The 2008 Chrysler Ecovoyager was reportedly testing the waters for a possible Chrysler crossover, featuring the Pentastar V6 rather than the then-current 3.5 liter engine. The body was said to be based on the Dodge Challenger, so it may have been a thoroughly restyled play on the Magnum. The show car was electric, but that doesn’t mean the body was not designed for production with a conventional powertrain.
The four-door, four-passenger ecoVoyager used a lithium-ion battery pack, with a small hydrogen fuel cell for range extension to 300 miles.
Chrysler’s electric-drive systems were envisioned to be modular. Common elements were a 200-kilowatt electric motor, regenerative braking, basic electronics, and the lithium-ion battery technology. The ecoVoyager’s battery could take it for 40 miles (16 kW-hours).
By placing the front wheels of the Chrysler ecoVoyager concept farther forward than usual, designers were able to create greater interior roominess and increased legroom, especially in the rear seats.
“In some ways, true luxury is in not having to reach or search around for controls,” said Ty Stump, principal interior designer of the Chrysler ecoVoyager concept. “With the new ecoVoyager concept, we carefully placed the gauges and controls in order to reduce head and eye movement. We also achieved simplicity in the interior forms, both for visual elegance and to avoid distracting surfaces.”
The ecoVoyager’s windshield defroster and cabin air-conditioning outlets in the instrument panels and doors were invisible beneath a recessed perforated mesh. The interior, done in soft Dove Gray with warm cherry wood accents, was designed to promote a relaxed ambiance.
The Chrysler ecoVoyager’s unconventional instrument panel — carried further in the later 200C concept car — had a broad, leather-covered angled surface, slightly V-shaped in plan view and fronted by a full-width display screen set just below the windshield. The left and right outer ends contained the side-view mirror image, while a third camera image in front of the driver serves as the rearview mirror.
Only currently-needed information was displayed, and it was set up to be viewed above the steering wheel rim rather than through it (and requiring less up-down eye movement and refocusing). The front-seat passenger could see a movie without its images disturbing the driver. A slick, slide-out/retractable center console – fitted with hot-key buttons and a mouse pad – replaced the functions contained in a conventional vertical center stack.
The seat framing was exposed, with under-seat storage. Front seats had cantilevered, adjustable armrests containing the window controls and heat/massage switches; rear-seat armrests folded into the cabin back panel. The rear floor console accommodated hot or cold beverages.
A recessed area in the headliner between the two skylights contained a “Direct Sound” function which let each occupant hear their own music without disturbing the others.
The exterior designer was Greg Howell, who said:
“A lot of my inspiration came from streamlined trains, boat tail speedsters—those old dramatic and aerodynamic cars. Also the open roof is modeled after those panoramic trains you can take through the desert and mountains that have panoramic upper decks that allow you to see the sky. I left the roof open with just this center spine running down it. It's a play on a Chrysler cue—you see a center spine on the 300C or a Sebring—but this is the ultimate center spine because this is where the satellite navigation and vehicle networking take place. The center spine also becomes the center, high-mounted stop lamp, otherwise known as the CHMSL. The open roof was done specifically to make the car feel as open as possible and to complement the cavernous interior.”
Tyonek Stump added:
“I looked at the interior from a functionality standpoint first, then aesthetic — employing a kind of aquatic design language: tension and flow, resonance and cool luminescence. We really tried to optimize the space, but instead of devoting the space to cargo, we devoted it to individual luxury. To me, ultimate luxury means not having to move. So I tried to limit head movement by using a panoramic display up front with all the driver information and entertainment in one area. Also integrated into that monitor are the rear view mirrors. It's all right in front of you so you don't have to turn your head to look over your shoulder.”
The company claimed a 0-60 time of 8.8 seconds, with a quarter mile in 12.9 seconds and a top speed of 115 mph.
Other concept cars at allpar
Concept cars are often made so a car’s feel can be evaluated, problems can be foreseen, and reactions of the public can be judged. Some concepts test specific ideas, colors, controls, or materials — either subtle or out of proportion, to hide what’s being tested. Some are created to help designers think “out of the box.” The Challenger, Prowler, PT Cruiser, and Viper were all tested as production-based concepts dressed up to hide the production intent.
Concept cars • popular: Firepower • Tomahawk • ME412 • Mighty FC • Gladiator
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