Dodge successfully executed its first step toward electrification with the swaggering Charger Daytona SRT concept. It creates excitement for the post-Hemi V8 world and assuages the Mopar base, which is often skeptical toward electric cars.
Look at it. The Daytona SRT is a Coke-bottle-shaped, two-door muscle car complete with the narrow grille with vertical accents. It’s the 1968 Charger reborn. Even with the sleeker lines and flashy wheels, it looks more like the idea of a Dodge Charger than the current sedan does, though we’d love to see some side scallops on the production version, like the ’68 has (below).
This is how you win over a customer base. Dodge is saying: Don’t fear EVs. The one we’re making will look more like the car you’ve wanted all along. Mythology never hurts in marketing. The jockular Dodge announcement touts the Fratzog badge (used from 1962-76 on Dodge muscle cars), 126-decibel exhaust (which dismissively pans EVs’ usual quiet demeanor) and electro-mechanical shifter (called eRupt) that effects a manual transmission experience. The 800-volt all-wheel-drive propulsion system is dubbed Banshee. It’s all very Dodge.
But what exactly does the Daytona SRT portend? This is where it gets murky. Dodge will replace the Charger and Challenger. The question is how. Making a Charger coupe like this concept sounds great to enthusiasts, but that would forfeit sedan sales, especially to police fleets and other livery businesses. Maybe that’s OK if Dodge wants to position the Charger upstream. More critically, a two-door Charger makes the Challenger coupe redundant.
Given that the Challenger is still a strong seller, Dodge doesn’t want to serve up volume to the Mustang, which is continuing for another generation in its traditional pony car form, or give the slow-selling Chevy Camaro any daylight.