In January 2016, Chrysler showed the Pacifica minivan for the first time. It is now February 2024–eight full years later—and we have not yet seen a new production car since. That does not change with the Halcyon, a concept that shows where the company plans to head in the distant future.
The Halcyon, unveiled Tuesday morning, is a handsome sedan that's designed to illustrate the brand's tagline of Harmony in Motion in one over-arching concept. It is seemingly nothing like a production car coming any time soon, an interesting choice for a brand expected to reveal its first production EV in the near future.
In theory, the Halcyon concept presented here is meant to be charged by what CEO Christine Feuell calls "innovative dynamic wireless power transfer." In other words, the car could get its power by driving over dedicated lanes that also charge the car. Thanks to 800-volt lithium-sulfur EV batteries, the Halcyon would also get to 200 miles of range in just five minutes of fast charging without the use of materials with a high lifetime carbon footprint like nickel, manganese, or cobalt.
The exterior is unique; a sleek four-door design with plenty of glass. A massive windscreen oriented toward the road highlights an exterior design that is 45 percent glass and focused on driver visibility. Innovative doors, which the brand calls "Red Carpet Entry," are meant to allow a driver to enter a low sedan with the relative ease of a larger vehicle.
Inside, the cabin is designed for both the user-controlled driving that is plausible today and theoretical future autonomous systems. That means interior functions that fold away to make the car a more welcoming space on longer road trips and augmented reality projections onto the car's glass displays. These ideas are all more theoretical than practical, and they are not exactly new to the modern autonomous concept car circuit.
If all of this feels familiar, it is. While Chrysler has not shown a new production car since 2016, the Halcyon is the brand's fourth major take on a futuristic interior in the same window. The first was a 2017 Consumer Electronics Showcase concept, a minivan with sliding doors and a yoke-like steering wheel called the Portal. The Synthesis, a cockpit demonstrator showed at CES last year, included a wide glass dashboard and no steering wheel to speak of. In between, Chrysler showed a production-like crossover called the Airflow with a completely different interior design of its own in 2022.
The Halcyon is an if, not a when. These are exciting ideas, but for most of them, it's unlikely that they'll trickle down to production any time soon. It's a collection of dreams for the future. At this moment, it's unclear how many of these dreams could come to life if the brand meets its goals and goes all-electric by 2028.
"Chrysler Halcyon Concept exemplifies Chrysler’s fully electrified future vision that embraces sustainable design and full autonomy paired with personalized driving experiences," Chrysler said in a press release. "[It] 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."
2025 marks a hundred years of Chrysler, and the plan is for a new EV to launch the brand into its second century that year. That EV will not be the Halcyon, and comments from Stellantis design icon Ralph Gilles in May 2023 suggest it will not be the Airflow EV, either. All we know is that it will be a two-row EV crossover that may or may not still resemble the Airflow, and that a separate sedan, more like a new 300 than the radical Halcyon concept, was shown to dealers in 2023. Somewhere in there, Chrysler has a new plan for the future that is more realistic than the optimistic and adventurous Halcyon concept.
Until then, Chrysler will be selling the Pacifica and only the Pacifica. It is a great minivan and one with surprising appeal on the modern marketplace, but we'd love to see more life injected into the Chrysler brand. Whatever comes next, whether that is a new production EV coming very soon or the far-flung futures the Halcyon could birth, will hopefully bring that energy.
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