Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept

Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept

Dodge unveiled what it’s calling “the future of electrified muscle.” The Charger Daytona SRT is an electric performance coupe meant to carry the torch passed by the outgoing Charger and Challenger. The Daytona SRT will have an 800-volt electrical architecture called Banshee. Powertrain specs aren’t available, but Dodge claims it will be faster than a Hellcat. Other features meant to enhance the muscle-car experience include a multi-speed transmission, a temporary horsepower boost button, and an “exhaust” system meant to make the Daytona SRT just as loud as a Hellcat. Dodge Charger Daytona SRT as a preview of its first all-electric muscle car, expected in 2024.

Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept

The two-door coupe is the first look at what the forthcoming vehicle, which will replace Dodge’s current gas-powered Challenger and Charger muscle cars, is expected to look like. The car also features several new technologies meant to make it feel and drive like a traditional muscle car.

It features a multispeed transmission and exhaust that give the car the feel and sound of a gas-powered muscle car.

“This car, we believe, will redefine American muscle,” Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis, who’s known for over-the-top vehicles such as the brand’s 700-plus horsepower Hellcat models, said during a media briefing.

The concept vehicle looks like a futuristic, yet retro, version of the current Dodge Challenger with a more aerodynamic, but muscular, design. Most notably, the front end features a large opening for air to pass through, which the company is calling a “R-Wing.”

The front wing as well as the vehicle’s “Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust” and “eRupt” multispeed transmission – names fitting for “Back to the Future” movies – are patent pending, according to the company.

The multispeed transmission and exhaust are especially unique, since electric vehicles drive in only one “gear” and are relatively silent aside from required safety noises.

Dodge Charger Daytona SRT

The heart of the Daytona SRT is its 800-volt electrical architecture christened Banshee. This is double the voltage of the 400-volt architecture used by many other EVs and allows for faster charging, better cooling for the electric motors, and lighter wiring. The Porsche Taycan, Audi e-tron GT, Hyundai Ioniq 5, and Kia EV6 also use 800-volt architectures.

Though Dodge hasn’t yet shared any performance or powertrain details for the concept, it claims that the Daytona SRT will be faster than its Hellcat V-8–powered cousins “in all key performance measures.” We assume this means both acceleration and top speed. For reference, the 2023 Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye with the Jailbreak package has a monstrous 807 horsepower, and the Redeye we tested raced to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. A push-to-pass button called PowerShot will provide a temporary power boost.S

Unlike its ICE-powered, rear-wheel-drive predecessor, the Daytona SRT is all-wheel drive, demonstrated in true Dodge fashion with a four-wheel burnout from a teaser video posted in July of last year. It will also get six-piston brakes, and regenerative braking will surely be incorporated as well.

‘Not a science project’

Automakers routinely use concept vehicles to gauge customer interest or show the future direction of a vehicle or brand. The vehicles are not meant to be sold to consumers.

However, Kuniskis says many of the Charger Daytona SRT’s technologies and design elements are expected to make it into a production vehicle.

“This is not a science project,” he said. “It looks like a Dodge, sounds like a Dodge and drives like a Dodge.”

Kuniskis said the 2024 production electric muscle car is expected to launch with three different performance levels but eventually expand to nine. The concept car features an 800-volt “Banshee” propulsion system.

Dodge declined to release expected performance metrics for the concept car or the yet-to-be-named production muscle car.

The forthcoming EV in 2024 will replace Dodge’s gas-powered Charger and Challenger muscle cars, which the automaker on Monday said would be discontinued at the end of 2023.

New tech

The car’s patent pending technologies are meant to retain the sound and driving characteristics of Dodge’s current gas-powered Charger and Challenger for any forthcoming all-electric muscle cars, according to Kuniskis.

While EVs can be fast with a “linear acceleration” that produces astonishing 0-60 mph times, they often lack the driving dynamics that many performance car owners enjoy. It’s a problem auto executives have privately been attempting to solve as the industry transitions to EVs.

“We said, ‘OK, if it’s going to happen, let’s do it like Dodge,’” Kuniskis said. “We’re not going to go there and do the same thing. Dodge is going to get lost if we try to do the same thing as everybody else.”

The exhaust system on the concept Charger, which Kuniskis said is as loud as a Hellcat engine, pushes sound through an amplifier and tuning chamber located at the rear of the vehicle. He compared it to a wind organ with chambers and pipes.

The eRupt technology, he said, is a multispeed transmission “with electro-mechanical shifting” that “delivers distinctive shift points” like today’s muscle and performance cars.

The innovations could help Dodge retain its performance characteristics as well as its buyers, who have bought millions of Challengers and Chargers over the years, according to Stephanie Brinley, principal analyst at S&P Global.

“It is exactly what you would expect a Dodge EV two-door to be,” she said. “It looks the part, it sounds the part and it’s pretty exciting.”

Heritage cues

Much of the concept vehicle was inspired by Stellantis-owned Dodge’s history, according to officials. The name itself — Charger Daytona SRT — is made up of nomenclatures Dodge has commonly used.

