For the past several years, the future of the Chrysler brand has been in question. What will happen to the 96-year-old American brand that was the namesake of one of Detroit’s Big-3 automakers? Well, that question was answered today with the first public unveiling of the all-new Chrysler Airflow Concept at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada.
After teasing us at the CES 2020 show with a technology “buck” or mock-up of the Airflow, then again by showcasing it at the Company’s EV Day and Software Day 2021 presentations, with little or no information, we are finally seeing the future direction of the Chrysler brand with today’s introduction. Looking like it is production-ready, the Airflow Concept showcases a lot of the technology we have seen in a number of production-oriented Chrysler Group vehicles like the all-new Grand Wagoneer (WS) and Jeep® Grand Cherokee (WL).
The Chrysler Airflow Concept also gives us a look at some of the technologies we will be seeing on other Stellantis vehicles in the very near future. Technologies like STLA AutoDrive to deliver Level 3 autonomous driving capabilities, which will also be upgradable via Over-The-Air (OTA) updates and 350- to 400-miles of battery range and fast-charging functionality.
Chrysler’s new CEO, Christine Feuell, announced that the Chrysler brand will offer its first battery-electric vehicle (BEV) by 2025 and the brand will make the commitment to feature an all-electric portfolio by 2028. “The Chrysler Airflow Concept represents the future direction of the Chrysler brand, providing a peek at the dynamic design, advanced technologies, and seamless connectivity that will characterize the full-electric portfolio we plan to reach by 2028,” Feuell said. “Chrysler is an iconic American automotive brand, with a heritage in creating new advanced technologies and product segments. Our brand will serve at the forefront as Stellantis transforms to deliver clean mobility and connected customer experiences.”
The Chrysler Airflow Concept –
As we said earlier, the Airflow Concept looks production-ready. Chrysler has shown off several all-electric concepts before, but this is the most polished. As far as the first Chrysler BEV to be released, Chrysler will not say if it will be the Airflow. But we strongly believe with the money, time, and focus the brand has shown in 2-years to stay on a similar course since that original technology buck was shown, there is a high chance that a production version of the Airflow is getting ready for development testing soon.
(Don’t get confused with all the STLA references we will be making, we find them completely silly as well).
The Airflow Concept is based on the STLA Large architecture, the same architecture that will underpin the future Dodge Challenger (LB) and Dodge Charger (LF) muscle cars. With an all-wheel-drive (AWD) layout, the Airflow Concept is powered by two 150 kW (201 horsepower) electric drive motors (EDMs), one in the front and one in the rear. Although 402 horsepower might not sound like a lot, the platform is capable of accommodating larger capacity EDMs, allowing for potential high-performance applications. Instead, the Airflow Concept is more about efficiency. The Airflow Concept is capable of 350- to 400-miles of range on a single charge.
With the drive motors located towards the front and rear of the vehicle, the Chrysler design team looked at maximizing the vehicle’s interior space. The Airflow Concept sticks with a 5-passenger interior layout that is designed as a “space to bring people together, both physically and virtually”.
Technology & Connectivity –
Using “STLA Brain” (a new name for the automaker’s new electrical/electronic (E/E) and software architecture) and STLA SmartCockpit (which integrates different AI-based applications, such as navigation, voice assistance, an e-commerce marketplace, and payment services), the Airflow Concept offers a fast, intuitive, and always updating user experience. The interior showcases ideas for every passenger with a personalized experience that connects them with their digital lives, as well as the other passengers. And just when you thought you couldn’t get the kids off of their cellphones and tablets.
The Airflow Concept user experience employs multi-layered, high-contrast graphics and thoughtful details to provide a clean, sophisticated appearance that is safe, easy to use, and easy to understand. Something we have come to expect from the automaker’s current Uconnect software.
Using a menu-based format, screens throughout the Airflow interior can be personalized, simplified, and grouped based on individuals and interests. Information on the screens can be shared with all passengers by swiping. Customization and personalization are key, whether driving or acting as a co-pilot. Each screen is a personalized space to access the digital world via connected entertainment, apps, and downloads. Each seat also features a built-in camera, enabling occupants to participate in a group video conference call from the comfort of the Airflow cabin.
