Earlier this year Fiat Chrysler pulled the wraps off of its new Chrysler Portal concept – a self-driving, fully-electric people mover designed and built with millennial car shoppers in mind. In our opinion, the Portal would have been more groundbreaking and effective if it were released two or three years ago, but that’s not to say there aren’t a few aspects of the concept that we like.
Flexible Seating And Cargo Configurations
One of the better ideas employed in the Portal is the flexible seating and cargo configurations. The seats in the vehicle are mounted on metal tracks that allows them to be easily moved toward the front or rear of the vehicle or removed from it entirely.
This implementation of modular seating is critical to the Portal’s millennial appeal, Chrysler says. A millennial buyer might purchase their Portal with only four seats to begin with, later deciding to add additional seats as their family grows. This saves consumers money upfront and allows them to only upgrade their car when they deem fit.
Fully Electric Powertrain
We we’re happy to see a fully electric powertrain in the Portal, as FCA has famously taken a stubborn stance against bringing hybrid and electric vehicles to market. The Portal’s powertrain consists of a single electric motor providing drive to the front wheels, with the juice arriving via 100 kWh battery lithium ion battery pack housed within the floor on the vehicle.
FCA says the Portal has a total range of 250 miles on a full charge. The integrated charging port, located at the front of the vehicle, is capable of bringing the battery pack from empty to 150 miles of range in just 20 minutes when paired with a 359 kW DC fast charging station. Chrysler’s wing badge at the front serves as an indicator light to inform the driver as to the vehicle’s charge status.
Most impressive part of the Portal is its ability to drive itself. LIDAR, radar, sonar and cameras work together to enable SAE Level Three semi-autonomous operation – meaning the vehicle can pilot itself in certain highway driving scenarios. FCA plans on upgrading the Portal’s self-driving hardware and software as the technology advances and we assume it eventually hopes to bring it to Level Five autonomy.