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Three New Green Concepts from Chrysler at the 2008 Detroit Motor Show

Chrysler has unveiled three brand new concept vehicles at the Detroit Auto Show, each featuring a different advanced alternative fuel system.

Talking about the Chrysler ecoVoyager Concept, Jeep Renegade Concept and Dodge ZEO Concept, Simon Elliott, Managing Director of Chrysler UK, said: “Providing exceptional fuel economy and reducing emissions is part of Chrysler’s environmental commitment. In fact, we have already seen some of the benefits of our green approach in the UK with the launch of so many Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge models with fuel-efficient diesel engines in the last few years.

“These three new designs show that we are moving all of our brands forward with a green agenda. The challenge for our designers today is to make sure that future designs stand out from the crowd, while making sure that they are eco-friendly. The designers and engineers have done a great job with this year’s concepts – I imagine that it won’t be too long before we see this type of technology being used on and off our streets.”

The Chrysler ecoVoyager four-door, four-passenger concept’s front wheels are driven by an electric motor, with power primarily supplied by a lithium-ion battery pack capable of satisfying a consumer’s typical daily commute of less than 40 miles. The electric motor develops 200 kilowatts (268 horsepower), enabling acceleration from 0 to 60 mph in less than eight seconds. A regenerative braking system captures energy that would normally be lost and returns it to the battery.

The ecoVoyager takes advantage of a ‘range extender’ – in this case, a small, advanced hydrogen fuel cell – to extend the vehicle range for longer trips. With this technology, the Chrysler ecoVoyager’s total range is greater than 300 miles, while no emissions – besides water vapour – come from the exhaust.

The Jeep Renegade concept vehicle is a sporty, ‘minimised’ two-seater ideally suited for activities such as dune-surfing or rock-crawling. The Jeep Renegade concept has a 40-mile range lithium-ion battery pack, with a 1.5-litre BLUETEC diesel engine to allow journeys up to 400 miles.

The Renegade’s BLUETEC diesel engine generates an additional 115 horsepower when needed, while greatly reducing exhaust emissions when compared to standard petrol engines. The Renegade is capable of achieving an equivalent petrol fuel economy of 110 miles per gallon, which is four-to-five times greater than an equivalent petrol-only vehicle.

The Jeep Renegade concept is designed for cross-country fun and agility and with an additional electric motor powering each axle, the Renegade boasts a very capable Jeep-like 4×4 system – complete with low range and locking differentials.

The 2008 Dodge ZEO – Zero Emissions Operation – concept vehicle is a four-passenger, all-electric, ‘2+2’ sport wagon.

“The Dodge ZEO concept is designed to break the paradigm of what an electric car should look like,” said Bill Zheng, Dodge ZEO principal exterior designer. “An electric car can be as expressive as any petrol-powered vehicle. The Dodge ZEO concept proves that point – and then some.”

The system powering the Dodge ZEO concept is electric-only with a 64 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack capable of at least 250 miles. Resting in a rear-wheel drive layout, Dodge ZEO’s 200 kilowatt (268 horsepower) single-electric motor contributes to a 0-60 mph time in less than six seconds.

Looks like the green message has reached the Americans.