their mouths are and hang up their keys—or maybe we'll see them embrace EVs after all, even if only begrudgingly.
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