It’s part of a general shift from Dodge, Stellantis’ US sports car division, to electric vehicles. The brand’s current gas-powered muscle cars, the Charger and Challenger, will cease production next year. The concept muscle car, called the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT, looks like a model that executives say will go on sale in 2024. It joins a new small SUV called the Hornet, which will be available as a plug-in hybrid and will hit the market later this year.
The Charger Daytona has exhaust pipes that make noise and a gearbox that shifts. All that is of course not necessary in an electric car, but Dodge assumes that its target customer is not looking for what is strictly necessary. These customers are looking for excitement, said Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis, which requires more than just quick acceleration.
“We think we’re going to launch a car that customers didn’t see coming,” he said. “But they’re definitely going to hear this one coming.”
The Charger Daytona makes low, loud booming tones that are a bit like high-voltage electrical equipment. The sounds are not produced by loudspeakers, like the sounds of most electric cars, but by pulses of air forced through pipes with baffles and chambers in them.
The air pulses vary in speed and power depending on how fast the car is going and how hard the accelerator is pressed, much like the air pulses created by an internal combustion engine. The sounds it produces can be as high as 126 decibels, according to Dodge. That’s about the level at which the ears begin to hurt and well above the level at which prolonged exposure can cause hearing loss, according to the National Hearing Conservation Association.
Unlike most electric cars, the Charger Daytona has a transmission with more than one or two speeds. Most electric cars only have a one-speed transmission because, unlike gasoline engines, electric motors deliver their full pulling power at even very low speeds and continue to deliver that power at very high rotational speeds. Gas engines, on the other hand, have a relatively narrow range of operating speeds that allow them to deliver full power, so it’s necessary to have a multi-speed transmission to keep the engine within that “power band” as the car slows and speeds up.
But Dodge’s designers and engineers felt that electric car drivers might miss the sounds and sensations of shifting a transmission, so while it’s not really necessary, the Charger Daytona has a multi-speed transmission. Kuniskis won’t say how many gears the transmission has. The gas-powered 717 horsepower Dodge Challenger Hellcat has an eight-speed gearbox. Classic Dodge Charger muscle cars, like the one the EV is modeled on, had three- or four-speed transmissions.
Dodge has not yet announced how much power the four-wheel drive car’s electric motors will produce, though the company promised it will be faster than the Dodge Challenger Hellcat “in all key performance metrics.” The supercharged Hellcat, a gasoline-powered rear-wheel drive car, can go from a standstill to 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds, according to Car and Driver.
With its narrow rectangular nose and dark color, the Charger Daytona EV resembles a late 1968 Charger. In its dark paint color it looks a bit like the Dodge Charger that was used in a famous chase scene in the movie “Bullitt”, the one that chases Steve McQueen’s Ford Mustang and gets chased.
The front of the Charger Daytona EV hides a wing that runs just above the ‘grille’. The wing allows air to pass underneath, improving the car’s aerodynamic efficiency. Side vents at the front and rear of the vehicle also help improve the aerodynamics of the generally square body.
Dodge has not said how much the production version of the car will cost when it goes on sale.
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