Hey, did you hear 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’re not just talking about marketing.
“Today we bring the noise”
Dodge’s current gas-powered muscle cars, the Charger and Challenger, are set to cease production next year as the company moves towards electrification. Now is the time for the next chapter.
“Today we bring the noise,” Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis said. “It’s the electric vehicle you didn’t see coming, but you will definitely hear from the company.”
The Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept “offers a glimpse into the brand’s electric future through a vehicle that drives like a Dodge, looks like a Dodge and sounds like a Dodge,” the automaker said.
The concept will be powered by Dodge’s 800V electric all-wheel-drive system, named Banshee, which the company calls “a new pinnacle of performance in the Brotherhood of Muscle.”
“While most BEVs adopt their virtually silent electric motors, this just wouldn’t sit well with Dodge,” the automaker said in a statement. “The Charger Daytona SRT Concept puts out a 126 dB roar that equals the SRT Hellcat, generated by a new patent-pending Fratzonic chambered exhaust system.”
“Yes,” the company freely admitted, “Dodge has added an exhaust to an electric vehicle.”
“Part of the brand image”
If you want to get an idea of the impact of 126 decibels on your eardrums, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says noise above 70 decibels over an extended period of time can begin to damage your hearing.
“Loud noise above 120 dB can cause immediate damage to your ears,” the agency said.
Various studies link traffic noise to increased stress levels and other problems.
But beyond risking your health and exasperating the neighbours, why add engine noise that wasn’t already there?
“Automakers are starting to use sound as a component of their car to differentiate their brand,” said Brian V. Larson, professor of marketing at Widener University. “The deep, throaty sound that accompanies a Dodge will be part of the brand image. It will be a palpable characteristic of the car that consumers can feel and use to distinguish the new Dodge EV from other EV offerings.”
Electric vehicles are still a relatively new product and not all consumers have been won over, he added.
“By giving car buyers an electric vehicle that looks, moves and sounds like their dad’s car,” said Larson, “Dodge might be better able to connect with that potential buyer who is hesitant about the new supply of electric vehicles.”
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“A disgrace to American muscle cars”
Some had doubts about Dodge’s roaring engine.
“This strikes me as an initiative to reach out to male drivers who expect driving to be accompanied by noise and effort,” said Greg Garrett, an English professor at Baylor University. “I don’t know how many people that might be – I grew up with muscle cars, but my adult sons drive economy cars. I can’t imagine wanting those features myself.”
Garrett noted that “stock mufflers and manual transmissions were tied to real-world performance.”
“It’s purely virtual, imaginary,” he said. “That would seem silly to me, but maybe not to people whose conduct has been shaped by games and simulations.”
The vehicle’s audio system has also drawn some derision on social media.
“I used to love the Dodge Challenger…. Now they’ve made a toothbrush that makes a fake engine sound… WOKE!” a person tweeted.
“Bro Dodge Challenger SRT 2024 is just fucking crazy!!!” a person said. “Neon light is sick, but Fake Muscle noise – a disgrace to American Muscle cars.”
“I won’t buy unless I can change the engine sound for Jetson’s car,” one person tweetedas well as a clip from the 1960s cartoon family of the future.
“Everything becomes electric”
However, the Dodge Challenger also had its defenders.
“You complainers are so predictable, you regurgitate complaints,” one person said. tweeted. “I bet most of you have never owned or driven a v8 Challenger or Charger. We understand you’re trying to be cool, well you’re not. Everything is going electric, Dodge don’t had no choice, I’m glad.”
another tweet said that “interesting considering that this ‘woke’ car will probably outperform any ‘real car’ you’re talking about.”
But what is the fascination with car noise?
Various message boards have listed some pretty hostile remarks about rudeness, shamelessness, attention seeking, and tiny sex equipment.
“They just sound like power and power is fun,” said one person 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 only add to the overall experience of owning and driving your big, expensive toy.”
make loud noises
“I think it’s because of (a) evolutionary thing long before cars,” a Tesla Motors Club post said. “Big, powerful animals make loud noises. Small, weak creatures are the quietest. Figuratively speaking, the ‘hunters’ in our society need something to give them more status.”
And yet, being too quiet exists. Electric vehicles can pose a hazard to pedestrians and cyclists because they are not loud enough.
A study 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.
Additionally, a report from the University of California, Riverside indicates that pedestrians cannot hear an approaching electric vehicle until it is within a second of hitting them.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires automakers to include artificial engine sounds in electric and hybrid cars when driving at low speeds to alert pedestrians.
The agency, however, recently said it won’t let drivers choose their own sounds “due to a lack of supporting data.”