The soundtrack of the future of Dodge is powered by Country Joe and the Fish. Electric Music for the Mind and Body may have come out in 1967, but it’s apropos for today since Dodge will be headed for electrification for 2024. After the recent announcement of Dodge’s 2023 plans, we have this Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept giving us a taste what the future holds for Mopar mavens and beyond.
First, a peek into the past: People were moaning and groaning when the 4-door Charger hit the streets for 2006. “A Charger should be a 2-door!” they clamored, and then Dodge introduced the Challenger in 2008 to satisfy those folks. But a segment still wasn’t satisfied because Chargers weren’t supposed to be 4-doors. What’s in a name if it’s a cool car? And America agreed, as Charger sales have always been strong despite the two extra ports.
So now that the end is near, what does Dodge have planned for 2024? With the reveal of the Charger Daytona SRT Concept, we now have a better idea. It even has two doors! That sounds great for the purists … except the purist don’t want no stinkin’ electric car.
Speaking of sound, the Charger Daytona SRT is the best-sounding EV in existence courtesy of the Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust. This is an “industry-first exhaust system for an electric vehicle [that] delivers a performance sound that rivals the SRT Hellcat.” The name is derived from the Fratzog, the delta-shaped logo Dodge used in the 1960-70s, so it’s not like some new hep electro-lingo that makes you feel old and obsolete. Chances are it may be difficult to grasp what this new-fangled Frantzonic may be like since EVs make little noise, but Dodge should be commended for trying to make the transition to electric automobiles easier for us enthusiasts who aren’t early (or late?) adopters.
Aside of the two doors, the Concept looks like an updated late-model Charger with more retro-future styling cues and a hatchback (though not readily apparent). Dodge claims that the Charger Daytona SRT Concept “drives like a Dodge, looks like a Dodge and feels like Dodge – and just happens to be a battery-electric vehicle (BEV).” As a representative of those who have gasoline in his/her veins, I will admit it’s difficult to keep up with this stuff because, before this, I only knew about EVs. Now they’re called BEVs? Wouldn’t it be easier to just call it EV+?
Another unique feature of the Charger Daytona SRT Concept is the R-Wing, a “front aerodynamic wing [that] retains Dodge profile while achieving aerodynamic efficiencies … a unique aerodynamic pass-through design feature that connects the concept with its iconic Dodge Daytona namesake.” In a world where people are being forced to confront the future as we don’t know it, Dodge is not making it easy to understand anything (like every manufacturer), but apparently R-Wing is a patent-pending feature that allows air to flow through the front opening (which, of course, bears more of a passing resemblance to a 1968 Charger) to enhance downforce. There are even carbon-fiber intakes to provide an “air curtain to assist in aerodynamic performance.” Huh?
A third feature — and one that may be of interest to those digging their heels with this electrified world order — is eRupt, a “multi-speed transmission with an electro-mechanical shifting experience.” This means the Charger Daytona SRT Concept will drive as if it has a proper transmission, including “distinctive shift points [that] throw shoulders into seatbacks.” There is also a PowerShot “push-to-pass” feature that, with a push of a button, allows the driver to achieve hyperspace on pavement. Not quite the stick shift that some may have been hoping for — BEVs seem to be stuck with CVTs — but if we can send a man to the moon, maybe we can hope that the manuals truly can be saved?
The Charger Daytona SRT Concept also features a panoramic glass roof so you can see when the sky is falling when pulling up next to a Hellcat. The interior design is “driver-centric” (aren’t they all?) and includes a jet fighter-inspired console lid that hides the start button, plus a modern interpretation of the Hurst “Pistol Grip” shifter. “Cockpit immerses the driver’s sensory experience through performance sounds, lighting features and vehicle displays.” And there also are several driving modes to suit any American driving environment, from Auto, Sport, Track and Drag modes. While not a new feature for automobiles, Dodge says it “instantly changes the driving dynamics, display graphics, sound and interior lighting.”
In a nod to Dodge’s recent tradition of horsepower violence, the Charger Daytona SRT calls the 800V “propulsion system” Banshee. Dodge claims the Concept is faster than a Hellcat in all the performance metrics that count. All-wheel drive is part of the package and certainly is a boon to achieving those metrics.
The jury will be out until we see the Charger Daytona SRT Concept in the flesh, but it appears to be an electric car for the mind and body, bridging the gap between what was and what will be in ways that EVs … er, BEVs have yet to try.