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Meet the Chrysler Portal

by David Zatz on

Chrysler Portal

The Chrysler Portal has been shown, with images circulating on the Internet and an official reveal today at 4 pm EST.  Automotive News wrote that it was a battery-powered, self-driving minivan.

portal minivan

The minivan claims a 250-mile (400 km) electric range, but that’s not  especially relevant, as the company isn’t claiming plans to build it. What is relevant is that the company claims it “explores the possibility of what a family transportation vehicle could look like,” and probably has some clues as to what we can expect from future minivans.

portal dash

The Portal would handle steering, braking and acceleration on approved sections of highway, and would alert the driver to retake control if necessary.  Flat battery packs would be built into the floor, as they were in the old TEVan.

concept car

FCA estimates 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.

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