Dodge Looks To Lock Out Third-Party Tuners With Direct Connection eStage Upgrades!

Dodge CEO Says Direct Connection Options Will Help Dealer Network & Value Of Cars...

Dodge has been making headlines a ton of headlines at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas, this week. A lot of those have been about the Stryker Red Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Banshee Stage 2 Concept that was unveiled on Tuesday.

Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Banshee eStage 2 Concept at the 2022 SEMA Show. (Dodge).

Highlighting its debut at SEMA, Dodge and Direct Connection/Mopar unveiled that there is a possibility of 9 possible powertrain outputs for the next-gen all-electric muscle car. Three different battery-electric power levels were shown, as well as two levels of Direct Connection eStage performance upgrades for each model.

With two different electric systems available, Dodge announced its performance numbers for its mainstream 400-volt system. From the factory, the next-gen 400-volt ‘e-muscle’ cars will be available in either ‘340’ or 340 kW (456 horsepower) or ‘440’ or 440 kW (590 horsepower) outputs.

Direct Connection eStage Kits. (Dodge).

Using the Direct Connection eStage upgrades, the 340 cars can be boosted to either 370 kW (495 horsepower) with eStage 1 or 400 kW (535 horsepower) with eStage 2. The 440 cars will deliver 470 kW (630 horsepower) with eStage 1 or 500 kW (670 horsepower) with eStage 2. 

Details surrounding the 800-volt Banshee system were not discussed. However, Dodge did say 2 different eStage upgrade packages would be available for that system as well.

Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Banshee eStage 2 Concept at the 2022 SEMA Show. (Dodge).

Now while the performance upgrades sound promising, the next-gen cars will not be able to be tuned by a third-party tuner. This comes straight from Dodge CEO, Tim Kuniskis’ mouth in an interview with Carscoops.

“We don’t want to lock the cars and say you can’t modify them,” Kuniskis said. “We just want to lock them and say modify them through us so that we know it’s done right.”

Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Banshee eStage 2 Concept at the 2022 SEMA Show. (Dodge).

The move also comes in part to the automaker looking at different ways to protect its dealer network. As EVs require less maintenance, dealer service departments will lose a huge portion of their operating costs. By offering the only available performance upgrade to their e-motors through their own dealer network, Dodge looks to recoup some of that lost income.

The Direct Connection eStage performance upgrades will only be accessible with a ‘Crystal’ key inserted into the dash. Think of it as the next-gen equivalent to the HELLCAT’s red key fob that unlocks all of the car’s performance features over the standard black fob.

Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Banshee eStage 2 Concept at the 2022 SEMA Show. (Dodge).

There’s no doubt that third-party tuners will try to hack into the electrical systems of the new Charger and Challenger to perform their own power upgrades. But according to Kuniskis, the Crystal keys will have more viability beyond just a power upgrade.

Each of the Crystal keys will be tied to a specific car by the car’s VIN number. Since Direct Connection supplies the upgrade, each vehicle will be covered under warranty from the factory. It also means that the Crystal stays with the car, even when someone sells the vehicle. This alone will help push the value in the Direct Connection upgrades for the e-muscle cars.

Source: Carscoops

Robert S. Miller

Robert S. Miller is a diehard Mopar enthusiast who lives and breathes all that is Mopar. The Michigander is not only the Editor for MoparInsiders.com, 5thGenRams.com, and HDRams.com but an automotive photographer. He is an avid fan of offshore powerboat racing, which he travels the country to take part in.

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