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Dodge Charger Concept - CNG that never was
When the Charger Concept was unveiled in 1999, design-wise it was a bold departure from the mediocrity of US-made cars of the era. Promising as it looked, the first ever four-door Charger didn't enter production in that form, but the idea lived on and the car was eventually launched in 2005. Having undergone a major overhaul in 2010, it remains in production to this day, with another redesign expected around 2018 and an all-new generation coming beyond 2020. The new car is said to be inspired by the once-shelved 1999 concept car.
Leaving design and plans for the future aside, the proposed 1999 Charger had very interesting underpinnings – it featured an engine running on compressed natural gas! Just to remind you:
it was over 10 years before the US shale gas revolution came about, which may be why the car's drivetrain never saw the light of day. Still, even back in 1999 natural gas was seen as fuel lessening American dependence on foreign oil and the car's pressure vessel assembly was quite an innovative one.
Details are limited, but according to Dodge's publicity of the era, the CNG-powered Dodge Charger Concept offered 300 miles (approx. 480 km) of range, which was reportedly double the typical range of CNG-powered cars back in the day. Also, the tanks were integrated into the chassis in such a way that boot space (13 cubic feet or approx. 368 litres) was not affected. Plus they were housed in a protective, sealed shell made of energy-absorbing foam to make the car extra safe during collisions. Too bad it was never produced, but maybe the 2020+ Charger will finally get a CNG variant...
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