Luxury Cars

The Chrysler Halcyon EV Concept aims to redefine an independent brand

Over the past two years, Chrysler has released more concept vehicles than it has sold actual models. In 2024 the brand will be 99 years old The 300 sedan was discontinued, so there is only one model left, the venerable Pacifica minivan. Coinciding with the downsizing, Chrysler unveiled its third concept in as many years on Tuesday, the beautiful Chrysler Halcyon.

It’s a strange time for Chrysler. Like its predecessors, the Halcyon was scheduled to premiere at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, as Chrysler did with the Airflow Concept in 2022 and the Synthesis cabin concept in 2023. This year, Chrysler had to pull out because parent company Stellantis pulled the plug on all auto shows and shows for 2024. Looks like they picked the wrong week to stop messing around with concept cars.

Chrysler Halcyon concept

Chrysler Halcyon concept

What is the Chrysler Halcyon Concept?

That’s a shame, because the Halcyon is a stunning four-door electric coupe with barn doors and a windshield that extends further than George Jetson’s commute to Spacely Sprockets. Literally, the glass dome takes up 45% of the interior surround, and the front part of the hourglass shape of the glass roof slopes down so far that it ends behind the front axle. What remains of the hood is an air wing or open air chamber that allows air to flow over the windshield. It’s a similar view of the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Banshee Concept, but Dodge calls their air blade an R-Wing. Instead of a hood scoop, it’s like a hood tunnel.

However, this is not a muscle car. The flowing sedan with butterfly roof wings is a luxurious technological showpiece and a far cry from the 2022 Airflow Concept. This production-ready electric crossover will likely look a lot like that battery-electric crossover scheduled for 2025.

“The Airflow concept was developed before we reformulated the brand positioning,” Chrysler brand CEO Chris Feuell said at a media briefing in late January. “It was a good start, but we knew we could push things a little edgier and more technical, and I think what you see here with the Halcyon Concept represents the future design direction of the brand, and you’ll see a lot of that.” similar references in future products.”

The most obvious clue will be the new Chrysler brand logo, which looks like a staple with a smile. It’ll debut on the refreshed Chrysler Pacifica, Feuell told me, but on the Halcyon it’s enlightened for the electric age.

Chrysler Halcyon concept

Chrysler Halcyon concept

The concept is all about light, from the low front end that would shake your leg better than Cobra Kai, to the muscular rear spoiler that would attract the attention of Sir Mix-a-Lot. A Botoxed upper lip pouts over a pronounced underbite that sits four inches off the ground, with the blade of air flowing between them. Air also flows out through extractors behind the 22-inch wheels shod with 255/35R Pirelli tires, and the five-spoke wheel design looks like a running man on fire, its spoke tips elegant. The body shape fits between the wheels, mirroring the hourglass shape a bird can see from above.

The Halcyon is low, long and as breathtaking as it gets.

The single-hinged barn doors open wide enough, but then a third part, a butterfly-hinged window, folds up into the sky so you can actually get in. Climb over a wide window sill and crane your head to get into the front seat, but even at 5’7, I would have had to bend like a teenager during a lecture to close the butterfly window and leave.

The Halcyon isn’t going anywhere, but the near-360-degree dome visibility gives way to a unique openness appreciated by vehicle designers.

Chrysler Halcyon concept

Chrysler Halcyon concept

“(Concept vehicles) really take the handcuffs off, open this up and say what if, what if not just a few years down the road, but what if many years in the future,” said Ryan Nagode, vice president and principal Interior design at Stellantis.

The glass roof can serve as a projection screen for on-the-go meetings when the car is driving itself, or it can be used to connect the dots of constellations and other interactive activities on a family road trip, Chrysler suggested. The headliner that covers the crossbars and sides of the canopy is made from 73% recycled water bottles. Sitting back might be more welcome than sitting down and driving.

How does the Halcyon Concept help Chrysler?

More practically, it’s about how Stow ‘n Go seats could be redesigned for the floor of an electric vehicle occupied by a full battery. The rear seat bases in the 2+2 skeleton layout could be pushed back into the hatch so that the seat bases then sit flush with the backrest and free up the floor for storage, similar in concept to the incomparable Stow ‘n Go seats in the floor of the Fold in the Chrysler Pacifica.

The Halcyon could spawn an electric minivan.

Chrysler Halcyon concept

Chrysler Halcyon concept

“I said we are transitioning our portfolio to fully battery electric vehicles,” Feuell said, pointing to Chrysler’s 2028 goal for all-electric vehicles. “So this definitely suggests that we are bringing a BEV minivan to market.”

The Halcyon also synthesizes the cockpit concept of 2023, including the STLA brain. The brain consists of the hardware and software components that make up the infotainment, which is displayed on the retractable 15.6-inch portrait touchscreen in the Halcyon, as well as the brand’s semi-autonomous driving system and AI interface that controls the preferences the driver learns over time. All of this is expected to launch with the 2025 Chrysler BEV and then expand to other Stellantis vehicles.

Another component of the Halcyon that is ready for series production is its STLA Large platform. STLA is the ticker symbol for the 14 global brands that make up Stellantis and is affectionately known as Stella Large.

Stella Large is one of four multi-dimensional powertrain platforms and will support eight models launched over the next two years. These are mid-size crossover SUVs and possibly sedans with a maximum length of 201.8 inches. That’s about five centimeters less than the current three-row Chrysler Pacifica and Jeep Grand Cherokee L vehicles.

STLA Large platform

STLA Large platform

There will be 400 and 800 volt versions, but the Halcyon doesn’t give us much insight into that functionality.

Chrysler said it is envisioning a breakthrough fast-charging technology using Lyten’s 800-volt lithium-sulfur batteries that do not use nickel, manganese or cobalt. Chrysler claims the unproven (on a mass scale) battery chemistry enables fast charging of up to 200 miles in 5 minutes and reduces the carbon footprint by 60% compared to lithium-ion battery packs.

Chrysler is also planning wireless street charging systems in certain cities across the country. Details about how this works are sparse.

“This is a concept vehicle and it integrates technologies that are on the horizon in our long-range plans,” Feuell said.

Christine Feuell

Christine Feuell

The more immediate plans do not include an internal combustion engine, although plans are changing.

“No ICE is planned for future products,” said Feuell. “It is important for Chrysler to make the difference as the situation and demand changes. Then STLA Large is multidimensional and has ICE, PHEV and BEV options.”

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