No, seriously. It even has a real exhaust system as loud as the Hellcat.
You may not like the idea of an electric muscle car, but we urge you to keep an open mind because the new Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept is concrete proof that electrification does not have to mean stupefaction. CarBuzz was present for the media briefing where the new car was revealed, and Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis explained that his brand was adamant about making its first EV muscle car brilliant.
What's more, when quizzed about how close it is to production, Kuniskis said, "this is absolutely NOT a science project," and it "will redefine American muscle." If you're wondering why you should care about yet another new EV concept, there are your answers.
Now for the details of the first-ever electric muscle car.
"It's gotta look like a Dodge, look like a muscle car," said the CEO. "But BEVs can't be, right? They've gotta be slippery, they've gotta be as aerodynamic as a melted jelly bean so that you don't have to put a battery in the thing the size of a house, right? So what do we do? Luckily, we solved this equation 50 years ago [...] Remember the Daytona? Had the nose cone? We built the nose cone right into it and then covered it up with the R-Wing."
The R-Wing was the creation of rocket scientist Gary Romberg who designed the first Daytona for NASCAR and got it banned. For reference, this is a very similar principle to the S-Duct that Ferrari applied to the front of its 488 Pista for greater front-end downforce, providing a pass-through behind what appears to be the front bumper, guiding air up and over the car.
At the front, you can also find a cross-car illuminated lighting feature in the front grille. In the middle of this sits the white illuminated Fratzog symbol first teased by the brand last year. At the time, we thought the new electric muscle car might be based on the Challenger, but now we can see the retro cues that reference the Charger's iconic designs of bygone generations, particularly the models released in the 1970s. This Fratzog badge was originally seen on Dodge muscle cars produced from 1962-1976 but without any meaning or context. Now, the logo will represent the electrified future of the brand while simultaneously signifying its commitment to its performance heritage.
The grille is also embellished with vertical accents, calling to mind the iconic 1968 Dodge Charger, while the minimalist headlights hidden under the R-Wing help reinforce the aerodynamic look. At the back, another full-width lighting setup gets a 3D illuminated Fratzog badge once again, while flush door handles further bolster the concept's efficient, future-thinking design.
The concept you see here is finished in a color with a typically playful name: Greys of Thunder. For our younger readers, this is clearly a play on words that references Tom Cruise's 1990 stock car racing film, Days of Thunder. Details like these prove that Dodge continues to be an enthusiast brand with its finger on the pulse of pop culture, understanding what is cool and what's not.
Now for a bit of foreshadowing. On the front fenders, new Banshee badges appear, and they signify something special.
But before we get to that, let's continue with the design elements. Painted-pocket 21-inch wheels with red Fratzog logos on the center locks and a diamond-cut finish for the faces feature a turbine-like design as a nod to aerodynamic efficiency with grey six-piston brakes slowing your progress. Carbon fiber intakes are tucked into the lower fascias of each end of the car, providing air curtains that assist with more aerodynamic performance.
As for what powers the Charger Daytona SRT Concept, the newest addition to the Brotherhood of Muscle joins iconic names like HEMI, Hellcat, and Redeye, and it's called Banshee.
Dodge has not revealed the exact horsepower figures to expect from this system and has said that it does not want to be tied down to numbers yet. But don't be disappointed. The 800-volt Banshee propulsion system is the "new pinnacle of performance" and makes Dodge's first EV "faster than a Hellcat in all key performance measures." No other Charger will come close because standard all-wheel-drive helps the electric muscle car "push beyond Hellcat performance." With Dodge introducing electrification to a doggedly V8-obsessed fanbase, it has to cover all the, er, bases. Thus, multiple performance levels will be on offer.
Banshee is the range-topping configuration, but lesser models will run on 400V architecture. To begin with, three power levels will be available, but a total of nine will eventually be offered, with the extra six to come via Direct Connection.
All nine variants will also have PowerShot, a real exhaust system, and a real transmission.
