Airflow Concept Presents Chrysler EV Direction
STLA SmartCockpit tech creates “oasis” cabin environment.
In a far corner of the main exhibition hall of the 2022 New York International Auto Show, its display flanked by the latest products from Ram and Jeep, Stellantis rolled out a second edition of the Chrysler Airflow Concept EV it had unveiled in January at CES 2022. This encore version, called the Airflow Graphite, provides a blacked-out counterpoint – “sinister yet sophisticated” Chrysler says – to the arctic-white Airflow revealed at CES.
Presented as the design and technology direction for the Chrysler brand’s first battery-electric entry, the Airflow is promised to make its showroom debut for 2025, a promising signal from an OEM notably short of battery-electric models. Still, the full context of this introduction to the press needs to note that just yards away, Hyundai’s in-production EVs whirred around a small-scale test track on the show floor; down the aisle, Ford had its electrics, already on sale, available for short trial runs.
The hardware details of Chrysler’s catch-up effort, which revives a 1930s nameplate and updates a 2020 concept of the same name, are sparse this far out. The announcement did reveal that the next-gen all-wheel-drive platform will carry 150 kW motors front and rear and deliver a claimed range of up to 400 miles (644 km). Inside the crossover-shaped Airflow, there’s a dashboard-spanning display screen, one element of an environment Chrysler CEO Chris Feuell said would create the “feeling of an oasis.”
Focusing its message on owner experience and onboard tech, the Airflow is a demonstration vehicle for the STLA SmartCockpit, which manages AI-based digital applications including navigation and voice controls and is built on a new architecture called STLA Brain. SAE Level 3 driver assistance capability will arrive with STLA AutoDrive, the company claims. All of the STLA systems will be capable of being refreshed through over-the-air updates.
As a placeholder until the Chrysler brand actually starts building EVs, the Airflow clearly lays out a future in which user experience takes precedence. Teasing out features like phone conferencing that engages all the passengers and a sound-isolation technique that would limit annoying crosstalk in conversations indicates that for Chrysler, passenger comfort and convenience will have the upper hand over dynamic specifications.