Chrysler appears to be stepping outside of the boxy reputation and into the Environmental Revolution. For the 2008 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Michigan Chrysler will be introducing 3 brand new hybrid concepts that are unlike anything they have shown before. Well… the Jeep resembles a prior concept, but what motivates it is completely new for the brand. There will be 3 hybrids from 3 brands from the New Chrysler that is in search of a new image. Let us see how the 3 hybrids stack up in the renderings that have been let loose so far.
The Dodge Zeo 2+2 sport wagon is the only car out of the 3 hybrids from Chrysler and it looks to have the lines to standout from Dodge’s average design. The drive target for the Zeo is a 250 miles range out of a lithium-ion battery pack. They intend to reach a zero-to-sixty mark of 6 seconds out of a 250kW electric motor. The styling of the Zeo resembles in part an 80’s Honda Civic Hatchback that has been updated, and since that car sold really well back then that may not be a bad thing. We appreciate the aggressive design and the influence of some aerodynamics that is a bold move away from Dodge’s usual boxy designs.
The Chrysler ecoVoyager is not your mothers mini van. It is designed to be a 4-seater passenger hauler and is the largest of the 3 Hybrids to be put on display in Detroit. Considering the concepts limited seating capacity the larger proportions of the ecoVoyager (191.2 inches long, 74.5 inches wide and over 60 inches tall) must in part be necessary to house the the 200kW electric motor that drives it. With an intended 270-hp the ecoVoyager is intended to reach zero-to-sixty in under 8 seconds and maintain a range of approximately 300 miles. If the matching sloped front and rear-ends of the car put you off fear not… the final concept in January is sure to have a more similar appearance to what you are used to. Just the same though, it is nice to see someone stretching out their design pen at Chrysler.
The final of the 3 Chrysler Hybrids heading to the 2008 NAIAS is the Jeep Renegade. Stocked with a diesel engine that gets assistance from front and back electric motors with their combined output of 114-hp (theÂ horsepower and torque ratings for the diesel engine have not been released yet), the Warthog-esque Renegade is designed to achieve 110mpg. That would be a lot of trail riding in the futuristic Renegade. As it was mentioned at the top of the page, the design of the Renegade is a revisiting of a previous concept for the Jeep brand. While concept cars are great when they influence future design, there have been very few perceived influences on the Jeep Wrangler series from their ergonomic and aerodynamic concepts. So if this concept does not make it to the production line that will not be a surprise for most Jeep fans. However if this concept leads to a diesel Jeep with dual electric assist motors that achieves 110mpg then Jeep may actually have a winning idea for their Wrangler series.
At this point, whether any of the three Chrysler Concept cars makes it to the market in the coming years it is pleasing to see that they are joining the rest of the auto industry in a search for alternatives. Welcome to the Party! If any of these concept renderings do make it into production then that would be a really big day for Chrysler. More than likely though look for the hybrid technologies on display in these concepts to be engineered into more recent, and more boxy, designs.