If Built, This Concept Could Be Chrysler’s Fresh Start

Stellantis

Chrysler is a brand in search of identity. Gone are the “Imported from Detroit” days of the twenty-teens when the brand sold a tough-looking luxury sedan powered by an equally tough V-8. (The Chrysler 300 ended production late last year). The only vehicle currently in available in Chrysler’s fleet is the Pacifica minivan. Even though it is the best-selling minivan in the U.S., the Pacifica is showing its age, having been around since 2017. Maybe it’s time for a fresh start.

The fully electric Halcyon Concept, revealed at the Stellantis design dome in Auburn, Michigan, could be the fresh start that the brand needs—if it makes production.

The Halcyon is Chrysler’s latest step toward a new brand direction dubbed “Harmony in Motion.” CEO Chris Feuell describes the new tagline as “a fully electric tomorrow through new technology suites from Stellantis that integrate with simple and pure aerodynamic design and a seamless, connected and immersive cockpit experience.”

Let’s break that statement down.

Chrysler’s goal is to feature an all-electric portfolio by 2028, with its first pure EV set to debut in 2025. This timeframe falls in line with the Stellantis Dare Forward 2030 initiative, in which Chrysler’s corporate parent aims to reduce its carbon emissions by 50 percent and to increase its U.S. sales of battery-electric vehicles by the same percentage. Better yet, Stellantis already has a newly engineered platform to fit the Halcyon if a version of the concept makes production—the STLA Large platform that underpins the upcoming Dodge Charger Daytona SRT. However, some of the other EV technology Chrysler is showcasing in this concept, like inductive wireless charging built into roads and 800V lithium-sulfur batteries, simply isn’t scalable yet.

Chrysler Halcyon Concept
Stellantis

Next are the technology suites and cockpit experience, which are about as ready for prime time as the wireless on-road charging. The Halcyon boasts “a dimmable glass canopy and windshield that can turn opaque with seats laid back for a unique augmented-reality Stargazing Mode.” A computer-generated video showed how directions, text messages, and the aforementioned Stargazing Mode could be projected onto the windshield.

Stellantis

If any of those sound like dangerous distractions while driving, well, you may be relieved to know the car will be driving itself. The Halcyon includes the STLA AutoDrive technology platform, which will allow for Level 4 autonomous driving (full hands off the wheel, but only in specified locations). Today, there are no commercially available Level 4 autonomous systems on cars, but in the future, who knows. The STLA AutoDrive system allows for the Halcyon’s party trick, a fold-away steering wheel.

The interior is reminiscent of an ergonomic chair from Herman Miller rather than a Corinthian leather couch. It features sustainable materials like recycled fabrics and PET plastic, and more interestingly, crushed-up CDs that make up the redesigned Chrysler wing logo. Despite the coach doors and gullwing canopy, ingress into the rear seats is tricky and headroom is at a premium. But, hey, it is a concept car.

The Halcyon really has nothing in common with any of Chrysler’s outgoing designs, and that’s on purpose. “We tried to start over, so we didn’t pull too much from the past,” said Irina Zavatski, vice president of Chrysler Design. The aggressive stance and low roofline stun in person. The windshield glass seems to almost reach into the Charger Daytona SRT–like front air-blade. The surfacing is simple but well-refined. My only criticism of the design is that the front and rear light bars aren’t very expressive.

Chrysler may have been at a loss for direction recently, but this new design shows that the brand is looking to the future. However, as our EV and autonomous future seems to stall, we’ll see if this new, electrified vision of Chrysler’s future pans out.

 

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Comments

    The Chevy Volt concept looked far more “production ready” than this thing, and look how much it was compromised to be realized…

    It’s pretty easy for Chrysler to be “100% EV” when they offer no lineup –just saying.

    Used market minivans have been a part of my life the last bit. Chrysler Town & Country were nicer, but still just a Caravan with lipstick and leather. Pacifica’s reviews suggest they are a step up, but Chrysler has struggled to find a niche outside of the 300 for decades. Minivan isn’t really an aspirational or brand-defining luxury segment either.

    The Corinthian leather Cordoba’s were a success, but the hangover of K-car Fifth Avenues is hard to kick in the market prestige area (and I enjoy/appreciate K cars, they aren’t Cadillacs though).

    Look at the Lincoln brand example and look at what Chrysler’s of the last 40 years are appreciating in value: Crossfires, 300s… and steal the Prowler as it’s pricing and intent would have been better served as a Chrysler Badge rather than Plymouth. Keep the lux van and there you go, 4 model (at most) lineup.

