Dodge shows off the future of muscle cars with all-electric Charger Daytona SRT

Muscle cars are renowned for their unrefined brawn. Traffic light drag race heroes with enormous V8s and no pretentions of being green. Dodge, however, is shaking things up with the launch of its Charger Daytona SRT concept – a high powered electric car with all the looks, performance and even noise of a muscle car, but none of the emissions.

Dodge reckons that the two-door Charger Daytona SRT concept offers a realistic impression of what the brand’s electric future will look – and sound – like. It looks like a Dodge and according to the company, feels like one too and – thanks to an all-new 800V ‘Banshee’ propulsion system – should go like one.

The brand, which falls under the Stellantis umbrella, is also making a lot of the fact that it will sound like a muscle car, so let’s address that elephant in the room first.

It’s fair to say that EVs don’t sound as compelling as some of the more provocative internal combustion engines, such as large-displacement V8s typically found in muscle cars. Our take on that is ‘so what’; EVs aren’t supposed to emulate ICE-powered cars and we’d go so far as to say that the high-pitched whine of a powerful electric motor is a good sound in its own right. However, playing to an audience of basic muscle car owners, Dodge has fitted the Charger Daytona SRT with an ‘industry-first’ BEV exhaust.

It uses a ‘Fratzonic chamber’ which pushes a synthesised sound through an amplifier to create what it calls a “Dark Matter” sound profile, akin to a rumbling V8, which is broadcast at up to 126dB. For reference, that’s louder than its 700+bhp Hellcat. Make of it what you will.

Back on the car’s better points, there’s no word yet on the new ‘Banshee’ powertrain’s power figures, but Dodge is promising that it will be “beyond Hellcat performance” and faster than the V8 car in key performance measures. This is in part as a celebration of the 1970 Charger Daytona’s record as being the first NASCAR to break the 200mph barrier on track. It uses all-wheel drive to put its power down and unlike most EVs, Dodge has developed an ‘eRupt’ electro-mechanical gearbox with distinctive shift points, as well as a ‘PowerShot’ push-to-pass system.

It’s certainly a distinctive and different way of going about a high-performance powertrain in an EV, and whilst it might seem a bit gimmicky, in more recent years that’s how muscle cars have defined themselves against rivals.

Looks wise, we reckon that the Charger Daytona SRT absolutely nails it. Up-front, Dodge is patenting an ‘R-wing’, another design element that pays homage to the original Charger Daytona and allows air to flow through the front opening to enhance downforce. Carbon fibre ducts in the side of both the front and rear wings further push the car into the ground at speed. The grille itself is illuminated and encompasses a 3D Fratzog badge, whilst the headlights are hidden under the R-wing. Dodge has even given the Charger a unique paint colour, pun-tastically named ‘Greys of Thunder’.

The Dodge is typically muscular; long and wide with pronounced wheel arches – though it stays away from some of the harsher angles which have appeared on more recent muscle cars, which is a good thing to our eyes. Painted-pocked 21 inch wheels with diamond-cut faces look the part, but are also aerodynamically efficient, whilst six-pot brakes handle the stopping power.

Inside, Dodge has gone for modern, lightweight and athletic. A 12.3 inch central screen is angled towards the driver and augmented by a 16 inch curved digital instrument display alongside an 8-by-3 inch head-up display. Throughout the cabin, a ‘waterline’ is created through ultraviolet coloured stitching and ‘Attitude Adjustment lighting’ – effectively a light bar with parametric patterns which extends around the cabin.

Another nice touch includes a jet-fighter-inspired flip switch for engaging the start button and a pistol grip gear shifter.

According to Tim Kuniskis, Dodge brand chief executive officer at Stellantis: “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 Daytona SRT Concept can do more than run the car show circuit; it can run a blazing quarter-mile. And when it comes to product cycles, it outruns Darwin. Charger Daytona does more than define where Dodge is headed, it will redefine American muscle in the process.”


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