As I walked through Detroit Auto Show security into Huntington Place, a grey glimmer caught my eye. Sitting on the turntable at the Stellantis stand was the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT EV concept, largely free of people gathering around it. It was time for a close-up.
The first thing I noticed about Dodge’s electric muscle car is just how big this thing is. It genuinely has its own gravitational pull. Between sheer dimensions and styling proportions, the Charger Daytona SRT EV is so much more imposing than a Challenger in a way that really needs to be seen to believe.
Of equal importance, there’s a lot of stuff on this concept that seems near-production. For instance, most concept cars don’t have mirrors. The Charger Daytona SRT EV has exterior mirrors and a frit band for an interior rearview mirror. While the mirrors on the car don’t look feasible, the fact that an opening in each door exists where production spec-mirrors could mount to is incredible.
Look even closer, and more intriguing details emerge. There are aero curtain outlets in the front wheel well liners, a fairly common trend in new cars that’s surprising to see on a concept. The fender liner has to be punched out, then a duct needs to be crafted, then space needs to be made in the front bumper for an inlet. It’s a lot of effort for something not really needed on a show car.
Also not needed on show cars? Front and rear bumpers with actual shutlines. Even in the custom car community, it’s tradition to blend panels to be seamless using filler, welding, or brazing. More intriguingly, the shutlines seem to follow established Dodge design language. The Challenger has a massive nosecone, while the current Charger features similar rear bumper shutlines. It’s an interesting case of manufacturing necessities becoming brand DNA.
It’s also worth noting what the electric age has done to show cars. In the past, many concepts were pushers, essentially undriveable sculptures that only needed to look pretty. It’s incredibly expensive and time-consuming to fabricate a driveshaft, axle shafts, differential mounts, engine mounts, steering systems, and all the stuff needed to make a car drive. With EV platforms, much of the mechanicals are essentially pre-fabricated. I wouldn’t be terribly surprised to see more and more functional EV concepts in the future.
All in all, I wouldn’t be surprised if Dodge unveils a production EV that looks really similar to the Charger Daytona SRT EV concept. The fundamentals are largely there, with tweaks to lighting, mirrors, the interior, and anything necessary for homologation needed for such a beast to theoretically enter production. However, we could also see something entirely different. Look at all the tweaks the Volkswagen ID.Concept underwent to become the ID.3. Either way, it’ll be fun to look back on the Dodge Charger Daytona EV concept in 2024 and see what cues made it onto the showroom floor.