Dodge wants to make battery electric power cool. Can a 126-decibel exhaust and a ‘Banshee’ powertrain be enough to do the job?
Canadian singer Avril Lavigne once wrote a song titled ‘Here’s to Never Growing Up’. An ode to wanting to be young forever, it sold more than 2.25 million copies around the world when released in 2013.
Someone responsible for Dodge’s muscle car products seemingly heard the song, given the details of the newly announced all-electric Charger Daytona SRT Concept. The Dodge Challenger and Charger are built in Brampton, Ontario (the same province Lavigne grew up in), so it is more than likely someone there is a fan of the Canadian songstress.
Yes, in case you didn’t know, the two red-blooded All-American muscle car twins are produced in mild-mannered Canada. Can I make it any more obvious? [Stop it – Ed]
We digress, sorry. Based on this new concept, Dodge does not want to grow up in the electric age.
‘The Best Damn Thing’
As part of the Dodge Speed Week event in Michigan, the company announced its first all-electric eMuscle car concept. Dubbed the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept, it promises to muscle “aside the boring BEV paradigm and replaces it with an electrified vehicle unlike any on the road today”.
In short, Dodge has no plans to head-off quietly into an electrified future. So much so, in fact, that the Charger Daytona SRT Concept has a 126-decibel Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust fitted to it. This uses an amplifier and tuning chamber to generate a “Dark Matter” sound as loud as a V8 Hellcat-powered Charger.
So, any fears that Dodge might mature when it came to electrification can quickly be dismissed.
‘Rock n Roll’
Underpinning the Charger Daytona SRT Concept is an 800-volt electric architecture, which Dodge has named the Banshee. Subtle, it is not.
With all-wheel drive it is said to be capable of accelerating faster than a V8-powered Charger, whilst the use of the Daytona name hints at a 200mph top speed.
Naturally, Dodge’s press release does not concern itself with things like electric charging times or battery range. That stuff is for nerds, obviously.
It does have details of its eRupt transmission, though. Unlike a traditional electric car with its long, boring, endless acceleration, the Charger Daytona SRT Concept likes to take a pause. An electro-mechanical shifter creates actual interruptions in torque from the motor, “throwing shoulders into seatbacks in true Dodge style”.
Oh, and the paint colour is called “Greys of Thunder”. Yeah, we see what they did there.
“Why’d you have to go and make things so complicated?”
On the outside there is a special aerodynamic ‘R-Wing’ front end, said to be influenced by the original Dodge Charger Daytona. Whilst the inside boasts endless screens, illuminated badges, and a giant panoramic sunroof.
Compared to the relative simplicity of a current V8-powered muscle car, yes this does all sound rather complex. But, this is Dodge admitting it has to modernise to a degree, and that it cannot escape the lure of electrification forever.
As mass-market products, the Charger and Challenger will never be able to survive on pure petrol power alone.
This week has already seen Dodge release its first SRT-badged plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, with the new Hornet crossover SUV, pictured above.
“What more can I say?”
Whether we want it to or not, electric power is inevitable, even for the muscle car. At least, in Dodge’s case, going battery does not mean having to become boring.
Electric vehicles like the Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model S have already demonstrated that battery power can offer huge performance. However, the key challenge is going to be making that sensation of instant torque exciting.
With a larger than life approach, Dodge is intent on making a major effort to produce an EV with engagement. ESM has its fingers crossed that Mopar can deliver.