Chrysler rolled out three concepts at the 2008 Detroit auto show, each pairing exciting design and glimpse-of-the-future features with environmental friendliness.
All three deliver power through an electric motor system and advanced, yet-to-be-developed lithium-ion battery pack, but each model has a different type of “range extender for the powertrain” — a gasoline or diesel engine that cycles on only when the battery has little charge remaining.
This modular electric/lithium-ion technology that all three employ is being developed by Chrysler’s new ENV1, an in-house organization at the company that’s focused around developing electric-drive vehicles and advanced-propulsion technologies.
The Dodge ZEO is a four-passenger, 2+2 sport wagon and takes a nearly opposite design direction from the Chrysler, with a long hood, rearward cabin, and monster 23-inch wheels. The ZEO, according to Creed is a “new, responsible breed of muscle car for the 21st Century.” With a powerful 200 kW electric motor for a light 2650-pound curb weight, the ZEO can rip out zero-to-sixty times of less than six seconds and is designed to be the environmentally friendly all-electric vehicle for driving enthusiasts.
With a larger lithium-ion battery pack on board, the ZEO can achieve a 250-mile driving range, according to Chrysler, and get a gasoline-equivalent fuel economy of about 120 mpg. That is, provided you don’t spend too much time near the 130-mpg top speed in your concept-car fantasy.
The steering wheel, column, and instrument cluster is treated as a single
freestanding design element in the ZEO, and the instruments are displayed on a
thin blue acrylic viewing screen. There’s a slim center console down the middle,
creating a twin-cockpit design, with milled aluminum accents throughout.
Contrasting Copperhead stitching outlines the Super White upholstery. Even
though it’s 2+2 seating, there are two bucket seats in back, each with highly
contoured bolsters, and video screens are integrated into the front seatbacks
for rear occupants.
2008 Detroit Auto Show Coverage by TCC Team
Ford F-150, Hyundai Genesis and Corvette ZR1.
2009 Dodge Ram Preview by Bengt Halvorson
Ground-up redesign brings a fresh face, more brawn, and a whole lot of bins.
2009 Dodge Journey Preview by TCC Team (12/27/2007)
Chrysler crosses over into new market niche.