The automotive rumormill has been working at a frenetic pace ever since images of what’s thought to be the upcoming Dodge Charger Daytona body-in-white hit the internet a week or so ago. When we initially posted the pictures, which had been uploaded to various social media channels and web forums, we took immediate note of the presence of an unmistakable transmission tunnel. We wondered out loud (virtually, at least) “if there have been some changes to battery and component layout, or if this is to allow for an internal-combustion powertrain option early on.”
Well, if you believe a report from “a source connected to a supplier with firsthand information of Dodge’s production plans” who reportedly “agreed to speak about the next-gen Charger program in exchange for anonymity” to The Drive, that transmission tunnel is for — you guessed it! — a transmission. An upcoming and updated version of the eight-speed automatic currently in use in any number of Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram vehicles, to be specific, hooked up to the Hurricane-branded inline-six-cylinder engine that debuted under the hood of the Jeep Wagoneer. That engine is destined to replace the Hemi-branded V8 engines that have admirably served across the Stellantis portfolio for just about as long as anyone can remember.
Here’s where things get tricky. There’s actually zero reason to be surprised that there’s a transmission tunnel buried inside the Dodge Charger Daytona. Dodge boss Tim Kuniskis basically said there would be a transmission tunnel a year ago. “I’ve been very transparent that our next cars are built on the STLA Large platform, and the STLA Large is a multi-energy platform,” he said. He further reinforced the point, adding, “I can put an ICE engine in there. Doesn’t mean we’re going to. We’re certainly not launching with anything like that.”
Removing all further doubt about the matter, Kuniskis concluded, “We’re launching with full battery-electric and we think that by the time we get to that point the offering we’re going to have is going to be really attractive in the marketplace. If some day we want to add ICE to that car, could we? It’s totally [possible], but maybe we’ll never get there.”
Is there any way to reconcile the information anonymously provided to The Drive with the statements made earlier by Dodge honchos? Sure. It’s entirely possible that we don’t know all the vehicles, or the names of those vehicles, that will be built atop the STLA Large platform. Will one of those potential future vehicles share space with a fully electric Charger Daytona in Dodge dealerships? It’s certainly possible. It could even be a Charger of some sort, or a Challenger. Dodge loves to bring back awesome names from its historical catalog, which has us salivating at the idea of a Barracuda (or ‘Cuda?) or even another Demon powered by a high-output version of Dodge’s inline-six engine. Maybe even as a plug-in hybrid. Who knows?
For now, we’re going to take Kuniskis at his word and expect the production version of the Charger Daytona SRT concept to be offered solely with batteries and electric motors. It’s obvious that the STLA Large platform has been engineered with plans for internal combustion. We’re sure we’ll see some Hurricane fire-breathers and exhaust belchers in various forms in the future, but whether those vehicles take the form of coupes, sedans, crossovers, SUVs or trucks remains to be seen.