Chrysler’s first fully electric vehicle will not look like or be called the Airflow concept officially unveiled at CES last year. According to the brand’s new chief designer, Chrysler will take a new, more modern direction with its first EV.
Chrysler’s first EV is a modern upgrade over the Airflow
Under the Stellantis family of brands, Chrysler committed to an all-electric future by 2028, giving us a glimpse of what that could look like with the Airflow EV concept last January.
Although the Airflow was expected to represent “what the future of Chrysler looks at,” new Stellantis chief design officer Ralph Gilles tells MotorTrend that may no longer be the case.
Gilles took over as chief design officer for the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Maserati, and Fiat in Latin America brands in January 2021. The head designer oversaw both the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT “banshee” EV and Ram Revolution electric pickup concepts.
However, Gilles says he is most excited about the new Chrysler EV design, explaining new Chrysler Brand CEO Chris Feuell, who took over the reins in September 2021, “came at it with her perspective, which we really enjoyed.” He continued to say:
She wanted a statement that had literally zero to do with anything that you have seen today, even the Airflow concept car. It is evolving in a new direction.
As an attractive crossover SUV, the Airflow was a good starting point “to signal again the type of vehicle Chrysler might want to do,” but the team aims to beat the design under Feuell’s new direction.
The Airflow concept was based on Chrysler’s RU platform, used for the Pacifica minivan, but the production version will sit on its parent company’s STLA large dedicated EV platform. Stellantis’s large EV platform offers 400V and 800V for fast charging and up to 400 miles of driving range.
With the company aiming to be a leader in advanced tech when its first EV launches in 2025, the Chrysler model could include Level 3 autonomous driving capabilities.
An electric Chrysler 300 coming
Although Feuell says, the new EV will not be called the Airflow or the 300, explaining, “I don’t think it’s quite right for this product.”
Meanwhile, she alluded to the possibility of Chrysler carrying the 300 name into the electric era. Feuell said:
It could be a great name for something that we bring out in the future. There is so much wonderful history and equity with the name so I wouldn’t want to rule it out for potential future use, but not for this one.
The news comes after Feuell said in an interview with Automotive News that the automaker would introduce a completely redesigned electric 300 successor. The potential electric 300 replacement was shown off to dealers at a meeting last month.
With Chrysler looking to compete with Tesla and attract younger urban buyers, it will need a complete brand overhaul. And from the sounds of it, one is already well underway.
Author: Peter Johnson