Chrysler Fought Reality And Reality Lost

chrysler fought reality and reality lost

We’ve had a few confused comments on the Dodge EV vs. Challenger “drag race” video, so we thought we’d fill in some details. And post something between Bailout Watches. First of all, the stunt was choreographed by Chrysler. ENVI President Lou Rhodes is behind the wheel of the Dodge EV while a weak-ankled Chrysler employee handles a Challenger 6.1 with octegenarian restraint. Clearly this was intended as a PR two-fer. Chrysler gets to show off its Tesla wannabe and its muscle car, while giving the LA Times the opportunity to write about how Chrysler’s EVs and EREVs are the future. And clearly the point was to give the Challenger the fuzzy end of the lollypop in order to show just how advanced the Chrysler EV program is. Maybe next time they could be a little more convincing. The video doesn’t so much make the Dodge EV look like a muscle-car-beating dynamo, as it makes the Challenger look like a secretary special. The LA Times’ Dan Neil admits that the Challenger was launched in second gear in both runs, and that it “seems to let up” on the second run. Nobody will say for sure if it was a lift-off or an audio effect caused by the rev limiter. Regardless of the actual details, the real point of these video stunts is to look cool, and it’s in this crucial consideration that the video really lets down. Had the Challenger sat on the starting line, dramaticaly gasifying its tires while the EV scooted to victory, the PR “message” would have remained the same and it would have looked a lot better. As it went down, the stunt looked staged and neither car came out looking heroic. Better luck next time.

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  • SexCpotatoes SexCpotatoes on Nov 18, 2008

    Woohoo, Wired called you "curmudgeons," and we got called "denizens" by Daniel Neil. The explanation does seem to be reasonable, but I smell a T-shirt opportunity. "Curmudgeons and denizens UNITE! @ thetruthaboutcars.com" or something of that nature.

  • Ingvar Ingvar on Nov 18, 2008

    The evidence of 200+ death watches are finally sinking in. The more time that passes, the more people are discovering: "Those guys at TTAC wasn't that bad after all." To me, it seems that other media speaks more respectfully of TTAC. Perhaps I'm wrong? I don't know, but that is the impression I get.

  • Renewingmind The idea of a silent smell free world of vehicles sounds wonderful from a quality of life standpoint. Start with diesel trucks. Especially big ones. They are the worst offenders for fumes and noise.
  • DenverMike Pininfarina I know it's not related to this, I just like saying it.
  • Matt Posky I don't understand the appeal of fake meat and this seems to operate under a similar premise: You don't want the V8 because someone says it's bad for you. But you can have something designed to mimic the experience because that's what your body actually wants. The styling is cool I guess. But I don't understand why EVs don't just lean into what they are. Companies can make them produce any wooshing or humming noises they want. Buiding an entire system to help you pretend it still has a combustion engine seems a little lame.
  • DenverMike I'm sure it would have a volume control. It's nice to sneak into my neighborhood at 2am quietly. Or creep out, 4am. I don't get much sleep OK, but I always keep my V8 exhaust stock, as much as I love the sound of others loud. My stereo would make it pointless anyway.
  • FreedMike I’d love to see more tracks, or off-road parks if that’s your jam. But for those of us who’d love to take part in this kind of thing, practicality is the limiting factor. Racing has always been expensive, and most people don’t want to do it with their daily drivers - I’d love to see what my GLI would do on a track, but not at the cost of voiding my warranty, or potentially wrapping up the car (which I’m pretty sure would put me on State Farm’s Keith Moon-trashing-the-Holiday Inn list). As a practical matter, you have to have a vehicle that is intended to be used for racing, and the ability to fix it; most folks don’t have that kind of money or skill set.
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