Chrysler Portal Concept Is FCA's Desperate Attempt to Stay in the Trend

Chrysler Portal Concept 5 photos
Photo: Chrysler
Chrysler Portal ConceptChrysler Portal ConceptChrysler Portal ConceptChrysler Portal Concept
The last thing this world needed was another ugly concept car that makes bold claims without anything to back them up. And yet that is exactly what Chrysler plans to offer CES visitors, probably to their immense despair.
Unless they're either very special - see what Mercedes-Benz has done during later years - or very close to production, concept cars are beginning to lose their relevance. We've seen enough weird design studies to last us a couple of lifetimes, so we've grown oversaturated with various companies' view of "the future of mobility."

The Chrysler "Portal Concept" doesn't stray too far from this definition, being described as an electric minivan "for millennials" that's also capable of self-driving. The name comes from the huge opening revealed by the two doors that slide in opposite directions, or maybe there's a more hi-tech meaning to the word "Portal."

The exterior design falls into the "it doesn't matter if it's beautiful or not as long as it's weird" category, which usually results in vehicles that only those with an exaggerated wish to stand out from the crowd would ever consider buying.

Fortunately, the Portal Concept isn't the kind of car that previews a production model. It's just FCA's way of showing it could do electric and autonomous as well, it just doesn't feel the time has come.

On the inside, the Portal's modular interior can offer seating for up to six people, but also ten docking stations for phones and tablets - because nobody carries just one mobile device anymore. All the technology bits have been developed with Samsung and Panasonic, but Chrysler hasn't disclosed yet who is behind its self-driving software.

The company says the Portal is ready to roll out with Level 3 autonomous capabilities, which can later be upgraded to levels 4 or 5 as the necessary hardware is already in place. We can't say for sure whether that bump above the windshield is a LIDAR system or whether the Portal uses a system similar to Tesla's that relies mostly on radar and cameras.

Chrysler makes no claims on the performance offered by Portal's electric powertrain, but it does say it will go for over 250 miles on a full charge and it will be compatible with the DC Fast Charge tech, meaning it could gain 150 miles worth of power in just 20 minutes.

The Portal will be officially unveiled tomorrow at CES, marking Chrysler's first venture into the world of battery-powered vehicles. With an all-electric Pacifica minivan on the cars, the Italo-American manufacturer appears to be warming up - slowly but surely.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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