The Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept is the perfect preview of the brand’s all-electric muscle car future. Important to Dodge customers and muscle car fans, the EV drives like a Dodge, looks exactly like any other Dodge and feels the same, too. Three new patent-pending features make up the core of what sets the Charger Daytona SRT Concept apart.

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Side view of the concept Dodge EV

The three new patent-pending features for Dodge

The first feature is a front aerodynamic R-Wing that helps maintain Dodge’s signature muscle car profile while improving aerodynamic efficiency. Next is the Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust — an industry-first exhaust system for electric vehicles that creates the performance sound to rival the SRT Hellcat. The third new feature is the eRupt multi-speed transmission that includes an electro-mechanical shifter powered by an 800-volt Banshee propulsion system. If you don’t speak automotive, this is groundbreaking use of EV power while also giving a nod to a nostalgic stick-shift past. More on that in a minute.

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The design also gives a nod to past Dodge sports concepts but is updated into a modern shape. The grille and tail lights have illuminated Fratzog badges to symbolize the electrified future of Dodge as well as the brand’s commitment to its heritage. The vertical exterior grille details evoke the style of the 1968 Dodge Charger Concept.

Front view of the Daytona SRT with sleek design

Interior of the performance EV

Inside, the interior is more modern and lightweight. The driver-centric cockpit remains. Interior parametric texture was also inspired by the 1968 Charger grille. A center console jet-fighter-inspired cap flips up to allow engagement of the start button. The shifter is pistol-grip in shape but has a modern style to it.

Meanwhile, the roof features panoramic glass which is definitely a more modern element. Fold-flat rear seats and a hatchback create larger storage capacity. We love the modern take on a hatch that blends seamlessly into a passenger car design, as it’s more accessible and attractive.

Red interior of the Daytona SRT concept car

Driving features for the electric Daytona SRT

So, how does it drive? The concept has Auto, Sport, Track and Drag modes, which change the driving dynamics, display graphics, sound and interior lighting. That should tell you this car is ready to fight. Sport mode in any upmarket EV is often enough to pull your socks off or rearrange your lunch, so we eagerly anticipate what Track and Drag modes will do. This concept also has a PowerShot button that gives you extra power to pass people on the road. There is more than enough power and finely tuned racing dynamics for a downtown drag race.

This car has two doors, making it perfect for an auto enthusiast ready to embrace the future and the past along with some serious driving chops. EVs so far have all operated in one transmission gear, because traditional gears aren’t needed when electric motors provide so much instantaneous power to the wheels. We all knew the day was coming, however, when a car would create so much power that it could make use of other gears, or replicate the fun driving experience of traditional stick-shift sports cars. No matter which this Dodge concept does, it should be a Hellcat kind of experience.

This old automotive tech journalist once drove a Challenger on a closed track up to 135 miles per hour on the first straight without breaking a sweat. (To be clear, the writer broke into a sweat. The car didn’t.) With electric vehicles beginning to offer equal or increased power, acceleration and range over traditional combustion vehicles, the Dodge Charger EV concept should give us a preview into what electric cars are really capable of, and how we don’t have to give up the best elements of sports cars in order to be sustainable.

Side view of the concept EV

The future of performance EVs

We look forward to a screamingly fun EV future where we all drive a little faster, not some monochrome autonomous nanny society where our range is always puttering out. The future of EVs is fun.

How do we know this? Because brands like Dodge are embracing creating “exhaust” systems that can gradually transform into the car culture that loves the sound of a screamingly fast EV motor for its own merits, without dropping the most nostalgic elements of our motoring past. When car brands start making EVs reflective of car culture’s historic past, as well as a fun peek into the future potential of electric cars, the EV future will appeal to both the sustainability and the automotive enthusiast. You can’t win them all, but Dodge sure is going for it.

“The Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept exists because performance made us do it,” said Tim Kuniskis, Dodge brand chief executive officer – Stellantis. “Dodge is about muscle, attitude and performance, and the brand carries that chip on its shoulder and into the BEV segment through a concept loaded with patents, innovations, and performance features that embody the electrified muscle of tomorrow. The Charger Daytona SRT Concept can do more than run the car show circuit; it can run a blazing quarter-mile. And when it comes to product cycles, it outruns Darwin. Charger Daytona does more than define where Dodge is headed, it will redefine American muscle in the process.”

For once, American auto industry, we agree with you. That’s not bluster or PR hype, that’s just the future. The 800-volt Banshee propulsion system in this Dodge concept is the first Dodge electric vehicle faster than a Hellcat in all key performance measures, which is a 710-horsepower Durango in case you’re keeping score. If you haven’t driven a down-and-dirty Dodge lately, that’s plenty fast enough.

+ Dodge

Images via Stellantis