Chrysler’s B-segment concept—the Dodge Hornet—debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March. Mere months after its debut, Chrysler Design’s summer internship participants were given the job of developing a B-segment brand tailored to the tastes of the youth market. Called “Envi”—a word created from the first four letters of the words “envious,” “envision,” and “environment”—it is a lineup built around a common architecture and off-the-shelf componentry. Is Chrysler planning an assault on this segment with a raft of vehicles that share the same 59.8-in. front and rear tracks, 68.8-in. width, and—in all but one case—a 105-in. wheelbase? Probably not, though the project has allowed it to gather ideas from designers who are the same age as the target buyer.
Designer: Taryn Dyle, University of Cincinnati
Engineer: Luke Beno, Michigan Technological University
Vehicle: An environmentally conscious urban commuter with an integrated wheel/suspension/electric drive unit at each corner powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. Flexible conduits and integrated wire paths allow easy interior customization. Despite its 158-in. length, it has the interior room of a C-segment car.
Designer: Casey Swanseger, Cleveland Institute of Art
Engineer: Andy Stewart, Michigan State University
Vehicle: Described as “a definition of luxury for a new generation,” the Luxe sports a panoramic roof that travels from the hood to rear window and has a coating that goes from clear to opaque in the presence of an electric current. The variable-geometry turbo-diesel engine comes from the European model of the Caliber and drives the rear wheels of this BMW 1 Series competitor.
Designer: Winnie Cheung, Art Center College of Design
Engineer: Nick Kohut, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Vehicle: It looks like a miniature version of the Chrysler Firepower concept, and had the designers at Chrysler intrigued. The 99-in. wheelbase makes this rear-drive two-seater more nimble, the E85-capable Caliber SRT-4 powertrain keeps it green, and the Viper-based front suspension and steering are probably overkill.
Designer: Inhoe (Sean) Kim, Art Center College of Design Engineer: Adam Zemke, Michigan State University
Vehicle: This is a vehicle designed for maximum interior space and a minimal footprint. A thermo-electric exhaust header wrap produces electricity, while a converging nozzle under the hood is used to accelerate air to 100 mph and drive an 87% efficient turbine. Both are used to power the accessories and recharge the hybrid drive’s ultra-capacitors. A storage rack folds out from under the rear bumper when needed.