Dodge Charger R/T (1999 concept)
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2009) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
In 1999 Dodge debuted a new Dodge Charger R/T concept car. It took many styling cues from the 1960s Chargers (most notably the second generation) but also had four doors. The designers attempted to blend the rear doors into the design so they would not be noticed very easily. Compressed natural gas was purported as being in the lineup for a possible fuel source.
The concept Charger R/T, while sharing the long nose and rearward cab of the original, was a good deal shorter. It was 187 in (4,750 mm) in overall length compared to 203 in (5,156 mm) for the 1966 Charger. It was also lighter; 3,000 lb (1,361 kg) versus 3,650 lb (1,656 kg).
While making an important statement for CNG technology, the Charger R/T was equally appealing to the design community. It had functional side scoops, as does the Dodge Viper, and the chrome plated, central mounted exhaust was somewhat reminiscent of the Viper. It even has functional air exhausters sculpted into its rear fascia.
The Charger R/T was equally important for what it said about CNG technology. The concept car showcased a new storage tank system that one day might deliver 300 miles (480 km) range in a CNG-powered passenger car and not compromise storage space in the trunk.
The cylinders, or pressure cells, inside the fiberglass storage tank were lined with a gas-impermeable high density polyurethane (HDPE) thermoplastic and wrapped in a hybrid mix of high-strength carbon and super-tough glass filaments that were wound with an epoxy resin. Finally, the cylinders were laid into a foam egg crate to absorb impacts. It was strong for its weight, resistant to environmental damage, reliable and durable. The tank can be made flat, in the shape of a conventional gasoline tank, yet the fuel can still be stored at 3600 lb³ of pressure.
While the concept car was not placed into production, a new Dodge Charger (LX) was produced in 2005 for the 2006 model year. Although built on the same Chrysler LX platform as the concept car, the new Charger bears little resemblance to the 1999 concept, nor the 2nd generation Chargers that inspired the concept car.