Stellantis has been lagging behind the electrification wave consuming every automaker. But now it has released images of an EV that looks to be its Mustang Mach-E rival. It reached way back in time to revive the Chrysler Airflow name for the company’s first EV, which it plans to have by 2024.
Are two years too late for the Chrysler Airflow?
Yes, two more years before offering an EV is a long time. Especially as fast as new products from other manufacturers are being released. But it is, nonetheless, a welcome addition for a brand that looked to be headed for the dustbin.
The Airflow will be Chrysler’s first new model in what seems like decades. It will be based on the Stellantis STLA Medium platform and will feature some new technologies for the automaker. From driver assistance and safety features to the infotainment software, it is clean sheet stuff.
Chrysler’s Airflow is aimed at the Mustang Mach-E crossover
From the size and shape, it looks like the Chrysler Airflow is aimed at the Mach-E and Tesla Model Y. The STLA Medium platform also suggests this sporty crossover segment. Besides the Medium platform, Stellantis has also developed its Small, Large, and Frame platforms to work from. With a range of 440 miles and a dual electric motor option, it will make up to 241 hp.
In the cockpit, there is a phalanx of screens, as you would expect. The main screen is centrally located, with a smaller screen for the driver and another for the passenger. In the back seat, there are also screens for entertainment choices.
The Airflow name dates back to 1934 when Chrysler revolutionized automaking with a car that had virtually no wood structure. Up to that point, all cars relied on wood frames to attach stamped body panels. Additionally, the body was much more aerodynamic than anything on the road.
Buyers were turned off by the advanced styling
Unfortunately, that was what turned off buyers. It was too advanced-looking for the times. The company was all-in on the Airflow, eliminating most conventional models for it and also DeSoto. When the expected rush for it didn’t materialize, Chrysler scrambled to release a more traditional model for both of the brands.
As a stopgap measure, it tried to tone down the sloping surfaces. It added a more upright hood and grille, and a more conventional-looking interior. It didn’t help. Chrysler took a big hit and steered away from advanced styling for years until its “Forward Look” lineup for 1957.
Today’s Airflow is just as revolutionary a step for Chrysler. It is hoping for a much better outcome with this one. Chrysler is shooting for 2024 for the Airflow probably as a 2025 model. By then, GM has pledged 30 new EVs will be available in its four brands. So, while this is a welcome first step into electrification, Stellantis still has a long way to go.