For all the muscle car fans saddened by Dodge’s plans to discontinue the Charger and Challenger, take heart. During this week’s Dodge Speed Week event in Pontiac, Michigan, the company unveiled its Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept, an all-wheel drive electric vehicle that will blow the doors off any combustion engine Dodge has ever produced.
The press release accompanying the announcement avoids understatement. “The Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept throws aside the boring BEV paradigm and replaces it with an electrified vehicle unlike anything else on the road today. A new powertrain drives the Charger Daytona SRT Concept with performance that surpasses Dodge’s popular SRT Hellcat engine, accompanied by an industry-first BEV exhaust note. The concept “drives like a Dodge, looks like a Dodge and feels like a Dodge,” the company says.
The concept is a tribute to the company’s past. The Daytona name honors the Dodge Charger, the first car to hit 200 mph on a NASCAR race track in 1970. The styling is a faithful recreation of the current production car, reflecting the look of muscle cars from long ago, but subtly tweaked to improve aerodynamic efficiency.
The whole car carries that thick, iron fist forward in the velvet-glove look of today’s cars, but look closely and you’ll see a slot in the front that directs air up and over the hood—a slot Dodge calls an R-Wing. The square-cut roofline has been significantly smoothed to improve airflow. Inside electric cars shows that there are carbon fiber intakes affixed to either side of the front and rear lower fascias, which provide an airfoil to further reduce drag.
Fratzonic sound chamber and electro-mechanical shifter
A muscle car needs three things: a push engine, a shifter that looks like a Brooklyn Bridge girder, and an exhaust note that can wake the dead. The Charger Daytona SRT has all three. The 800-volt architecture and dual-motor all-wheel-drive powertrain — codenamed “Banshee” by Dodge — will get the car down the track faster than even the popular 700-horsepower Dodge Hellcat. The eRupt transmission with electromechanical shifting provides lightning-fast shifting fun. And Dodge created a first in the new electric car era – the Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust.
Wondering where the word “fratzonic” comes from? It is derived from the Fratzog badge that graced Dodge muscle cars from 1962 to 1976. It has three arms with a circle in the middle, and some of you will think it would look perfectly at home in a Mazda RX-7 with its unique trochoidal rotary engine. . The Fratzog badge is proudly displayed on the front of the concept and, of course, is illuminated when the car is in motion.
whom Bloomberg Hyperdrive explains that Dodge engineers took the V-8 engine’s firing order and used it to create a sound amplified by air pushed through a chambered exhaust system. The result is a V-8-like roar at low engine speeds and a shrill 126 dB at full throttle. Wake up, people! That’s the DODGE you hear whizzing past you in the expressway. Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis says the sound is what sets the Dodge apart from what he calls the “nothing burger” people drive. You can hear it in action near the end of the video below.
“The Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept exists because performance compelled us to,” says Kuniskis. “Dodge is all about muscle, attitude and performance, and the brand carries that chip on its shoulder and into the BEV segment with a concept loaded with patents, innovation and performance features that embody the electrified muscle of tomorrow. The Charger Daytona SRT Concept can do more than drive the car show circuit; can run a flaming quarter mile. And when it comes to crop rotation, it beats Darwin. The Charger Daytona does more than define where Dodge is headed, it will redefine American muscle in the process.
The car will have a Power Shot button on the steering wheel that provides quick acceleration. It also has Auto, Sport, Track and Tow modes that the driver can select to change the driving dynamics.
The Dodge Charger Daytona SRT pays homage to its heritage
Much of the popularity of the Dodge brand is tied to racing, specifically drag racing. Herman Young runs a drag racing YouTube channel called Demonology. (Demon is a label for Dodge’s most powerful cars.) He said Bloomberg This week in Michigan, “If they’re going to get into this electric game, they’ve got to be the king of electrics. They should come with force.”
Young isn’t opposed to the EV revolution — his wife drives a Tesla Model Y — but he waxes nostalgic when talking about how quiet EVs are and what that will mean for the muscle fraternity. “People equate speed with sound, and until we get used to making that adjustment, it’s going to take some of the excitement out of it. Voice is power in our time of growing up.
He is not wrong. The sound of the internal combustion engine is something visceral that speaks to us in a primal way. The screech of a V-10 Formula 1 engine revving close to 20,000 rpm at Indianapolis Motor Speedway will make your ears bleed and a smile as wide as the Pacific Ocean!
talking to Bloomberg In Michigan this week, S&P Global Mobility analyst Stephanie Brinley said of the Dodge Charger SRT Concept: “It opens up as many questions as it answers with all the sound and super-quick transmission. Most importantly, he says, ‘We’re still going to be a muscle car, we’re still going to give you that visceral response, we’re going to make sure it triggers the emotions that the current car does.’
Electric cars are different. Some people are afraid of anything that is different. Harley-Davidson owners ride Harley because it it sounds Like Harley, and that sound evokes an emotional response. No one asks how far a Harley can go or how far it can go on a full tank of gas. If you’re asking these questions, you’re missing the whole point.
No one wants to know how much range the Dodge Challenger Daytona SRT has or how fast it can charge with its 350 kW EV charger. Those questions don’t matter. Some might argue that making a Fratzonic Chamber Exhaust is about as useful as making a machine to throw replicas of horse dung in the back of a Model T.
The production car will appeal to people who would never consider a “no burger” electric car. After getting behind the wheel, owners of these cars will learn to charge at home and start each day with a full battery. They’ll learn about range and fast charging and regenerative braking and everything that makes driving an electric car fun.
Then they’ll tell their friends, coworkers, and people they meet at the drag strip about their cars, and the EV revolution will take another step forward. you may not covet one of these cars, but be thankful Dodge decided to make them. An entire generation of internal combustion vehicles is being phased out and replaced by fully electric vehicles. This should be cause for celebration.
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