Chrysler Halcyon EV Concept aims to redefine a stray brand

In the past two years, Chrysler has launched more concept vehicles than models it actually sells. In 2024, the 99-year-old brand discontinued the 300 sedan, leaving it with one model, the venerable Pacifica minivan. Simultaneously with the paring down, Chrysler on Tuesday launched its third concept in as many years with the gorgeous Chrysler Halcyon.

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

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 front windshield that extends further than George Jetson’s commute to Spacely Sprockets. Quite literally, the glass dome comprises 45% of the interior surround, and the front part of the glass roof’s hourglass shape dips so far down that it ends beyond the front axle. What remains of the hood is an air blade, or an open aero chamber that lets air flow over the windshield. It’s a similar take on 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.  

This is no muscle car, however. The flowing sedan with butterfly roof wings is a luxurious technological showpiece and a far cry from the 2022 Airflow Concept. That production-ready electric crossover will likely look a lot like the battery electric crossover set for 2025. 

“The Airflow Concept was developed before we reframed the brand positioning,” Chrysler brand CEO Chris Feuell explained to a media briefing at the end of January. “It was a good start, but we knew we could push things a little edgier, a little more tech forward, 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 similar cues in future product.”

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

Chrysler Halcyon Concept

 

Light rings the concept, from the low front end that would sweep the leg better than Cobra Kai to the muscular rear spoiler that would get the attention of Sir Mix-a-Lot. A botoxed upper lip pouts over a pronounced underbite sitting 4.0 inches above the ground, and between it flows the air blade. Air also flows out through extractors beyond the 22-inch wheels wrapped in 255/35R Pirelli tires, and the five-spoke wheel design looks like a running man on fire, his spokes tipped with flair. The body shape tucks in between the wheels, mirroring the hourglass shape that a bird may notice from above. 

The Halcyon is low, long, and as stunning as it is impossible. 

The single-hinge barn doors open wide enough, but then a third part, a window with a butterfly hinge, flips up to the sky so you can actually get in. Step over a wide sill and contort your head to get in the front seat, but even at 5-foot-8, I would have had to slouch like a teen during a lecture to close the butterfly window and go. 

The Halcyon’s not going anywhere, but the near 360-degree dome of vision gives way to a unique openness prized by vehicle designers.

Chrysler Halcyon Concept

“[Concept vehicles] really take the handcuffs off, opens this up, says what if, what if not only a few years down the road but what if many years in the future,” said Ryan Nagode, vice president, head of interior design at Stellantis.

The glass canopy can become a projection screen for meetings on the go when the car is driving itself, or it can be used to connect the dots of constellations and other interactivities on a  family road trip, Chrysler suggested. The headliner covering the cross braces and around the sides of the canopy is made of 73% recycled water bottles. Reclining back might be more welcome than sitting up and driving. 

How does the Halcyon Concept help Chrysler?

More practically, it brings into the fold how Stow ‘n Go seats could be reimagined for an electric vehicle floor occupied by a full battery pack. The rear seat bottoms in the 2+2 skeleton layout could be pushed back into the hatch, so the seat bottoms then become flush with the seat back and open up the floor for storage, similar in concept to the peerless Stow ‘n Go seats that fold into the floor of the Chrysler Pacifica. 

The Halcyon could birth an electric minivan.

Chrysler Halcyon Concept

“I did say that we are transforming our portfolio to be full battery electric,” Feuell explained, citing Chrysler’s target of 2028 for full BEV. “So it certainly suggests we’re coming out with a BEV minivan.”

The Halcyon also synthesizes the 2023 cockpit concept, including the STLA Brain. The brain is the hardware and software components that make up the infotainment 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 learns driver preferences over time. All of this is expected to launch with the 2025 Chrysler BEV, then expand to other Stellantis vehicles. 

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

One of four multidimensional powertrain platforms, Stella Large will underpin eight models being launched in the next two years. They will be midsize crossover SUVs and possibly sedans measuring no more than 201.8 inches in length. That’s about two inches shy of the current Chrysler Pacifica and Jeep Grand Cherokee L three-row vehicles.

STLA Large platform

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

Chrysler said it envisions breakthrough fast-charging technology with Lyten 800-volt lithium sulfur batteries that don’t use nickel, manganese, or cobalt. The unproven (on a mass scale) battery chemistry provides up to 200 miles in 5 minutes of fast-charging, Chrysler alleges, and it reduces its carbon footprint by 60% over lithium ion battery packs. 

Chrysler also envisions wireless charging road systems in certain cities across the country. Details on how this works are scant.

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

Christine Feuell

The more immediate plans don’t include an internal combustion engine, though plans change. 

“In future product, there’s not an ICE planned,” Feuell said. “It’s important for Chrysler to have that point of difference if situations change and demand changes. Then STLA Large is multidimensional and has ICE, PHEV and BEV options.”

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