Innovating Chrysler Portal As The Most Advanced FCA Concept Ever?
Chrysler prepared quite a high-end concept car for the CES 2017. It is electric, full of technology we’d probably never use and it is a freaking minivan looking thing. Something like . Sure, Chrysler did a lot of styling experiments trying to move the Portal Concept from the likes of Bolt, but the fact is that this is a millennial thing. And yes, it can drive all by itself. Like that is such a novelty for a concept car of today.
As Chrysler practically does not have a new car ready for the Detroit Motor Show, the one revealed at the CES is most likely to showcase their autonomous and electric future.
“[The Chrysler Portal concept] 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,” said Head of FCA Global Design, Ralph Gilles.
Obviously, Portal presents the advanced technology FCA is working on. Maybe the most important feature of it all is the fact it has a SAE Level 3 autonomous driving capabilities. More or less, it can drive itself like with the advanced Autopilot. Unlike the Tesla cars, the Portal Concept employs a suite of sensing technologies, including cameras, radar, LIDAR, and ultrasonic sensors.
The LIDAR system is the biggest differentiation between the Tesla cars and this Portal concept (or any other Google car – like that Waymo Pacifica Hybrid we wrote about). Nevertheless, it may be that the Lidar gives a more accurate representation of the surroundings compared to the tech Tesla cars use. So, it could even be safer. We can only expect the FCA to strengthen its ties with Google and their autonomous driving tech as Google made them the official partner to their Waymo company.
The futuristic look of the outside accurately insinuates high-end or futuristic features of other pieces of the puzzle. The propulsion system consists of massive 100-kWh batteries. With them, the electric car can travel up to 250 miles before recharging. And then the recharge does not take long. 20 minutes will get one 150 miles worth of electricity. All this thanks to “next-generation DC Fast Charger technology.” We hope it this “next-gen” thing actually exists.
Stepping inside through the massive sliding side doors reveals a futuristic cabin with a small steering wheel, a lot of space, fine, big displays throughout and seating for six. Now, the car is not exactly small. It has 118-inch wheelbase, meaning that those sitting in the third row may have some problems communicating with the ones up front. Well, FCA got this covered with the passenger-to-passenger intercom system. Yes, it sounds just like a gimmick and it is a gimmick, but an interesting one nonetheless. Another high-tech feature may be the introduction of a face recognition software. Portal recognizes the driver thanks to onboard cameras and automatically adjusts its preferred features (like seating, music and other). And as a final privacy invading feature we have the biometrics system. It can be programmed to lock or unlock the car by recognizing the vocals of the person approaching.
All in all, Chrysler crafted quite an interesting machine telling us they are not outside the EV/Autonomous-drive train. They are in and in to stay.