The “R-Wing” was inspired by the “nose cone” front end of the 1969-1970 Charger Daytona. And while today’s Charger is a four-door vehicle, the original generations beginning in the 1960s were two-door, like the concept.

The “Fratzonic” exhaust is a reference to a logo Dodge used from 1962 through 1976 called the “Fratzog,” — a word made up by a designer. It features a split deltoid made of three arrowhead shapes that form a three-pointed star.

Kuniskis said some of the design elements and technologies are expected to impact the electric range of the vehicles, but it’s not something Dodge is necessarily worried about.

“Don’t care; it’s badass … it’s a muscle car,” Kuniskis said.

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5 fast facts about the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT electric car concept

The gorgeous concept car with production intent honors Dodge’s past with unusual technology on an electric car, including an exhaust system, a multispeed transmission, and a three-door hatchback shape. It eschews the “jelly bean” shape Kuniskis says proliferates on the electric crossover space today, and instead opens the door to a new era of electric muscle cars.

Here are five things we learned in our time checking out the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept in person this week.

Stunning muscle car design

Automaker images don’t do it justice. Streaming it virtually and flicking through online images cannot come close to reproducing its gorgeous proportions and muscle car cues, with inspiration modernized from the 1968 Dodge Charger. The long sculpted hood skips heat extractors and vents for a nose that dips down into what Dodge calls an R-Wing design, with two open aero chambers that let air slide up the hood and over the raked windshield. Both the front and rear end are vertical, extending out at the top in classic 70s muscle car style. But how the rear resolves, with the sleek hatch glass tucking into the fat haunches is much more than modern.

“This is not a science project. Some concept cars are. This one is not,” Kuniskis explained in a press conference the week before the reveal. “Everybody else is going with a two-box design that’s higher because of the battery, you guys know where that direction is going. We’re trying to go in the exact opposite of this. This is the future design direction to replace those muscle cars.”

Hatchback functionality

It’s a two-door coupe. No, it’s a three-door hatchback. However Dodge decides to market the production car, it cannot and will not be a crossover SUV or utility vehicle of any kind. But that long low hatch leads to a lot of usable space, by our eyes. The 2+2 seating configuration appears much more usable than in current muscle cars, with plenty of leg room.

eRupt multi-speed transmission

This is a curiosity. With the exception of the Porsche Taycan’s 2-speed transmission, most electric vehicles have a single speed transmission because linear electric power doesn’t benefit from various gear ratios. Dodge doesn’t care.

“Everybody knows EVs are fast, even the boring ones are quick. The instantaneous torque is impossible to deny,” Kuniskis explained. “But the visceral experience of a muscle car is more than that. It’s more chainsaw than it is cordless drill.”

Dodge wouldn’t disclose the number of gears in the electromechanical system, or how it works other than pulling out torque for “250 milliseconds” then adding it back in. Even though Kuniskis admitted that it will make the car slower and heavier, there’s another element that’s more important.

“It’s going to make it heavier, and it’s adding cost, and it’s adding development,” Kuniskis said in an interview with The Car Connection. “But it’s also going to add way more fun to the car.”

He suggested the performance benefit will be much greater traction off the line. That’s the Dodgiest thing ever.

Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust system

Even more curious, and most polarizing, is the Daytona Charger Concept’s exhaust sound system. Instead of artificial noises amplified through the speaker system in the cabin, the chambered exhaust system inspired by church pipe organs, produces up to 126 db of sound from the rear of the car. Kuniskis said the sound is meant to mimic the cadence—not the tone or pitch—of the firing order of a Hemi V-8.

“The reason we call it a Banshee is if you think about the screaming, shrill of a banshee, it’s almost like a jet engine, but yet it’s not. It’s wicked but yet it’s not. But it’s a bad ass sound,” he said.

Production bound?

The low-slung three-door hatchback honors the Dodge Charger Daytona that was the first vehicle to break 200 mph on a NASCAR track in 1970, according to Dodge. Dodge didn’t release specs on the concept, other than the Banshee propulsion system will be built on an 800-volt architecture with nine power levels. Kuniskis suggested the Charger Daytona SRT Concept is production bound.

“If you patent it, it’s producible. By definition. Everything I’ve mentioned that we’re patenting is producible,” Kuniskis said. “The aero, patented. The exhaust system, patented. The eRupt system, patented.”

Conclusion

Despite an unmistakable emphasis on performance and muscle, the Daytona SRT aims to be somewhat practical, too. The interior mockups look sleek and modern, and a hatchback design with fold-flat rear seats should provide ample cargo space. Paddle shifters on either side of the squared-off steering wheel control the PowerShot feature and select one of the Daytona SRT’s multiple drive modes.

The Daytona SRT is an ambitious concept, but whether it can live up to all the missions it claims to fulfill remains to be seen. A production version of the car could come as early as 2024, and only then will we know whether an electric car can also be a muscle car.

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