Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept Teases Electric Muscle Cars To Come

If you've ever wondered what the future holds for the Dodge Charger, then you're about to receive a pretty big hint. Dodge has been promising to join Ford on the electric muscle bandwagon for a while now, and its new concept gives us our first solid glimpse at what that may mean. While the Charger with a charging port will introduce some significant changes, the company claims the core of the car will remain the same. Despite the fact a motor is taking the place of a traditional gas-powered engine, the company claims its Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept still "drives like a Dodge, looks like a Dodge, and feels like Dodge."

In a statement ahead of the vehicle's unveiling, Dodge's Tim Kuniskis claims, "The Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept exists because performance made us do it." Kuniskis went on to make some very bold claims about the concept vehicle's performance and impact, stating that the Charger Daytona SRT Concept "can do more than run the car show circuit," before going on to claim the car "will redefine American muscle."

Yesterday, Dodge gave us a glimpse of the Hornet, its upcoming entry-level electric performance vehicle. Kuniskis says the unveiling of the new electric concept is just the next step. "When we said it was going to be an electric summer for Dodge, we meant it," he says.

Furthering the brand's iconic legacy

The concept takes its name from one of the company's most iconic cars. Back in 1970, the original Dodge Daytona became the first vehicle to break 200 mph on a NASCAR track. While it has a massive pair of metaphorical boots to fill, there are high hopes that the Charger Daytona SRT Concept can do its name justice and further Dodge's muscle car legacy. That's no easy task, but boosting the concept's chances is the new propulsion system Dodge has chosen. The 800V Banshee propulsion system outperforms another iconic Challenger, the 600 horsepower HEMI Hellcat, across the board. According to Dodge, its electric Charger is on par with the 797 horsepower Redeye that currently holds the title of "fastest mass-produced sedan in the world."

There seems to be a tremendous sense of self-awareness about the concept. Despite the strides electric vehicles have made in acceptance, practicality, and performance, there is a notably large group of skeptics. The skepticism may be heavier in certain circles. If every car you grew up loving had a gas-guzzling V-12, trading that for a zero-emission eco-mobile could be incomprehensible. But it's obvious Dodge has designed its Charger Daytona SRT for exactly that kind of person. The looks of the car have been modernized very slightly while still retaining that classic muscle car silhouette. Things are kept plain for the most part, but certain additions like the lines on the front grille directly reference the series' icons like the 1968 model. Even the paint color, "Greys of Thunder," is a nod to the brand's NASCAR heritage — even though Tom Cruise drove a Chevvy in that movie. In addition, the Fratzog badge makes an appearance on a Dodge for the first time since 1976.

Subtle exterior with a minimalist but modern interior

Dodge has opted for a driver-focused interior with a variety of modern conveniences. At the center of it all is a 12.3-inch screen angled toward the driver. The 16-instrument cluster couples with this to wrap around the person behind the wheel and give the car's main seat a cockpit-type feel. The car's floor is coated in carbon fiber and features circuit-like graphics. A so-called waterline of blue and silver accent stitching extends around the car, while the mid bolster, console, door, and seats are ultraviolet colored. Despite modernity finding a place inside the Daytona's cabin, there are still strong references to the past present. 

The parametric texture of the 1968 Charger's grille makes an appearance on the concept's interior. It's a more subtle way of referencing the classic vehicle's appearance in the "Dukes of Hazzard" than simply dousing the interior in chewing tobacco and moonshine, and it fits very well. The minimalism of the car's exterior is paralleled in the doors and center console, with only the necessary elements included. The steering wheel is also interesting: the exterior ring and center aren't connected, which gives the vehicle a minimalist yet futuristic look. The aforementioned Fratzog logo makes another appearance on the Dodge's seats, which are of a slim "race-inspired" design, according to the automaker.

The car's panoramic glass roof heightens the experience for the people riding in the rear seats — unless you'd rather put the rear seats down and take advantage of the sedan's impressive storage capacity. The whole thing is encased in a new "highly-functional" hatchback design and rolling around on what Dodge says are "painted-pocket 21-inch wheels." The odd mix of past and future also carries on to the vehicle's unique features.

Three new systems give a glimpse into the future

Three patented new features help give the Daytona SRT an edge. The e-Rupt multi-speed transmission system offers an "electro-mechanical shifting experience that's pure Dodge," the automaker says. The new transmission has a PowerShot boost system similar to the one included in the hybrid versions of the upcoming Dodge Hornet. Press a button on the steering wheel and you'll get a bit of extra horsepower and some torque along with it — it's for those occasions when you need to power past something on a highway, or if you need to take off from a standing start fast enough to tear a small hole in the fabric of time and space.

There's a new aerodynamic pass-through feature named the "R-Wing" that gives the concept a performance edge while connecting it with its NASCAR record-breaking ancestor. Then, for muscle car enthusiasts who are upset the switch to electric may preserve someone in their vicinity's eardrums, there's the Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust. It's an industry first, and as loud as a Hellcat at 127 decibels, so even though you're being powered by a battery, people will still hear your muscle car coming. The system is a patented industry-first feature. Sound is produced electronically before being forced through an amplifier and "tuning chamber." It is then blasted out of the car's back end, recreating the muscle car audio experience without any of the emissions.

The Dodge Charger Daytona SRT is just a concept, so while you may be impressed by the noise both Dodge and its car are making, you won't actually be able to buy one. However, there's a good chance most — if not all — of its features will appear in Dodge's first commercially released EV, which is scheduled to arrive in 2024.