Dodge is premiering its eRupt multi-speed transmission with electro-mechanical shifting that promises distinctive shift points, "throwing shoulders into seatbacks in true Dodge style." Part of how it achieves this is with the abovementioned PowerShot push-to-pass feature, accessible via a button on the steering wheel. Like a Formula 1 car's Kinetic Energy Recovery System, pressing this button "delivers an adrenaline jolt of increased horsepower for a quick burst of acceleration."
Then we have an industry first in the form of the Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust. "While most BEVs embrace their virtually silent electric motors, that just wouldn't do for Dodge," announces the press release. Dodge is serious about making electric muscle feel special, and the way it's doing that is by developing a new patent-pending exhaust system for EVs that rivals are sure to emulate in time. This is not just a speaker system playing Hellcat noises, though...
This wildly named new technology takes the natural sound of electric motors and pushes it through an amplifier and tuning chamber at the rear of the vehicle. The best part is that it's as loud as the combustion-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat at 126 decibels. What's more, it genuinely sounds GOOD - just listen to the sound at around the 10-minute mark in the video above. This is how to engineer fun. This is how to make an EV exciting. This is how to win over V8 fanatics.
Other highlights include a one-button selection feature you can access from the wheel. This lets you switch between Auto, Sport, Track, and Drag drive modes, "instantly changing the driving dynamics, instrument cluster information, HUD content, performance sound and interior lighting features of the vehicle."
The Ambient Attitude Adjustment Lighting system in the cabin is worth expanding on slightly here, as it illuminates the parametric texture design in the cabin from below, which is a new take on the feature that plays with depth and dimension for an immersive experience.
The largest center screen ever featured in a Dodge vehicle takes its place in the dash, angled almost 10 degrees towards the driver. This 12.3-inch display is complemented by a curved 16-inch driver cluster, while an 8x3-inch head-up display helps keep your eyes where they should be.
The slim instrument panel and mid-bolster present in Ultraviolet with Blue Plasma and Silver accent stitching, creating a "waterline" across the cabin, just as a similar line helps divide the exterior. This stepped panel "creates a sculptural surface floating above the cluster," while its parametric pattern is based on that applied to the '68 Charger-inspired front grille. This pattern continues to various areas of the cabin, as does the Ultraviolet hue with blue and silver stitching.
The carbon fiber floor shows off circuit-like graphics that flow throughout the cockpit and come back to the driver in a design that imitates a circuit board. More carbon can be found on the door sills, which feature illuminated white Daytona lettering, which is also seen at the top right of the mid-bezel. A lightning bolt on the accelerator pedal is another cool touch, while ambient lighting gives a touch of glitz and glamor.
In a car like this, you expect to find sporty seating, and the Daytona SRT Concept does not disappoint. The lightweight, race-inspired seats have an insert with an abstract, perforated representation of the Fratzog logo, with the upper sections displaying openings for a racy look. Supportive bolsters ensure you aren't displaced from your perch by the electric performance.
A new flat-topped and flat-bottomed steering wheel features a center spoke that is not connected to the rim, giving it a floating ambiance. Paddle shifters are mounted on each side, with the PowerShot button on the right and the drive mode controls on the left. As on the doors, capacitive touch controls take a page out of Ferrari's book once again. We hope these ergonomic nightmares don't make production - just use buttons, please. An illuminated red SRT logo in the center of the steering wheel is complemented by a jet fighter-inspired cap for the start button and a pistol-grip shifter with a trigger handling simulated shifts.
In the rear, fold-flat seats make this hatchback (yes, a hatchback muscle car is a thing) the most capacious Dodge muscle car ever in terms of storage space, while the panoramic glass roof contributes to an airy feel.
This is not a science project. That's what Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis said, and it's clear that Dodge wants to make a splash.
The Dodge Challenger and Charger as we know them will officially die at the end of the 2023 model year, with this concept slated to enter production in 2024. More details will be revealed in time, like lower powertrain options and full power output, but as far as tasters go to whet our appetites, this is pretty damn good.
Dodge has flipped a middle finger at the perception of what an EV is. This is loud. This is brash. This has a transmission. It has an exhaust. This is nothing like any EV that's come before, and it shows us that the future isn't all doom and gloom.
Now, let's read the comments to see who thinks it's not good enough.