The Dodge Charger Daytona EV heralds the era of electric muscle power

The all-electric 2024 Dodge Charger Daytona made its official debut today, featuring a 400-volt system and a 100.5 kWh battery capable of delivering up to 670 horsepower.

The electric muscle car, which will go on sale later this year for an undisclosed price, can gallop from 0 to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds and cover a quarter mile in just over 11 seconds. And gone will be the rumbling V8 engines of the past, replaced by twin electric motors and a bit of gimmickry, like external speakers that make a fake ‘vroom vroom’ sound. (Not literally, but we’ll get to that in a moment.)

It’s been nearly two years since Dodge offered the first glimpse of its electrified future in the form of its concept Charger Daytona SRT, and three years since Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis said the brand would halt production of its gas-powered Charger and Challenger muscle cars would be discontinued to make way for an electric lineup. With electric vehicle sales declining and some automakers pulling back on their investments in electrification, Dodge says it’s moving forward (yes, I said it) with its transformation.

The electric charger will be available in two versions: R/T and Scat Pack, both of which will be delivered later this year. There is a two-door coupe version of each, as well as a four-door sedan. And next year, Dodge will release an updated internal combustion Charger powered by a 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six Hurricane engine, as well as a Banshee performance version of the electric Charger Daytona.

In other words, the company is hedging its bets, as its customers would surely expect. Don’t want to say goodbye to the era of gas-guzzling street-legal dragsters? No problem! Dodge still has a muscle car for you.

When designing the first electric charger, Kuniskis said the company prioritized power over long distance. “It’s not designed to give you a range of 500 miles,” Kuniskis said in a briefing with reporters. “This is designed to be the ultimate performance muscle car – until we hit the market with the Banshee, of course.”

What kind of power are we talking about? The R/T produces 456 hp (496 with a Power Shot), 404 Nm of torque and a sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds. For comparison: the Scat Pack produces 630 hp (670 with the Power Shot), 627 Nm of torque and sprints to 100 km/h in 3.3 seconds. But all that extra power will cost you some range, as the Scat Pack will only achieve 160 miles of EPA estimated mileage, while the R/T should travel up to 317 miles.

The electric charger will be built on the STLA Large platform, the automaker’s high-performance electric architecture, which is mainly aimed at SUVs and larger vehicles. But Dodge wanted a bigger battery and more power for its first electric dragster, so it opted for the plus-size model.

The 100.5 kWh battery only has a usable capacity of 93.9 kWh, but should still have plenty of capacity for all your street antics. That puts the Charger EV in the same category as the Cadillac Lyriq and BMW i7, but it’s tuned to put out more ponies than similarly sized EVs.

The 400V drive system enables DC fast charging with a maximum power of 183 kW for both variants. When connected to a 175 kW fast charger, the Charger EV’s battery goes from 5 to 80 percent in 52.4 minutes. With a 350 kW charger, the charging speed drops to 32.5 minutes.

Dodge said the new Chargers will come standard with Direct Connection phase kits, where you can get extra power if the factory settings aren’t enough for you. The R/T has access to the Stage 1 upgrade kit that adds 40 horsepower to reach a total of 496 horsepower, while the Scat Pack comes with a Stage 2 kit that offers an additional 80 horsepower, bringing the total power to 670 hp comes.

All that power requires above-average braking performance, thanks to massive 16-inch Brembo brakes and red six-piston front and four-piston rear fixed calipers. It is the largest brake package offered on a Dodge vehicle. Additionally, a “Brake by Wire” intelligent braking system claims to use a central module to control vehicle deceleration for “optimal braking force and pedal feedback.” Watch your neck.

Like all EVs, the Charger Daytona will emit a slow hum to alert pedestrians and others on the road. But when the speed increases, the ‘Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust System’ comes into operation. “Sound intensity is linked to better performance,” says Dodge, meaning the fake engine growl increases in volume (and ferocity) as the vehicle accelerates. And yes, there are speakers.

Kuniskis insists the company cleared the knockoff exhaust from a select group of customers before signing off on the final design. But no doubt the faux growl will remain controversial among some diehards, even as electric performance becomes more and more common.

There are plenty of driving modes, including the standard Auto, Eco, Sport and Wet/Snow. For the Scat Pack version, drivers get two additional driving modes: Track and Drag. Track mode produces “maximum vehicle performance capabilities on smooth, dry surfaces, while Drag mode, intended for use on an enclosed drag strip, provides optimal drag strip starts and straight-line acceleration.”

The release of the first electric Dodge muscle cars is a momentous occasion, especially considering how cautious the company has been about the move to electric cars. At a 2021 event by parent company Stellantis, Kuniskis proclaimed that Dodge “wouldn’t sell electric cars – it will sell eMuscle,” which is apparently Dodge’s brand for its future electric cars. And last week, in a briefing with reporters, he called the current moment “schizophrenic,” with companies needing to sell more ICE cars to finance the transition to electric cars.

Dodge also showed a somewhat entertaining video for reporters of Kuniskis traveling back in time in the electric Charger to 1900 to give the original Dodge brothers, Horace and John, a tour of the company’s electrification efforts. The video is funny—Kuniskis goes on a lengthy rant about “kale smoothies” for some reason—but it also exposes the tension between Dodge’s 124-year-old legacy and its place in a more uncertain, less-polluting future.

“The car we designed doesn’t look like a typical melted jelly bean with an electric battery,” says Kuniskis, as CGI-generated versions of Horace and John nod admiringly.

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