Chrysler Portal, the Future of the SUV?

Chrysler Portal, the Future of the SUV

Chrysler wowed the tech-savvy crowds at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this past January with its reveal of the all-new, all-electric Chrysler Portal concept. The innovative, even revolutionary SUV aims to show what tomorrow's family transportation may look like, merging the best of what current crossovers, SUVs, wagons and minivans can do for maximizing practicality, comfort, fuel-efficiency and emissions reduction, and integrating new technologies that are just now in development or being perfected. What's more, the automaker intends to bring a model inspired by the Portal concept to production possibly by 2019!

As Tim Kuniskis explained to The Detroit News at CES, "We haven't been shy to say that we see the Portal as what we view as the future of family transportation. 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."

Built on the same platform as the Chrysler Pacifica, the concept as introduced in January runs on an all-electric powertrain, with a range of roughly 400 km. This takes the Portal beyond the category of simple city car, and would allow for peace-of-mind, longer-distance road trips purely on battery power.

Not surprisingly, the Portal concept also features a wide range of the latest self-driving systems, which can be turned on or off depending on the driver's wishes. Occupants - for which there is ample room for six in the three rows of seats - are identified by the vehicle using facial recognition technology, and they can communicate from one row to another via an intercom system. The seating is arranged "lounge-style" to maximize comfort and convenience on longer trips.

According to Ralph Gilles, FCA head of global design, the Portal "serves as a social hub where up to six can enjoy, and it's also designed to accommodate millennials as they begin their transition into family mode."

Among the intriguing features that we can only hope make the transition from concept to production version, are the doors that slide apart from the centre to create a wide entry space, track-mounted seats that can be folded down and placed together or even removed to create larger open spaces, and a "retractable" steering wheel that can be slotted into the dashboard when the vehicle is in autonomous-driving mode.