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Launched at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas instead of at the Detroit Auto Show one week later, the Chrysler Portal may be hiding some future Chrysler styling cues in plain sight.
The integration of the Chrysler logo into the rear could certainly take place sooner rather than later, and the front end appearance could be adapted to normal production cars — even if the suicide sliding doors (which would actually be perfectly safe, since they slide) are unlikely.
What should we expect to see in reality? Probaby quite a bit of what is here. The sliding door technology may or may not appear on a pickup or crossover; FCA has numerous patents now on innovative sliding doors to increase the usefulness of non-boxy vehicles. They would be pricey to build but very handy for parking lots and, for that matter, less flexible drivers and passengers.
The Portal itself is reputedly a battery-powered, self-driving minivan with a 250 mile range. FCA wrote that it “explores the possibility of what a family transportation vehicle could look like.”
Autonomous functions include handle steering, braking and acceleration on approved sections of highway. As for the electric part, flat battery packs would be built into the floor, as they were in the TEVan. FCA claimed that a fast charger could provide 150 miles of driving in 20 minutes.
The interior shows what are probably mockup displays, even if they are electronic, exploring user interface concepts that could make it to production. One of those is using face and voice recognition to recognize the driver, so it can automatically switch to their preferences. Panasonic worked on much of the interior technology and may be a future FCA supplier.
The company is currently relying on suppliers for autonomous driving research; its first modern hybrid is the Pacifica minivan, though it has made a hybrid SUV before, briefly, in Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen form, and sold a number of electric minivans in the 1990s. After being the most fuel-efficient American automaker in the 1980s, FCA is currently the least efficient.
Chrysler made it easy to compare the Portal with the Pacifica.
See our main concept cars page. | 2017 NAIAS (Detroit Auto Show)
Concept cars are often made so a car’s feel can be evaluated, problems can be foreseen, and reactions of the public can be judged. Some concepts test specific ideas, colors, controls, or materials — either subtle or out of proportion, to hide what’s being tested. Some are created to help designers think “out of the box.” The Challenger, Prowler, PT Cruiser, and Viper were all tested as production-based concepts dressed up to hide the production intent.
Concept cars • popular: Firepower • Tomahawk • ME412 • Mighty FC • Gladiator
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