Chrysler’s latest concept vehicle debuted today at the CES 2017 show in Las Vegas. The car is levelled at Millennials – the age group born between 1982 and 2002 – who will shortly become a significant segment of the car-buying public.
Unsurprisingly, the Chrysler Portal emphasizes digital connectivity and social media compatibility. External cameras aren’t just for monitoring obstacles, for example: they can also take selfies. Internal cameras allow parents to keep an eye on small children via large digital displays.
Externally, the Portal is a near-monoform people carrier intended to extrapolate today’s Chrysler Pacifica minivan into the middle of the next decade. It’s a pure EV, with a battery packaged under the floor where a Pacifica’s Stow-n-Go seating folds away. Overhangs are also dramatically reduced compared to the Pacifica, despite similar interior dimensions.
The cabin features a foldaway steering wheel while exterior modules contain cameras and sensors for autonomy, though the Portal is not envisaged as a fully self-driving car.
The concept is the work of Chrysler’s Auburn Hills studio, assisted by colleagues on the West coast. Brandon Faurote, Head of Chrysler Design, says the Portal is “less about style and more about functionality”.
Nonetheless the exterior includes some striking visual elements. The vehicle’s entry points – the portals – feature bold geometric outlines, ringed in animated LEDs. At the rear these take on lighting and signalling duties, while all four sides can change colour to signify different driving modes.
The Portal’s overall form language takes a departure from Chrysler’s current vocabulary, says Faurote. “It’s more of a graphic statement – especially around the doorway design elements – and it’s also a clean, simple shape.”
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