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Demon designers dubbed ‘necromancers’ of speed

by Chris Vander Doelen on

Popular Science magazine has chosen the ground-breaking SRT Power Chiller engine component in the Dodge Demon as one its 100 best innovations of 2017.

The device helps boost horsepower on the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon to 840 by pre-cooling the air the engine gulps in before it enters the supercharger.

The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon’s 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI® Demon V-8 engine.

“Stuff more air into your cylinders, get more power,” is the way Pop Science describes it here. The Demon, as is well known here, is the industry’s first dragstrip-capable production car. The mag describes the car’s designers as “necromancers of speed,” which is a nifty line FCA might want to lift for its marketing somewhere.

The Demon’s cool chiller designation is one of 10 automotive “Best Ofs” bestowed by the magazine this year. Others include a backseat video surveillance system for minivan passengers from Honda, an electric dirt bike, and the automatically-adjusting aerodynamic rear wing on the 2018 Ford GT supercar.

But the Dodge device could get get wider application than the rest of them, (other than the nanny camera from Honda, which is also real-world genius).

By using the Demon’s air conditioning refrigerant to cool the air entering the 6.2-litre HEMI V-8, the Power Chiller manages to pack more oxygen molecules into the same supercharged space – “denser intake air,” says Chris Cowland, Director of Advanced and SRT Powertrain for FCA U.S. – boosting power from 807-hp with 91 octane fuel to 840 when 100+ octane unleaded fuel is used.

That would be 840 “glorious hell ponies” according to the magazine, which means somebody might have been sniffing the 100-octane stuff over there.

While the extra grunt has already helped the Demon car set records, Cowland says such innovations often end up in high volume products, particularly if they improve fuel economy. He suggests it could be a “trickle up” technology, if it ends up applied to mainstream applications.

A full explanation of how the Power Chiller works is provided here in FCA’s release.

Chris Vander Doelen was Opinion Editor and columnist of The Windsor Star until December, 2016; he was the Star's automotive reporter and columnist for seven years, and had also covered the political and gambling beats. With his wife, Veronique Mandal, he wrote the book Chasing Lightning (1999). Chris won a National Newspaper Award in 1997 and more than a dozen provincial news awards. There is a Chrysler 300 in his driveway.

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