When Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) decided to create the Chrysler Portal, the electric vehicle created for millennials by millennials, it did it from the inside out.
And part of the design criteria was to create a vehicle that would suit all needs and one that would grow with the owner(s). Millennials want a socially responsible vehicle that reflects their personalities, with flexibility and technology. It also has to be affordable and last through their various life stages — a personal vehicle in which to hang out with friends, one capable of carrying the needs for their first homes, and one that will suit the needs of their children from infant through graduation.
And it will also fulfill roles that are part of the millennial lifestyle, including ride hailing, ride sharing and small business deliveries, if that’s what it’s needed to do.
“The Chrysler Portal concept is backed by significant research on the millennial generation. Millennials have clearly defined that they want a vehicle that will grow with them as they experience life changes,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Car Brands – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA – North America. “FCA is a leader in family transportation and it was essential that we fully explored the idea of what a vehicle could look like for this emerging generation.”
The idea was to create a “third” space for millennials, an open and serene personal space (naturally, with WiFi and the availability of apps and cloud-based services) to bridge the worlds of work and home. And open is the key word, with nearly all panels being made of class or incorporating some glass in them.
Softly sculpted and lit, the interior is about the balance millennials crave in their lives, with flexible space for people and cargo, adapted as needed to fit the moment. The thin-framed seats stretch out flat, fold up or slide around to fit the need at any given time. Or they can be removed outright when they aren’t needed.
Facial and voice recognition allow a wide range of personalization and control, and there are eight docking stations located at various points throughout the interior so everybody can charge mobile devices when needed rather than when docking is available.
And naturally, it’s capable of Level Three autonomous driving so occupants can concentrate on social communication rather than man/machine interaction.
Outside, the emphasis is on light of a different source, with LED light elements front, rear and sides, and they all work in some manner to make the car work better in its environment, the front lights not only project light forwarded as needed to illuminate the road, but some of them move virtually toward the side to signal turns.
The rear hexagonal light loop rings the rear access hatch door and also signals in the direction of the turn, creating a large arrowhead that’s hard to miss. And the ring around the articulating sliding side doors (front and rear) not only differentiates their operation from that of other vehicles but also signal turning intentions to those who may not have sight of the front or rear indicators.
Partners in the forward-thinking venture include Adient (seating), Magneti Marelli (lighting), Panasonic Automotive (sound and connectivity) and Samsung Electronics (cameras and displays), all of which contributed their respective expertise in the design of features.
Introduced at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, the Portal is a dedicated electric vehicle with a single front axle mounted motor fed by a 100-kWh lithium ion battery (located under the flat low floor). It is estimated to have a range of over 400 km, with a fast-charge able to add more than 240 km in about 20 minutes.