Chrysler Halcyon Is the World's Only EV Designed for Unlimited Range, Sadly Just a Concept

2 months, 1 week ago - 14. February 2024, autoevolution
Chrysler Halcyon concept
Chrysler Halcyon concept
I am so old I can clearly remember a time when car concepts were mostly presented as a means for carmakers to give us a glimpse into the upcoming design lines of the industry. From time to time, they did drop some previews of future engines and other technologies, but that was not the main focus of a concept.

Nowadays, thanks to the rise to power of autonomous technologies, AI, smart-everything, and electric drives, concepts almost focus solely on tech and less on design. And one only needs to look at the Chrysler Halcyon to know that to be true.

Chrysler is not one to be in the spotlight all that much. Content to be a part of the Stellantis group, it presently only sells just two distinct vehicles: the 300, one of America's few remaining sedans, and the minivan the nation is nuts about, the Pacifica.

So you'd be right in not expecting much from these guys when it comes to revolutionary concepts. And then you come across this Halcyon thing.

The Halcyon is the latest in a series of Chrysler concepts that started in 2017 with the Portal and peaked in 2022 with the Airflow. This new one takes the two, mixes them with a touch of Synthesis Cockpit Demonstrator (shown in 2023), and throws everything into the future.

The Halcyon is a preview, we're told, of Chrysler's electrified future. That's because the company plans to release its first EV next year and will turn its rather limited range of vehicles fully electric by 2028.

The vehicle is built on the STLA Large platform, which Stellantis presented earlier this year as the one to underpin the upcoming electric vehicles from Dodge, Jeep, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler and Maserati. And it comes into the world as a very aggressively styled four-door computer system on wheels.

The car has been built to be a combination of luxury, power, and aggressiveness. It stands very close to the ground (just four inches or ten cm), significantly lower than what we usually get on the road. That would make it nearly impossible to drive in some places, but the low ride height is there for a reason – we'll get to that shortly.

From a visual standpoint, the impact is impressive. The front end looks as sharp as the ones we get on Ferraris, while the rear has the elegance of a limousine. Everywhere you look there are body elements meant to enhance the car's aerodynamics: an air blade and air curtains at the front, a windshield large and deep enough as to not oppose air going over it, camera mirrors thin as a blade on the doors, and of course a sliding lower aero diffuser plus a spoiler at the rear.

The nose of the Halcyon features a new kind of Chrysler wing logo, illuminated by LEDs, and first seen on the Airflow. The body has been covered in a paint unique to the concept and called Elemental Silver – a color offset here and there by black elements.

The same refreshed logo on the nose is replicated on the wheels. 22 inches in size, they are turbine-shaped and wrapped in Pirelli tires.

That pretty much wraps up the exterior look of the concept but by no means tells the whole story of Halcyon's body. You see, this thing is a bit of a transformer, because the handle-less doors open in an entirely different fashion than you'd expect. In fact, the entire experience of getting inside the car is like walking on the red carpet, according to the carmaker.

I tend to agree, as the car, fully open to receive its passengers, is quite impressive. The front doors open in the normal fashion, but the rear ones are suicide-style. In between, the butterfly-hinged canopy transforms into a third door that rises to allow for more headroom upon entry and exit.

Once inside, the car experience is truly something to behold. Sure, the seats are still there in the normal configuration, front and rear, there is the dashboard with the steering wheels and pedals, and a general feeling you're still inside a normal car. But that's all there is, just a feeling.

That's because the Halcyon is Level 4 autonomous. The steering wheel, which is actually a reverse yoke, retracts, just like the pedals, and there is no traditional instrument panel to speak of. Both the front and rear seats can be retracted (to the rear and in the trunk, respectively, kind of like what we get on today's Pacifica), and a display running from one side to another of the vehicle adorns the dashboard.

The level of advanced tech that went into the concept is simply insane. The large screen mentioned above is accompanied by a 15.6-inch one that can be rotated, and which can be used by simply using one's voice. An augmented reality HUD rounds up the user interface hardware available.

Biometric identification is used to control some of the concept's features, including entry, start, and the stowing of the rear seats. An AI is on deck to help with whatever needs the occupants might have.

The car has been designed to be autonomous, and as a result of that, when the steering wheel and pedals are retracted, it can transform the cockpit into a game room or a cinema. Additionally, it plays stars and constellations on the windshield, with the seats laid back, to give one the impression they're under the clear sky or, who knows, in space.

All by itself the Halcyon can personalize the HVAC settings depending on weather conditions. It can get ready for a drive beforehand by syncing with the owner's calendar – something Chrysler calls predictive navigation.

The car has the ability to lower itself as the owner approaches, to allow them an easier way in, and can notify people of upcoming events.

All of the above is impressive to say the least, but it doesn't even come close to the car's other capabilities, the ones mechanical in nature. Remember the low ride height mentioned earlier? Here is where it comes in.

As said, the Halcyon is an electric vehicle, meaning it will have a battery and electric motors. In its concept guise, it probably doesn't have any on, and Chrysler didn't bother telling us what kind of electric drivetrain it has in mind for a potential production version.

It did say, though, that the Halcyon may one day have virtually unlimited range. That's because it is meant to take advantage of something called Dynamic Wireless Power Transfer (DWPT). In simpler words, we're talking about inductive charging on the go.

The concept's underside is equipped to receive inductive charging. As the car travels down dedicated road lanes, it can charge itself wirelessly from tech embedded in the road surface.

That may sound a bit far-fetched for our current level of development, but Stellantis is already working on making it a reality, and that kind of makes the concept the first EV built from the ground up to have unlimited range. It is involved in a pilot project at the Arena del Futuro circuit in Chiari, Italy, where it is testing the merits of the technology.

There is however one other tech the Halcyon or its successors may use once they get here: Lyten 800V batteries. These things use lithium and sulfur instead of nickel, cobalt or manganese, and that reduces the carbon footprint by as much as 60 percent compared to present-day best-in-class batteries.

To make sure it doesn't miss out on the tech, Stellantis invested in Lyten in the spring of last year. 

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