Chrysler just revealed its new Halcyon Concept car, and it’s cool; it looks great, it’s filled with lots of fun gizmos, and hot damn those are some wicked doors. Now that I’ve established that I’m not a hater, I’ll tell you what I really think: For a brand with only a single model and zero fully electric offerings to be showing such a pie-in-the-sky concept vehicle with wacky features like a retractable steering wheel and an “unlimited range” powertrain — it just feels weird. It’s 2024 — Tesla’s got Falcon doors, a solid semi-autonomous drive-system, and an origami truck in production; Audi and Porsche have slick sports sedans; VW resurrected the iconic Bus as an EV; and I can go on. EVs are not futuristic, they’re here now, so to see that the much-anticipated new Chrysler EV concept is so far from an actual production vehicle — it makes it seem like Chrysler is still trying to find itself. And maybe that’s just it — it’s a brand trying to figure out where to go, and the Chrysler Halcyon Concept is one stab at the right path. Let’s have a look.
“Ready to witness Chrysler revolutionize the future of mobility? Stay tuned for the reveal next week” Chrysler wrote on Instagram last week when it showed its teaser for the Halcyon. This had a number of news outlets wondering if we were finally going to get a glimpse of Chrysler’s first electric car, set to debut in 2025, now that the somewhat production feasible-looking Airflow Concept that we saw before was chosen to “evolve” instead of hit dealer lots.
Here’s what we wrote when we first saw Chrysler’s teaser of the Halcyon concept car:
Given the 18-month timeline between Dodge unveiling the Charger Daytona SRT concept and the impending debut of the production version, it would track that Chrysler is about to unveil a concept for a production car that should come to life later in 2025 for the 2026 model year.
Heres’ Carscoops on the teaser:
Designed to provide a glimpse into the brand’s all-electric future, the model is a “forward-looking” concept that likely foreshadows their first electric vehicle that is due in 2025.
In any case, it should be good news for Chrysler dealers if this concept heads for production, as their lots have been minivan-only spaces after the departure of the Chrysler 300 last year.
What we do know is that Stellantis has three EV platforms that could help this machine get to the assembly line sooner rather than later.
And here’s Autoevolution actually hypothesizing that the new concept car will actually be production-ready:
The first Chrysler EV will be unveiled in production form tomorrow and will go into production in 2025 to mark the automaker’s 100-year anniversary. It would be the first step toward a fully electric portfolio, even though it seems that Chrysler has fallen behind schedule.
It’s clear that many folks were expecting or at least hoping for something nearly ready to hit the assembly line. Just look at the third comment down on Chrysler’s teaser from last week:
Here’s another commenter excited to see the brand coming back:
But the Halcyon, built on Stellantis’ STLA Large platform (which offers battery sizes between 85 kwH and 118 kWh), is indeed “another concept” and it isn’t “more Chrysler cars” because it’s not going into production — certainly not in this form.
Let’s Look At The Styling
“Chrysler Halcyon Concept Pushes Innovative Boundaries, Offers Forward-looking Vision of Brand’s All-electric Future” is the title of Chrysler’s press release, which describes the machine’s styling and features. Let’s briefly start with the styling before I get into the bizarre features that are almost certainly never actually going to make it into production.
Like a number of Chrysler concept cars before (especially the Chrysler ME412, which sadly never made it to production), the Halcyon concept looks damn good. It’s got a wedge-shaped nose, a single horizontal front light, and gorgeous curves over the front wheels. It has a strong character line along the doors on each side, and overall it has a really sweet “fastback”-esque profile.
The fenders have a big vent-like feature just aft of the front wheels — features that “exhaust” along the side of the car. The hood also has a big aperture right at the base of the windshield; this is, I think, what Chrysler refers to as the “air blade,” saying in its press release:
A subtle-yet-functional front air blade aerodynamic pass-through area enhances performance and all-important BEV range capability. The pass-through is visible from the cockpit, providing the driver a real-world connection with the concept’s performance and functionality.
