This will give showgoers an idea of what to expect when it comes to tuning future EVs.
It's always fascinating reflecting on the different ways that various automakers approach the same sort of issues. For example, Dodge recently revealed an all-electric muscle car concept called the Charger Daytona SRT Concept, informing the public that the HEMI V8 is all but dead. On the other side of Detroit, you have Ford and its new combustion-powered Mustang, with the Blue Oval promising to keep its V8 alive as long as possible. And while the new Ford Mustang will be nearly impossible for aftermarket tuners to upgrade, Dodge has said that its future muscle cars will embrace the tuning culture.
In fact, since Dodge's final 'Last Call' special edition has been delayed, the automaker is going to bring its Charger Daytona SRT Concept to SEMA in a new form because half of the company's current buyers modify their cars.
The news comes via Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis, who was a recent guest on the Autoline After Hours podcast. As the title of the podcast reveals, Kuniskis "defends Dodge going electric." In the interview, he explained that the concept was revealed so far ahead of launch to give staunch V8 fans "some soak time" to get to grips with an electric future. It seems that the concept we were first shown will evolve, starting with a new version of the car to be shown at SEMA next month.
"We're going to show a different version of this car at SEMA because we know it's absolutely critical to our buyers," said Kuniskis. "50% of them modify their cars today." So, what sort of tuning can we look forward to? Obviously, you can't upgrade the same mechanical components that you can on a regular Dodge Charger with a combustion engine.
Kuniskis mentioned how today's Dodge lineup consists of everything from a Pentastar V6 to a Hellcat Redeye's supercharged V8, and the EV variant will be similar: "We'll have nine different power levels, three directly from us, and another two on each of those, and the extra six will be from Direct Connection."
The CEO was referring to kilowatt levels and sound, noting that customers would buy their chosen trim at the dealer, the most powerful of which will be the 800-volt Banshee powertrain showcased in the concept. When the buyer is bored with their current power level, they will get in contact with Direct Connection for an expansion pack of sorts that will add two more power levels to one of the three base levels. What's more, each of the nine power levels will sound different through the Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust.
Kuniskis added that Direct Connection will "unlock the features [drivers] want [...] like Slam mode, Drift mode, Drag mode, and even a Donut mode." This suggests that, unless you buy the most expensive variant, you won't be able to access all of the car's features, but it also means that you can add more features to your base model car as you can afford them. Features on Demand (FoD) are here to stay.
Kuniskis also touched on the two-speed gearbox, saying, "We have some other things coming along in the lifecycle that will take advantage of [the two-speed transmission] and will make [the car] faster."
As for how much of this we'll see at SEMA (November 1-4 in Las Vegas), the Dodge CEO only had this to say: "We are going to show you a different flavor of this car [...] and we're also going to talk about how and why we launched Direct Connection well in advance on ICE so that we could transition to electrification."
We can't wait to see what's in store.