In the race toward electrification, Chrysler is late to the game – and scrambling to catch up to an increasingly saturated market. Chrysler unveiled its first pure-electric vehicle, the Airflow Concept, at the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, with plans to deliver its first production battery-electric vehicle by 2025. Chrysler’s future goals are even more ambitious – aiming to have a full all-electric lineup by 2028. By contrast, many manufacturers already have BEVs on the road with more coming down the pipeline soon from Volkswagen, Nissan, Ford, BMW, and new EV players like Rivian, Lucid, and Imperium – to name a few.
The move is part of a bigger commitment from parent company Stellantis, the world’s fourth-largest auto maker. Stellantis plans to invest 30-billion euros ($43-billion) through 2025 on new EVs and technologies across its 14 brands, which include Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, RAM and Maserati. “The Chrysler Airflow Concept represents the start of Chrysler’s revitalization as we intend to transform clean mobility and seamlessly connected customer experiences,” said Chris Feuell, Chrysler CEO, during the CES digital unveil.
By that point, the EV market will be saturated with new entries. General Motors, for example, plans to introduce 30 new global electric vehicles by 2025 including the all new Hummer EV, in truck and SUV forms, the all-electric Silverado pickup truck, and Cadillac Lyriq. Volkswagen is expanding its all-electric ID family with not just the ID.4, but ID.6, ID.8 three-rowed SUV, and the ID.Buzz van. Hyundai will have the Ioniq5 and a three-rowed Ioniq7. And then there’s the leader of the pack with Tesla and its big plans for a Cybertruck, a roadster, a supercar, and a less expensive US$25,000 electric car – all before 2025.
The Chrysler Airflow Concept is a four-door crossover SUV with seating for four. It has all-wheel-drive capability and is powered by two 150 kWh electric drive motors, one in the front and one in the rear. The battery is expected to deliver approximately 560 – 640 kilometres of range on a single charge as well as fast-charging capabilities. Details on the battery pack capacity and horsepower haven’t been released.
Penned by Stellantis’s chief design officer Ralph Gilles, the Airflow Concept has a sleek, streamlined look with a low-ride height, wide track, and a slightly sloping roofline. Attractive design cues include a massive panoramic roof, beefy 22-inch wheels and tires, and an updated twist on Chrysler’s famed wing logo at the front, which blends into a horizontal light blade illuminated with crystal LED lighting. Similarly, at the rear, the lighting motif continues with a crystal LED tail light running the width of the vehicle. It gives this concept a cohesive, distinctive look that’s instantly recognizable.
The cabin is spacious and futuristic with large screens in the front and rear. The driver has access to a large centre infotainment screen; while the front passenger has his or her own display screen on the right and the two rear-seat passengers have individual entertainment systems attached to the back of the front headrests. The layout and technology are designed to create a connectivity hub on the road so passengers can connect their personal and work lives seamlessly in one spot. The screens can be customized and personalized to access a number of features including the navigation system, entertainment features, apps and downloads. Information on the screens can be shared with all passengers, too. Each seat even has a built-in camera, so passengers can participate in a group video conference call from the cabin. And the backbone of the user experience, which is the new electrical and electronic hardware and software dubbed STLA Brain by Chrysler, enables over-the-air software updates and Level 3 semi-autonomous driving capabilities, which will also be upgradable via over-the-air updates.
The interior is like no other Chrysler. It’s filled with upscale touches including a circular crystalized start-stop button, cool ambient lighting, a unique flat-bottomed and flat-topped steering wheel, and perforated slim seats, covered in vegetable-tanned leather. Recycled materials are also used in the floor mats, fabric and carpeting in the cabin and cargo area for a more sustainable image moving forward. While the gloss black screens are a stark contrast to the Arctic White interior body, it’s a nice, unexpected modern look that gives it a more premium feel, not expected in a Chrysler.
For now, Chrysler only has one plug-in vehicle, the Pacifica hybrid minivan, on the road so it has a lot riding on the Airflow Concept and its plans for an all-electric future.