The 2008 Dodge ZEO was conceived in a world of $150-per-barrel oil in 2006 and 2007, when the full electrification of the car seemed inevitable. The freedom to run a flat-pack of Li-Ion batteries in the floor of the vehicle offered Dodge a chance to break out of typical packaging constraints.
We see some great elements in the ZEO, including its finished four-seat cabin and spectacular doors. But the design is a bit busier than the Dodge ideal, especially around the nose. Lack of air intakes means the ZEO and its crossbar grille just seem a bit scrunched and silly on an EV.
Alas, timing is everything.
As the ZEO rolled onto the stage of Cobo Hall in Detroit in January 2008, oil had dropped to barely $30 a barrel in the preliminary depths of the financial crisis.
This new-found freedom from EV cars put the ZEO and its EV cohorts on the Chrysler stand firmly in the "some day" fantasy folder, along with the turbine car and the hydrogen fuel cell.