Want To Modify Your Electric Dodge? You’ll Have To Ask Dodge

Want To Modify Your Electric Dodge? You’ll Have To Ask Dodge

The Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept from a front quarter angleIt’s a picture integral to the romance of muscle cars: A Dodge owner alone in their garage, tweaking and tuning to cut a half-second from the car’s quarter-mile time. It will stay in the romantic past.

“Now, we don’t want to lock the cars and say you can’t modify them,” says Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis. “We just want to lock them and say modify them through us so that we know that it’s done right.”

Dodge’s Future: Electric Muscle

Dodge is going electric.

The automaker has announced the end of both of its big, rear-wheel-drive cars after the 2023 model year. Both the Charger and Challenger will exit the market after this year. The automaker is sending them off with a long series of tributes. Each gets a series of limited-run special editions named the Last Call models.

But, when the 2023 model year comes to a close, so does Dodge’s decades-long history of V8-powered muscle cars.

In their place? A future of “electric muscle cars.” Dodge hasn’t revealed a production model but has shown off a close-to-production concept, the Charger Daytona SRT Concept. It has the classic muscle-car shape and even something resembling its sound. A unique setup that sends air through a network of organ-like pipes underneath creates a trademark snarl.

But it’s all-electric. That means the skills generations of garage mechanics have honed won’t help them coax extra horsepower from it.

“Crystals,” Not Downloads

Instead, Dodge says it will offer performance upgrades through its Direct Connection Program.

Kuniskis tells Muscle Cars & Trucks, “We’d rather spend our time coming up with more modifications for you instead of, literally, trying to whack-a-mole the hackers.” So the company has come up with what it calls “crystals” — code tied to the specific VIN of each car that controls its state of tune.

Dodge won’t adjust them through over-the-air updates, Kuniskis says, “’Cause over-the-air updates, these things get hacked.”

Instead, he says, owners can buy the cars in several power levels and upgrade them through certain Dodge dealers, known as Power Brokers, that have completed special training. “We want to funnel it through our Direct Connection and Power Broker program to support that body of people,” Kuniskis says.

The move will help Dodge keep a certain brand identity intact, ensuring that cars live up to the company’s standards even when modified. But it brings an end to decades of home modification.

Buying a used Dodge electric muscle car, though, won’t mean you have to pay the owner for the vehicle and Dodge separately for the upgrades. Since crystals are tied to a car’s VIN, they’ll transfer to new owners.

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