    The only thing missing in that car is the tailgate, 4-wheel drive, and suspension raised up 3 feet. It does have the extra-long sliding back door though. The American car companies have still failed to realize that we don’t all want trucks, or vans made from trucks. The Japanese, Koreans, and Chinese can sell all the cars they can pump out. It’s no wonder that the Japanese and Koreans give a lot of money to charity, because they can sell us $18,000 cars for $28,000. Is it any wonder why Detroit factories and neighborhoods have been converted to farmland.

    Could be Chryslers “Fresh Start”….that could not be further from the truth.
    No one is drinking the EV Kool-Aid.
    From the Wall Street Journal.

    The Six Months That Short-Circuited the Electric-Vehicle Revolution
    Automakers went all in on battery power, but buyers have proven more hesitant…….

    Stellantis is not exactly in very good shape and Chrysler is not a major priority for them. The lack of real investment outside of Ram. Jeep and some quick money performance models that are being discontinued.

    This car is 85% concept and would never pass many of the laws for crash or more.

    EV will grow but it will be slow and until batteries get cheaper people will be reluctant. Only the coming laws that will force them will push them into the market. But even then they may be a tough sell and the automakers will struggle.

    Stellantis and Ford both are being crushed with shortages for money already.

    Hybrids will not save the day either.

    This concept reminds me of the kinds of cars you would see in movies about the future. The design is quite cohesive and future-forward. Even ditching the concept-only features like the AR windshield, if Chrysler can package a usable vehicle in a design close to this, they’d have a winner. Of course, I’m probably dreaming just as much as the designers. 🙂

    Did Chrysler think they needed to show that they have not forgotten what a passenger car is?

    It is a shame that this is what Chrysler Design thinks is their best showing when compared to the numerous outstanding concept cars done under Tom Gale’s leadership. They should be capable of doing far better.

    The market is about to start picking losers now that so much of the market is about to be EV. Chrysler is so late to EVs. Can they be saved by a high-priced sports car? I see some problems.

    One, everyone wants SUVs these days and Chrysler is best known for trucks and SUVs anyway.

    Two, Chryslers tech is behind Tesla’s, and everyone else’s frankly. Their charging will be slower, their battery too big, their range too short, and their acceleration slowest in class.

    Three, actually, that about covers it. If Chrysler can break open the electrified truck market with the PHEV Ram, great! Finally an electrified truck with towing range! (We hope) That COULD be a winner for Chrysler. But Ford already has their PHEV Ranger on the way. We’ll see…

    I’m very concerned Chrysler’s final bankruptcy looms on the horizon of the EV revolution.

    When designers are trying too hard, the result often ends up becoming ridiculous. I’ve yet to see an EV design I really like, Rivian comes close (maybe lose those oval headlamps) Polestar, sort of ok. The Cyber truck is just stupid, the Ford EV truck is made to look like…..a Ford 150, (gee, how imaginative). Honda has something that looks like Deiter Rams influenced it – not necessarily bad but it’s a car not an appliance. One can go on and on.

    Me, I like to drive, it’s part of the journey. Surely it is possible to design something to get you from here to there in a cost-effective decent looking ride. I’m waiting…

    After reading this comment yesterday, I actually paid attention and saw TWO Rivians on the road into town. How did I know what they were? By the oval headlamps, of course. Absent those, I’d likely not have been able to I.D. them from the crowd. Are they silly looking lights? IMO, yes, absolutely. But without them, the truck is just, well…meh is the word that comes to mind.

    I did say ‘maybe’. I always went for sleepers and prefer to blend in. If I was to have an EV pickup, I’d take the Rivian and tolerate the headlamps, even moreso if they made a 2 door regular cab. ‘Doubt it’s in the cards though.

    I was always a Mopar guy through and through but only with their pre-1975 vehicles. When your best ideas are more than 50 years old, you are way past due for some innovation.

    Rear end looks like a Hyundai Elantra and a Porsche 911 came together, side fender notch of a BMW and front end of a McLaren. Not very original in my eyes.

    Yawn. Not something they can build in it’s current concept guise. Throw a hellcat in it and call me when that is ready.

    Don’t love it, don’t hate it (except for those horrible table saw wheels).
    There’s something not right, no cohesiveness.

    “If any of those sound like dangerous distractions while driving, well, you may be relieved to know the car will be driving itself.”

    I can think of nothing that would “distract” me more than thinking that the car will be “driving itself”.

    I’m with you.
    As a former Driving Instructor, I’d again be hyper-aware when not in full control. Look out, blood pressure.

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