When the Dodge Charger Daytona BEV Concept debuted last year, one of the unique features of the upcoming electric muscle car that brand boss Tim Kuniskis discussed was PowerShot. Described as a “push-to-pass” system, this feature “delivers an adrenaline jolt of increased horsepower for a quick burst of acceleration”. In layman’s terms, the electric drive system will deliver greater power levels for short periods of time, but so long as the battery is properly charged, PowerShot can be used over and over, with short periods between each use.
Like many aspects of the Dodge Charger Daytona BEV Concept, the PowerShot system sounds great, but the brand didn’t provide much information on exactly how it will work or how much power it will provide. However, the new Dodge Hornet R/T PHEV has its own version of the PowerShot system and having driven that compact SUV – and having used the PowerShot system in a variety of settings – this feature could be amazing in the future electric Charger Daytona.
What we knew about the PowerShot system after the Speed Week debut of both the Charger Daytona BEV and the Hornet R/T PHEV is that it is activated by pulling back on both steering wheel paddles and that led to extra power, but we didn’t know much else. Once I drove the Hornet and used the PowerShot system, I got a great feel for how it works – and that led me to believe that this system could really make a big difference in the performance capabilities of the Charger Daytona BEV.
Once the driver activates the system by pulling back both steering wheel paddles (again, in the Hornet R/T), it takes a second for a quick system check (making sure that the batteries have the proper level of charge) and once the system is ready, an icon in the gauge cluster lets the driver know that the extra power is ready for use. That is when we reach what I consider to be the most useful aspect of the PowerShot system in the Hornet R/T.
You don’t have to use the extra power immediately. In the Hornet R/T, the PowerShot system will hold that extra power for 45 seconds and it won’t use that power until you put the accelerator pedal all of the way to the floor. Say that you are driving along on a two-lane road and you are coming up on a slow-moving tractor trailer, you can arm the system in advance, then that power is on tap until you reach the slower moving vehicle. When you get there and put the accelerator to the floor, that extra power is unlocked and the Hornet R/T accelerates noticeably quicker than it does without the system.
Also, you can use the PowerShot system in the Hornet R/T from a stop, which is how Dodge got the best 0-60 times with the sporty little hybrid compact SUV. After activating the system and getting the icon that indicates that it is ready, you can inch the Hornet forward, like you would at the drag strip, and when the green light drops and you floor the throttle, PowerShot sends all of the extra juice to the wheels from a dig. Again, that makes a considerable difference in the Hornet, lowering the 0-60 time into the same range as some V8-powered performance cars.
In the case of the Hornet R/T PHEV, the PowerShot system applies 25 extra horsepower for 15 second bursts, with a required 15-second rest between each usage, and that makes a clear difference in the real world performance. Aside from the time to regenerate, it basically functions like a nitrous oxide system.
In the Dodge Charger Daytona BEV, the electric drive system will offer substantially more power potential, so in theory, the PowerShot system could offer far more than 25 extra horsepower – but that is purely speculation. Provided that the PowerShot system in the Charger functions similarly to the system in the Hornet R/T, drivers of the next generation Charger Daytona could enjoy a nitrous oxide-like feature in their BEV – leading to improved elapsed times on the drag strip and even more power from a roll.