The Stellantis Group is determined to embrace electromobility, from the small Fiat 500e and Ami/e-Rocks quads to large SUVs, sedans, and even the all-American muscle cars. At the top of the pyramid, the Dodge brand will continue to offer its customers the experience of driving a muscle car, regardless of what technology they use. This idea was already communicated seven months ago, during the 2021 Dodge EV Summit.
Carlos Tavares, the CEO of Stellantis, told Automotive News: “We are creating a sound that you cannot imagine. […] It is something that surprises. After [Dodge engineers] have created the sound, they’re thinking about how they can amplify that sound so it’s perceived as more powerful based on how the car is used. “
Let’s read between the lines. Tavares is talking about synthesized sound, hence the verb «create». This is nothing new for years. What the acoustics engineers have to do is add that emotional character that can make the driver’s body hair stand on end, which can be achieved in several ways. The last nuance is interesting, “depending on the way the car is used”.
Sound is a perception of our senses from mechanical waves – they require a means of propagation – of a certain frequency, the audible spectrum, from 20 hertz to 20,000 kilohertz. Lower frequencies are perceived as bass, higher frequencies as treble. The best loudspeakers in the world are capable of emphasizing each range of frequencies, bass, midrange, and treble, ideally with specialized speakers.
For example, with very low frequencies, powerful vibrations can be perceived, such as when we hear an explosion in the cinema since wide-range audio is used in theaters and with specialized speakers. It can be something as simple as fine-tuning the car’s subwoofers so that the driver feels how his buttocks vibrate and has a greater perception of force, even if it’s all artificial. Even mechanisms in the seat can help achieve this perception.
Also, the adjustment of the power electronics can cause this sensation. For example, engineers can program the driver to perceive a threat of wheelie, as if the front of the car were to be lifted off the ground by the action of a rear axle that suddenly applies a lot of torque, even at the cost of causing the tires to skid a little. . The legal fit for this is in the gray area, but it’s another way of solving the perceptual problem when electric motors are used instead of a fat V8.
We leave you with a video with which you can better understand the concepts mentioned above, with a good sound system you can notice the difference, and with the volume a little high, if possible. It has nothing to do with watching the same ad silently. If driving was always this exciting, few drivers would be able to keep their driving license for more than a few days.
We understand that Dodge will allow its customers to opt for an “Eco” or “Normal” mode, in which the car is not constantly prompting mischief, the sound is less aggressive and the power delivery much sweeter.
Dodge is aware that not all users of electric cars want to move quietly, with a smooth drive and low energy consumption. The audience that Dodge aims to reach with the range of electric muscle cars – which will begin in 2024, surely with a visual homage to the first generation Charger B-Body – fits into the millennial generation, born between the early and late 1980s. from the 90s
In other words, Dodge is going for customers who are currently in their thirties and forties, with high purchasing power and wanting to continue enjoying the adrenaline. The younger the demographic of the customers, the more open-minded there is towards electric cars, although for the brand they are not “simple electric cars”. As for the range of V8 gasoline, they do not have a defined expiration date, they may never stop selling them, but they are already very, very exclusive – see the Hellcat and Demon, which are not cheap at all.
Yes, electric cars can be very fast on acceleration, and in quarter-mile races, they are very hard to beat at equal power. That is not enough, more and more brands offer that acceleration experience that welds the cervicals to the seat. The acceleration of many electric cars rivals that of Formula 1 cars of recent times being registrable cars.
However, for manufacturers to achieve differentiation with electric cars is very difficult. If Dodge wants to succeed with what other manufacturers offer, the key is what experience they provide behind the wheel. If the driver, in addition to speed and acceleration, notices those attributes that are inherent in high-power combustion engines, he may have a sales argument that keeps muscle car lovers loyal.
Unfortunately, the Dodge range is not sold in Europe, and the clientele of this part of the Atlantic has not sucked the culture of the muscle car from an early age. I am very afraid that the Stellantis offer in the Old Continent will have a different approach, it is a cultural question. Fans of Detroit muscle, even if it’s electric, will continue to have to fork over money to independent importers.