Chrysler should have brought Graphite Airflow to market!
As the automotive industry transitions to electric vehicles, Stellantis (FCA US, LLC) has been actively promoting a range of all-electric vehicles over the past two years. But so far none of them have reached the market. One promising model was the Chrysler Airflow Graphite Concept, which was unveiled in New York in April 2022.
The concept follows the Airflow concept, which was shown at CES in early 2022. It came just months after it was announced that Chrysler would move to an all-electric brand by mid-2020, raising questions about the future of this luxury vehicle beloved by workers. . The brand is set to cease production of the Chrysler 300 at the end of the year, leaving only the Pacifica pickup truck in the 2024 lineup. This is a major shift from the nine-plate model that existed in 2007.
Earlier this year, Ralph Gilles, head of Stellantis Design, mentioned on Instagram that the Chrysler Airflow concept would not go into production in its current form. “Airflow was just the beginning of the story,” he said, “a North Star concept that embodies the myriad of concepts we are cooking up with the now expanded and more capable Stellantis!” Gill also added: “Besides electrification, we explored advanced infotainment, lifetime connectivity, and sustainable cabin materials, while, as the name itself underlines, we explored the fusion of attractive bodywork versus aerodynamics, and explored fully automated driving and assistance configurations.”
Despite the significant investment and hype around the Airflow concept, this was disappointing news for Chrysler fans who were hoping for a new product from the automaker, especially considering that the last all-new product, the Pacifica, debuted in 2016 as a 2017 model.
To everyone’s surprise, during a visit to the Stellantis display at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), the Chrysler display showed just four items: the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Touring-L, the gorgeous Chrysler 300C, the Chrysler Synthesis shown off from CES earlier that year, and the Chrysler Airflow Graphite concept.
Featuring Galaxy Black with Cyprus Copper accents inside and out, the latest Airflow Graphite model looks more refined than its rivals and appears poised to compete with Tesla vehicles rather than Ford and General Motors (GM). Cyprus copper accents enhance the upper portion of the panoramic glass roof as well as select surfaces on the 22-inch wheels, giving the car a more upscale appearance.
The Airflow is built on the large STLA architecture, which will underpin several new vehicles, including the next-generation Dodge Charger, Jeep Recon, and Wagoneer S, and features a sleek, clean Class D crossover body that seats five passengers and offers weather-capable all-wheel drive (AWD). ). They are powered by two 150 kW (201 hp) electric motors (EDMs), one at the front and one at the rear, resulting in a combined output of 402 hp. Chrysler stated that the Airflow concept could achieve a maximum range of 400 miles on a single charge.
Although I lean toward hybrids rather than all-electric cars, the airflow is undeniably breathtaking. Compared to other American brands that produced products that directly competed with Airflow, Airflow would have stood out.
Chevrolet’s new Blazer EV appears to be reminiscent of something from a Korean automaker with its dramatic design. The Blazer EV offers just 320 miles of range in a five-passenger crossover with an all-wheel-drive layout, similar to the Airflow. A high-performance model, the Blazer SS EV, is in production, making 557 horsepower and capable of 0-60 mph in the mid-4 seconds. However, the Blazer EV faced controversy, as with all-electric cars and rising inflation, the initially announced price was $11,000 higher than what was initially communicated to customers, putting the new entry-level model at a starting price of $53,195.
On the other hand, Ford, which produces a car with a similar design under the name Mustang – Mustang Mach-E, introduced a new performance model in Detroit. The Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally is Ford’s first rally-inspired electric vehicle, entering a new market segment. It features a tuned version of the Mustang Mach-E GT powertrain, with a twin-motor layout targeting at least 650 lb-ft. of torque and 480 horsepower. The Rally focuses more on performance than efficiency, offering a range of up to 250 miles from just a usable 91 kWh lithium-ion battery. It includes a raised and tuned MagneRide suspension, 19-inch white Oxford alloy wheels, a dramatic rear spoiler, underbody armor, and a purposeful front fascia that houses LED foglights to differentiate itself from other Mach-E models.
The standard Mustang Mach-E has a range of up to 312 miles with all-wheel drive and starts at around $43,000. However, that price can easily rise to over $60,000 if you opt for the GT model. With the GT model, you get a lot more power, with 0-60 times of 3.8 seconds, but the range drops to just 270 miles.
It’s been great to see Airflow progress into production, especially in a form close to Airflow Graphite. The concept introduced new design elements, including a new Chrysler winged badge, and overall looked very production-ready. Now, if Stellantis can bring some form of all-electric vehicle to market beyond the Fiat 500e city car in the North American market, the industry may start taking the Chrysler brand seriously again.