Chrysler is Gearing up to Become a Real People Mover Brand
With the rumor that the Chrysler 300 might be on its way out – the same way many other sedans from other automakers are being shown the door – it looks like the crossover and SUV boom is here to stay. For Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), that means converting Chrysler into a real “people mover” brand. In addition to its current minivan superstar, the Pacifica, Chrysler appears to be developing a smaller and all-electric version of a crossover-meets-minivan: the Portal, set to replace the 300 model.
The Portal Concept was initially introduced at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show as a six-passenger multi-purpose vehicle. At the time of introduction, the Portal was lauded as having been designed by millennials on Chrysler’s design team and explicitly targeted towards millennial buyers. Special features in the Portal included facial and voice recognition that tailored the driving environment to the taste of each particular driver, a panoramic dashboard, a retractable aviation-inspired steering wheel, customizable light signatures, a configurable interior that creates space where needed, and vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure tech.
There weren’t a lot of specs regarding the car’s power, but the powertrain had a range of at least 250 all-electric miles and was powered by a 100-kWh lithium-ion battery. The Portal concept could also restore 150 miles of their total range in about 20 minutes while hooked up to a DC fast charger. Industry experts explain that these specs are entirely reasonable for an all-electric vehicle and could very well be the final specs once it becomes a real vehicle.
Former FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne told media that he intended for Chrysler to introduce the “fifth generation” of family cars when the Portal Concept was shown at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. Additionally, the designers and engineers based the front-wheel-drive Portal Concept on the Pacifica’s current platform, and Marchionne had been vocal about wanting another vehicle based on that platform. The Portal is expected to be assembled at the Windsor, Ontario plant that currently builds the Pacifica and the Dodge Caravan.
Seemingly designed with auto showrooms in mind, Marchionne was confident that the Portal could be built in two years and proved that Chrysler had made up its mind about the vehicle’s future when the concept was introduced. Production is set to begin in 2020, the year that Chrysler intends to phase out the 300 to replace it with the Portal by 2021. Of course, not all features seen on the concept car will make their way to the final product. Experts agree that French sliding doors with integrated B-pillars and carbon fiber beams are a bit too much for what’s going to be a crossover mixed with a minivan. On the other hand, the basic shape, style, and dashboard will likely inspire the final version. As is customary, FCA has declined to make any statement about a car that may or may not be in pre-production.
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Photo Source/Copyright: FCA