Chrysler Fought Reality And Reality Lost

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
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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.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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4 of 13 comments
  • Strippo Strippo on Nov 17, 2008
    Xler Sacrilege!
  • Benders Benders on Nov 17, 2008

    So...the EV is faster off the line (more torque, lighter) but the Challenger is the one spinning it's tires? brush: The problem with the Redox battery is low energy density. It's about half that of NiMH batteries.

  • 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! @" 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.