Fiat Chrysler invented the minivan segment and with the Chrysler Portal concept, which it hopes to put into production some time after 2018, it’s hoping to reinvent the space it once fostered.
The Portal Concept is based on the Chrysler Pacifica minivan and reflects what Chrysler believes the future of family hauling will be like. The people mover is powered by an electric motor driving the front wheels, which receives power from a 100 kWh lithium ion battery pack. It can travel up to 250 miles of range on a single charge and thanks to upgradeable radar, LIDAR and camera systems, it’s also semi-autonomous.
Speaking to The Detroit News on the floor of the Detroit auto show earlier this month, FCA passenger car brand boss Tim Kuniskis explained how FCA views the Portal.
“We haven’t been shy to say that we see the Portal as what we view as the future of family transportation,” said Kuniskis. “People ask me, is it a minivan? Is it a crossover? Is it a UV (utility vehicle)? We just say it’s the fifth generation of cars.”
It’s not clear which of its features will make it to the road car once the Portal reaches production. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne is confident fully electric vehicles will be commonplace by the time the Portal hits the road, so expect it to be a full-on EV and not a plug-in hybrid like the Pacifica Hybrid. We’re also expecting the Portal’s removable seats, easy entry/exit sliding doors, Panasonic infotainment system and Level 3 autonomous functionality to appear on the production model. The futuristic exterior and cabin styling probably won’t appear on the production car and other high-tech features, such as V2X and V2V communication and facial recognition, probably won’t be present either.
FCA declined to provide exact timing on the Portal’s arrival, however it’s reasonable to assume the vehicle is high on FCA’s priority list. We’re expecting to see it sometime in 2019 before it hits Chrysler dealers in 2020.