The car not only has wide-opening front doors and suicide rear doors, it also has gullwing-style roof-windows. “A warm Acrylic-tinted butterfly-hinged canopy serves as a third door for the Chrysler Halcyon Concept and works in conjunction with the red–carpet style side doors to offer spacious ingress and egress,” Chrysler writes in its press release.
The back end has a nice “widebody” look, with a simple single horizontal rear light that doesn’t really have a whole lot going on underneath it. It’s a clean rear end.
“The rear of the Chrysler Halcyon concept also carries its own unique silhouette, with a water line that emphasizes the width and shoulders of the car, and the front’s cross-car read and LED-lit Chrysler Wing logo are mirrored in the rear,” writes Chrysler.
The brand also talks about some aero features back there, writing: “The concept’s Active Aero Technology incorporates a sliding rear lower aero diffuser created from lightweight composite material, a rear spoiler and air suspension to enhance efficiency and driving dynamics.”
The inside features lots of glass. There’s a windshield that wraps quite far towards the rear of the car, there are of course the side windows, there are the upper gullwing framed windows, and there’s even a skinny little sunroof along the center of the roof running fore-aft.
“The interior of the Chrysler Halcyon Concept is an immersive environment with an almost 360-degree range of view, possessing a duality that delivers a ‘digital detox’ cockpit through stress-free autonomous features,” Chrysler says.
The brand continues, talking about sustainable interior materials and “harmony”: “The interior is intimate, natural yet futuristic, and utilizes 95 percent sustainable materials throughout to achieve not just ‘Harmony in Motion; but harmony with the planet.”
It’s hard to tell in some of the photos, but there’s a large display ahead of the steering wheel that stretches from the base of one A-pillar all the way across the car to the base of the other. Plus there’s a 15.6-inch screen in the center of the dash that can be rotated to be horizontal or vertical, and it can stow away as shown in the image directly above. The screen appears to act as the shifter, as the photos above show PRNDL along the left side.
There’s also apparently a giant footrest, with Chrysler writing: “The Chrysler Halcyon Concept eliminates the traditional instrument panel, allowing occupants to take advantage of a footrest that runs the width of the car to better relax and enjoy the view from the panoramic windshield.”
The Concept Car-y Wacky Stuff
Okay, now let’s get into the concept car-y stuff. That steering wheel? Chrysler says it folds out of the way, allowing the car to drive autonomously:
The reverse-yoke designed steering wheel folds away, with pedals also retracting when the steering wheel retracts to provide a Zen-like environment
STLA AutoDrive technology platform enables Level 4 autonomous driving features that eliminates the stress of traffic using predictive navigation. The steering wheel and pedals retract, and the dimmable glass canopy and windshield can turn opaque for privacy and to create an immersive space, such as a Stargazing Mode in which seats morph into a laid-back position while the augmented-reality windshield HUD projects information on stars and constellations.
The quote above mentions Stargazing mode. Apparently that uses the windshield head-up display to augment reality and provide astrological information as you look into the night sky:
This is all some wacky stuff, but wait, there’s more. The car can apparently scan an approaching driver’s face.
Here’s what Chrysler says about how “Facial Biometrics” works:
As the driver approaches the Chrysler Halcyon Concept, the vehicle recognizes the driver, comes to life, and provides a greeting through a Welcome Mode that uses biometric identification. Illuminated LED exterior lighting animation, personalized exterior sound features and a greeting on interior screens CHRYSLER HALCYON CONC EPT | 7 provide a warm welcome and sense of connection with the vehicle.
But it gets so much weirder:
Chrysler literally touts the Halcyon Concept as a vehicle that offers “unlimited range.” Yes, you read that right — unlimited. Here’s how Chrysler describes it on its website:
The Chrysler Halcyon Concept imagines a future that takes advantage of innovative Dynamic Wireless Power Transfer (DWPT) technology to wirelessly recharge electric vehicles (EVs) traveling over specially equipped, dedicated road lanes, allowing for unlimited range and travel from destinations such as New York to Seattle without need of charger, charge cord or charge stations. Stellantis partnered in 2022 to demonstrate the potential of DWPT technology at the “Arena del Futuro” circuit in Chiari, Italy
So those were the car’s strangest features, but there are so many other odd ones, like “Personalized Vehicle Cymatics,” which Chrysler says involves “sound and vibrations mirrored through visuals – helping to create the mood of the vehicle.” The brand goes on, writing in its release: “Different sound frequencies prompt corresponding product shapes on the console screen — calming frequencies align with a more dispersed particle pattern on the console screen, while more spirited sound frequencies generated during drive modes create energetic particle patterns that provide the driver with a real-world connection to the vehicle’s performance status. Ambient interior lighting and sounds also adjust to driver inputs and complement the cabin environment.”
