Dodge really wants you to hear its Dodge Charger Daytona SRT electric muscle car.
Hey, have you heard this one?
Don’t worry, you will — if Dodge has anything to say about it.
Dodge, which is owned by Stellantis, is making a lot of noise about its Dodge Charger Daytona SRT electric muscle car and we don’t just mean marketing.
‘Today, We Bring the Noise’
Dodge’s current gas-powered muscle cars, the Charger and Challenger, are slated to end production next year as the company moves toward electrification. Now it’s time for the next chapter.
“Today we bring the noise,” said Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis. “This is the EV you didn’t see coming, but you’ll definitely hear company.”
The Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept “offers a glimpse at the brand’s electric future through a vehicle that drives like a Dodge, looks like a Dodge and sounds like Dodge,” the automaker said.
The Concept will be powered by Dodge’s 800V electric all-wheel drive propulsion system, named Banshee, which the company calls “a new pinnacle of performance in the Brotherhood of Muscle.”
“While most BEVs embrace their virtually silent electric motors, that just wouldn’t do for Dodge,” the car maker said in a statement. “The Charger Daytona SRT Concept voices a 126 dB roar that equals the SRT Hellcat, generated through a new, patent-pending Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust system.”
“Yes,” the company freely admitted, “Dodge added an exhaust to an electric vehicle.”
‘A Part of the Brand’s Image’
If you want to get some perspective on the impact of 126 decibels on your eardrums, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that noise above 70 decibel over a prolonged period of time may start to damage your hearing.
“Loud noise above 120 dB can cause immediate harm to your ears,” the agency said.
Various studies link loud traffic noise to increased stress levels and other problems.
But beyond risking your health and infuriating the neighbors, just what is the point of adding an engine noise that wasn’t already there?
“The carmakers are beginning to employ sound as a component to their car to differentiate their brand,” Brian V. Larson, marketing professor Widener University. “The deep, throaty sound that comes with a Dodge will be part of the brand’s image. It will be a palpable feature of the car that consumers can feel and use to separate the new Dodge EV from other EV offerings.”
EVs are still a relatively new product and not all consumers have been won over, he added.
“By offering car buyers an EV and looks like, shifts like, and sounds like their father’s automobile,” Larson said, “Dodge might be better able to connect with that prospective buyer who is on the fence about the new EV offering.”
‘A Disgrace to American Muscle Cars’
Some had their doubts about Dodge’s roaring motor.
“This feels to me like an initiative to reach out to male drivers who expect driving to come with noise and some effort,” said Greg Garrett, an English professor at Baylor University. “I don’t know how many folks that might be — I grew up with muscle cars, but my adult sons drive economy cars. I can’t imagine wanting these features myself.”
Garrett noted that “the original mufflers and manual transmissions were connected to actual performance.”
“This is purely virtual, imaginary,” he said. “It would feel silly to me, but maybe not to people whose driving has been shaped by gaming and simulations.”
The vehicle’s sound system was also met with some derision on social media.
“I used to love the Dodge Challenger …. Now they made a tooth brush that makes fake engine noise ….WOKE !” one person tweeted.
“Bro Dodge Challenger SRT 2024 is just crazy, f–k!!!” one person said. “The neon light is sick, but the Fake Muscle noise — a disgrace to American Muscle cars.”
“Won’t buy, unless I can change the engine sound to the Jetson’s car,” one person tweeted, along with a clip of 1960s cartoon family of the future.
‘Everything is Going Electric’
However, the Dodge Challenger also had its defenders.
“You complainers are so predictable, regurgitated complaining,” one person tweeted. “I bet most of you never owned or drove a v8 Challenger or Charger. We get it you’re trying to be cool, well you ain’t. Everything is going electric, Dodge had no choice, I welcome it.”
Another tweet said that “interesting considering this ‘woke’ car will probably outperform any ‘real car’ you’re talking about.”
But what is the fascination with loud car noise?
Various message boards listed some pretty hostile remarks about rudeness, shameless, attention-seeking and minuscule sexual equipment.
“They just sound like power and power is fun,” one person said on Quroa a few years ago. “Cars are just big toys and the more powerful they are, the more fun they are. Engines that make good noises just add to the overall experience of owning and driving your big expensive toy.”
Make Loud Noises
“I think it’s because (of an) evolutionary thing way before cars,” a post on Tesla Motors Club said. “Big and powerful animals made loud noises. Small and weak creatures are the quiet ones. Figuratively speaking ‘hunters’ in our society need something to give them more status.”
And yet there is such a thing as being too quiet. Electric vehicles can present a danger to pedestrians and bicyclists because they are not noisy enough.
Research commissioned by The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (Guide Dogs) in the UK found that electric vehicles are 40% more likely to collide with pedestrians than their internal combustion counterparts.
In addition, a report by the University of California at Riverside said pedestrians can’t hear an EV’s approach until it is a second from hitting them.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires automakers to include artificial motor sounds in electric and hybrid cars when traveling at low speeds to alert pedestrians.
The agency, however, recently said it will not let drivers choose their own sounds “because of a lack of supporting data.”