Chrysler introduced the highly-praised Pacifica minivan last year, which included a hybrid model, but they’re aiming to take the bar even higher. The Chrysler Portal minivan is an all-electric concept car with a 200-mile range that made its debut today at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Since this is a car designed to appeal to millennials, Chrysler turned toward the millennials working in its design and engineering departments to come up with the idea. The result is a “fifth generation” of family transport that makes your current minivan look outdated.
Rather than seeing a vehicle solely as a means of transportation, they view it as its own environment that needs to serve the in-between time when you’re not at home or the office. It has a low cargo floor, clear roof panel, and large windows all around to give it an open feeling.
Interior colors are neutral warm hues with LED accent lighting so the mood can adjust to the people and objects inside the Portal.
There are soft-touch surfaces covered in synthetic materials rather than animal hides. There’s textured fabric on the doors and a carbon fiber X-brace with silver accents to finish the look.
The Portal has an instrument panel that uses subdued shades to keep the mood calm and relaxed. Displays are placed beneath a single piece of curved glass that extends across the dashboard and the steering wheel features grips on either side like what you’d find in a racecar. It also folds and stows inside the instrument panel in anticipation of autonomous driving.
The doors slide open, but not the way you’re used to seeing them on today’s minivans. Rather than one door sliding to the rear, the Portal has two on each side that slide front and back to create a huge opening nearly 5-feet wide. I
But, it’s not all about design style with the Portal. It also features a modern powertrain.
This all-electric car will be powered by a single electric motor driving the front wheels. A 100 kWh lithium-ion battery pack hidden in the underbody will both enhance rigidity and lower the center of gravity for better handling. It will also have a 250-mile range and a fast charging time. In only 20 minutes, it will have enough juice to travel 150 miles.
The Portal will also feature an advanced infotainment system with facial recognition that will automatically customize the vehicle to different drivers. Vehicle-to-vehicle communication, integration of devices like smartphones and wearables, and plenty of charging ports make it a vehicle connected families will love.
This isn’t a production car, but a glimpse into the future of family vehicles. Chrysler has no plans to put it into production, but elements of the Portal’s design and connectivity could easily creep into the vehicles we see on the road in the near future.