Then there are the “Stow ‘N Go” seats that slide back into the cargo area:
There’s also the built-in virtual assistant:
Stellantis AI virtual assistant preps for the day, notifying the driver and the Chrysler Halcyon Concept of upcoming events
And there’s even a “breakthrough” battery apparently:
The concept also envisions incorporating breakthrough Lyten 800V lithium-sulfur EV batteries that do not use nickel, cobalt, or manganese, resulting in an estimated 60 percent lower carbon footprint than today’s best-in-class batteries and a pathway to achieve the lowest emissions EV battery on the global market. In May 2023, Stellantis Ventures, the corporate venture fund of Stellantis, announced an investment in Lyten to accelerate the commercialization of Lyten 3D Graphene applications for the mobility industry.
Chrysler Seems A Bit Lost
Suffice it to say: This car is very much a concept, with many features so strange that it’s clear they’ll never actually make it to production. I find that disappointing, though to be fair, when Chrysler first showed a teaser for the Halcyon concept, it described the vehicle as “a new, innovative concept car” whose teaser images “provide an advance look at one potential path of the brand’s all-electric future.”
So, at least in that press release, Chrysler wasn’t saying “this car is the future of our brand,” it was just saying “we might go in this direction.” It’s a potential path.
In the new press release, Chrysler states: “The Chrysler Halcyon Concept, designed on the STLA Large platform, offers an aerodynamic, streamlined, and uncompromising vision of the Chrysler brand’s future exterior character.” So basically, this is really a design concept meant to “showcase yet another design direction that the brand will take,” as Mopar Insiders put it. And look, as a design concept, I think Chrysler nailed it; the thing is cool.
But the deadline for Chrysler to actually build a car is ridiculously tight, with the brand stating in its press release:
Chrysler will launch the brand’s first battery-electric vehicle in 2025 and will feature an all-electric portfolio in 2028. The Chrysler Halcyon Concept reinforces the brand’s commitment to the Stellantis Dare Forward 2030 plan, which cultivates the electrified and more efficient propulsion systems that will enable Stellantis to cut its global carbon footprint by 50 percent by 2030 and to lead the transportation industry by achieving net carbon zero by 2038.
So Chrysler is slated to have its first fully-electric vehicle by 2025; that’s next year. And instead of showing us a production-feasible car, we get a car with a steering wheel and pedals that hide away, with “unlimited range” thanks to a silly under-floor wireless charging feature compatible with basically no roads, with a face-sensing camera, with a windshield that will show you constellations thanks to “Star Gaze” mode, with “Personal Vehicle Symatics” to give you the vibrations/visual depictions of those vibrations you need to get the right vibe in your cabin, and with a bunch of other wacky stuff.
The Chrysler Halcyon feels very much like an early concept, not one that has to inspire a bunch of EVs slated to start coming out next year.
Chrysler says in this press release where the Halcyon fits into Chrysler’s plans, writing: “The Chrysler Halcyon Concept is the latest in a steady progression of futuristic concepts representing the brand’s electrification transformation. Previously, the brand revealed the Chrysler Portal Concept in 2017, the Chrysler Airflow Concept in 2022 and the Chrysler Synthesis Cockpit Demonstrator in 2023.”
It seems like Chrysler is trying to figure out which design direction to take. Is Chrysler a bit lost?
Maybe so, but maybe, when it comes to rebuild a brand, rushing to get a vehicle into production isn’t the move. Build some concepts, figure out what the world wants, and then execute. Maybe a “steady” progression is the right one, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be a bit bummed that this Halcyon concept is so absurdly concept-y.
All Images: Chrysler