The 2008 Dodge ZEO -- Zero Emissions Operation – concept vehicle is a four-passenger, all-electric, “2+2” sport wagon that embraces the bold, emotional characteristic of the Dodge brand. With its 23-inch wheels-to-the corners, heroic proportions and muscular forms, the ZEO exhibits a new youthful breed of muscle-machine interface.
“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 gasoline-powered vehicle. The Dodge ZEO concept proves that point – and then some.”
Trevor Creed said, “With its heroic proportions, muscular forms and 23-inch wheels pushed to the corners, ZEO represents a new, youthful breed of performance machine.”
Lou Rhodes, president of Chrysler’s advanced propulsion unit, ENVI, said, “ZEO not only looks fast, it is with performance that is perfectly aligned with the Dodge brand. ZEO stands for ‘Zero Emissions Operation’ because it is a battery electric vehicle with 250 miles of all-electric range. Power is delivered to the rear wheels using the shared 200 kW (268 hp) electric motor. The combination of an all-aluminum vehicle structure and more than 250 hp at the wheels accelerates ZEO from 0-60 in less than six seconds. That’s HEMI territory.” The Dodge Zeo uses a 64 kW-hour lithium-ion battery pack.
Unlike other such vehicles, ZEO is a four-door, four-passenger vehicle that delivers function as well as environmental responsibility.
Length: 172.8 inches (4390 mm);
Width at H-point: 68.6 inches (1743 mm)
Height: 50.8 inches (1290 mm);
Wheelbase: 109.9 inches (2792 mm)
Nestled between the robust circular wheel arches, ZEO’s taut, elongated beltline ends with the signature Dodge kick-up at the rear, where the reverse-angle C-pillar is planted directly over the rear wheel arch.
Inspired in part by the architecture of a Möbius strip, Dodge ZEO’s rakish A-pillars curve into extended roof rails that twist and converge as they race rearward. The windshield glass continues in an unbroken, curving plane nearly to the rear of the car, giving both front and rear passengers an unimpeded, all-around view while showcasing ZEO’s inventive interior.
Other expressive details include “scissor” doors, front and rear lamps treated as separate sculptural forms, and the “ZEO Orange” and dark silver exterior.
“The lit crossbar grille,” says Zheng, “is designed to communicate the use of electricity as the ZEO’s power source.”
“The Dodge ZEO concept is an example of designing for people who are used to a dynamic lifestyle and who are surrounded with information and virtual friends at all times,” says Lou Gasevski, principal interior designer of the Dodge ZEO concept.
The entire cabin is treated as if it were a single piece of sculpture. A broad sloping fabric-wrapped surface in front of the driver curves dramatically into the door and quarter panel. It then sweeps around the back panel to the opposite side quarter and door, ending in a sloping surface in front of the passenger. This design approach blends the usually separate-looking parts of the interior into a unified whole. A narrow strip of blue LED accent lighting on the doors and quarters lead to the back panel, adding to the sweeping effect. Most of the interior surfaces of the ZEO concept are colored in Super White, adding to the sculptural impression.
A slim center console slopes down from the windshield of the Dodge ZEO, creating a dual-cockpit effect. It then levels off to divide the cabin by continuing clear to the back panel. To avoid visual clutter, customary controls and a viewing screen are set flush with the surface.
Instead of a conventional instrument panel, the steering wheel, column and instruments are treated as a single freestanding design element. The Dodge ZEO concept’s steering wheel has two vertical spokes, set closely together, leaving 80 percent of the rim “open” for maximum visibility. The laid-back center hub, containing the driver air bag and auxiliary switches, is stationary, with the wheel rim revolving around it. Left and right horizontal paddle-levers just behind the wheel rim activate the remote radio functions.
The sloping plane of the center hub, which cantilevers forward above the steering column, houses the instruments which are displayed on a thin blue acrylic viewing screen set directly in front of the driver. The entire elegant multi-piece ensemble adjusts with the wheel rim to the driver’s needs.
Doors and quarters are bisected by a flaring, wide-to-narrow dark gray panel separating the upper and lower surfaces – with the lower portion of the door and quarter curving inboard to provide an armrest surface. Milled aluminum door pull handles, placed diagonally, act as accents.
Contrasting colored Copperhead stitching follows the forms of the ZEO’s Super White leather seats. For maximum comfort, the four bucket seats sport highly-contoured bolsters on the seat cushions and backs. When in the down position, the slim sculpted headrests nestle neatly into the tops of the upper seatbacks. The seat shells are constructed from milled aluminum, with video screens integrated into the front seatbacks.
With its bold exterior and curving, sculptural interior, the ZEO concept appeals to Dodge brand customers who want value, expressive design and useful technology.
Weight/GVWR 2650 lbs./3400 lbs.
Length 172.8 inches/4390mm
Width at H-point 68.6 inches/1743mm
Height 50.8 inches/1290mm
Wheelbase 109.9 inches/2792mm
Couple 1-2 29.2 inches/742mm
Front overhang 32.8 inches/832mm
Rear overhang 30.1 inhces/765mm
Track front/rear 64.1 inches/1628mm 65.8 inches/1671mm
Approach angle 10.2 degrees
Departure angle 24.6 degrees
Turn circle 40 feet/12.2m
Maximum width 76.5 inches/1944mm
Rear wheel drive
Suspension Front – SLA; Rear – SLA
Tire size front P225/40R23x8 30.1 inches/764mm
Tire size rear P255/40R23x9 31.0 inches/788mm
0-60 mph 5.7 seconds
Standing ¼ mile 11.0 seconds
Top speed 130 mph
All-electric range 250 miles
Equivalent mpg 120 mpg
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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.
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