CES, otherwise known as the Consumer Electronics Show, used to be for upcoming household electronics. But as the automotive industry has relied increasingly on hybrid and fully-electric drivetrains, and increased the amount of technology in consumer cars, manufacturers have seen CES as an opportunity to showcase its latest tech and futuristic concepts that might go unnoticed at a normal auto show. Enter the Chrysler Portal Concept.
When Chrysler first announced that it would be bringing something to CES, we weren’t quite sure what that would be. The brand’s lone hybrid offering, the Pacifica, only recently debuted, and technology isn’t what the company is known for. However, that doesn’t seem to have dissuaded Chrysler from packing in as much technology into the Portal Concept as it could.
Loosely based on the Pacifica minivan, the Portal is pure-electric, autonomous, and is capable of talking with other cars on the road through vehicle to vehicle interfaces, essentially throwing every buzzword that implies what many consider what the future of driving will be.
The Level 3 autonomous driving uses the Portal’s suite of cameras, standard radar, LiDAR, in conjunction with ultrasonic sensors. Similar to most other semi-autonomous systems, a person is still required to be behind the wheel and to take over in certain situations. For clarity, Level 5 autonomy removes the driver’s input altogether. However, the steering wheel now more closely resembles an airplane’s steering column so as to further imply its semi-autonomous nature.
Like all marketing today, according to Chrysler, the Portal is aimed at millennials who are beginning to start families, but still want the latest technology and for the car to be upgradeable after the point of sale.
Inside, the Portal shares similar architecture with its standard Pacifica sibling such as seating arrangement and positioning. However, the dash has been made to look futuristic with an OLED infotainment display, as well as a high-mount screen near the windshield, similar to what you’d get in the new Toyota Prius. The Portal also features twin sliding doors that come together at a central locking point.
Underneath its flat floor sits a 100 kWh lithium ion battery pack that gives the Portal a claimed range of 250 miles per charge and powers only the front wheels.
The Portal is still very much a concept, but we will likely see aspects of its design, and assuredly its technology, in upcoming Chryslers in the near future.