OTA updates keep Airflow Concept services current and let passengers quickly and easily add new and innovative features. That functionally keeps the vehicle fresh, exciting, and capable, enhancing the overall ownership experience.
The Future Of Chrysler’s Design Language –
“The Chrysler Airflow Concept represents the start of the brand’s journey toward a fully electrified future. It is the result of a thoughtful synthesis of the full arsenal of Stellantis’ connected vehicle technology – inside and out,” said Ralph Gilles, Chief Design Officer for Chrysler / Dodge / Jeep / Ram / Maserati / FIAT Latin America. “The design features a decisively elegant aerodynamic exterior and a modern, sophisticated interior that takes the customer on a new level of digital delight.”
The Airflow Concept is more evolution of the sculptural Chrysler design language we have seen in the brand’s more recent vehicles dating back to the 2015 Chrysler 200 Series. The Airflow Concept gives the design theme a more modern interpretation thanks to newer design themes like dynamic design proportion. This is expressed in elements like a lower ride height, due to its two-tone roof (which we have seen on a number of Jeep vehicles recently) and larger 22-inch wheel and tire package, which allow the vehicle to look sleeker and lower.
The concept also helps push the Chrysler design language forward, thanks to its new exterior lighting aesthetic. At the front of the vehicle, the vehicle introduces a new Chrysler wing logo that is centered and works as a focal point for a new crystalized LED “light blade” that runs the entire width of the front end. A crystalized LED taillight also runs the full width of the vehicle, giving the Airflow a wider stance. The light from the new crystalized LED elements is enhanced in the dark, in part of the vehicle’s Arctic White exterior color.
Like the all-new Grand Wagoneer, the Airflow Concept offers a new welcome, departure, and animated lighting sequences. A unique “Aqua” color helps to tell the driver of the vehicle’s charging status.
Using the nameplate of the iconic Chrysler produced from 1934 to 1937, the modern interpretation uses aerodynamics to help enhance its efficiency. The diffuser shape of the lower rear fascia highlights the aerodynamic, smooth underbody, a key to achieving optimum driving range.
Inside the vehicle, the spacious interior is showcased in a color palette of calming and light accents. Chrysler’s design team thought of creating an open lounge-like area to offer a comfortable and relaxing space between work and home. With the help of a panoramic roof, the interior is quite open compared to many vehicles in its segment.
Surrounded in technology, there are plenty of piano black surfaces inside of the Airflow Concept’s interior. Due to being a fingerprint nightmare, it is something we wish Chrysler and the rest of the Stellantis brands would love away from.
Seating uses a unique slim structure that rests on a pedestal base, enhancing comfort and roominess while allowing for maximum legroom, shoulder space, and personal storage for each passenger. We also love the fact that the Airflow Concept integrates individualized climate controls near the C-shaped air slots. Soft leather-wrapped seats help achieve a lighter, smoother atmosphere. Materials, including vegetable-tanned leather, as well as floor mats, fabric, and carpeting made of recycled materials, imagine a future of sustainable design. Both the seating and the climate control options help take the Airflow Concept way from being a “parts bin” design and push the interior design forward.
Like the all-new Grand Wagoneer and Grand Cherokee L, there is ambient lighting that reveals itself in direct lines, through perforations in the upper door bolsters and a cascade of light spilling out from under the armrests in all four doors. The lighting syncs to the mood of the interior and changes based on the passengers’ preferences and the content on the displays.
Overall, we think Chrysler is on the right track with the Airflow Concept. We just wish the brand wasn’t ditching internal combustion engines (ICEs) entirely, as we still aren’t keen on the whole complete jump to electric yet here in North America. Show us improved range, fast charging solution in par with time with refueling your ICE vehicle, and a cross-country power grid capable of embracing such a dynamic turn without affecting our wallets. Then just maybe, we will jump with both feet on the bandwagon.
We hope that the Chrysler Airflow Concept and vehicles like it will continue to move BEVs on par with their ICE counterparts.
2022 Chrysler Airflow Concept Image Gallery: