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CES: Chrysler opens up with Portal concept

Still Alive: Chrysler’s Portal concept could lay the foundation for the brand’s future plans in the people mover segment.

Self-driving, all-electric Chrysler Portal people mover concept aimed at millennials

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Chrysler logo4 Jan 2017

By TUNG NGUYEN

CHRYSLER has given attendees at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) a glimpse of its future technologies with the unveiling of its Portal concept – a self-driving capable, all-electric people mover which the brand says has been “designed by millennials for millennials”.

The futuristic showcar is an interpretation of the next mode of family transport after wagons, minivans, SUVS and crossovers, and is said to to embody the millennial generation’s values and desires.

Resembling a cross between a Chrysler Voyager and Tesla Model X, the six-seater Portal concept features a bulbous and smooth front fascia with integrated headlights, and accompanying self-driving hardware, which includes LIDAR, radar, sonar and forward facing cameras.

The generously proportioned rear end utilises a large tailgate opening, enlarged C-shaped taillights and Portal badging, while both front and rear doors slide horizontally to open.

Of course, nothing screams ‘futuristic’ quite like a monochromatic colour scheme, and the Portal concept delivers in ample amounts.

A grey metallic paint job with a prominent glasshouse adorn the exterior, while inside, there is enough minimalist designed white and flat grey-coloured surfaces to make an Apple store blush.

The six seats, while thin and flat, are flexible to be moved into a number of configurations along the floor-mounted rails, and can be completely removed to free up extra interior space.

The instrumentation is mounted along the dashboard instead of the behind the aeroplane-like steering wheel, with the wide colour screen also able to display vehicle information and contact information imported from a smart phone.

A large central touchscreen is also positioned between the driver and front passenger for connectivity controls, gear selection and climate controls, while the Portal concept eschews the use of a traditional rear-view mirror for yet another tablet-like colour display.

According to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the connectivity options available in the Portal are designed to “enable users to include and expand their social media communities with seamless wireless integration between the vehicle and mobile devices”, enabling the targeted millennials to never miss a Tweet or tag even while on the road.

In fact, Chrysler is saying the Portal concept is so technologically adaptable, it can be used as a viable alternative workspace between home and the office, allowing millennials increased productivity through the ability to work during their commute.

The Portal concept is also designed to evolve with changing life situations, and can accommodate the adventurous, single, married and family-orientated lifestyles, says Chrysler.

A single electric motor feeds power to the front wheels, while a 100kWh lithium-ion battery pack stores enough juice to travels about 400 kilometres on a full charge.

Through the front charging port and a 35kW DC fast charger, the Portal concept can recharge to a range of 240km in less than 20 minutes.

Other features of the Portal concept include face and voice recognition software to personalise vehicle settings, vehicle-to-vehicle communication capabilities and directional audio cues for the driver.

FCA North America head of passenger car brands Tim Kuniskis said the Portal concept is designed to be adopted early by millennials with ownership retained through various life stages.

“The Chrysler Portal concept is backed by significant research on the millennial generation,” he said. “Millennials have clearly defined that they want a vehicle that will grow with them as they experience life changes.

“FCA is a leader in family transportation and it was essential that we fully explored the idea of what a vehicle could look like for this emerging generation.”

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