For its fully electric vehicle, which is reportedly going to be unveiled at CES 2017, Fiat Chrysler seems to be bucking the trend. This is true, at least, in the category that Tesla seems to have trailblazed.
Portal: Designed For Millennials
Instead of a sportier and more luxurious orientation, Chrysler has opted to design the Portal, its future EV, with the family segment in mind.
What is even more interesting is that the automaker further refined the target family as millennials who are only just starting a family of their own.
Chrysler's current talking point is that the vehicle is "designed by millennials for millennials."
Fully Electric Family Minivan
While the automaker is not exactly calling the Portal a minivan, the EV is one on account of its form factor. However, the similarity ends there because the vehicle is far from the boring transport we have come to expect from a family car.
You can probably imagine it lumped together with the 2018 Urus, the plug-in hybrid family SUV being developed by Lamborghini where function is expected to be achieved without sacrificing aesthetics.
When the spotlight shines on it at CES, the Portal will most certainly command attention. It has a very futuristic look and unique futures such as a door that opens like an elevator.
The family orientation has been addressed by what folks at Chrysler calls as "third space." This is a concept coined by sociologists to describe that comfortable place that people spend their time in aside from the home and the workplace.
To make the vehicle comfortable and familiar for its target market, Chrysler has thoroughly smothered the interior not just with amenities that offer comfort but also with cutting-edge technology that its passengers have grown up with.
"The Portal is our first indication of Fiat Chrysler's potential approach to what the interior vehicle space might be like for autonomous vehicles," Stephanie Brinley, an analyst at IHS Automotive said in a Wired report. "It offers clever and well-thought-out solutions, in terms of technology and design, for integrating Internet-of-Things technology into the vehicle in a meaningful way."
Just by looking at the shiny and super sleek dashboard, which will probably be outfitted with Chrysler's proprietary Uconnect system, one can only wonder what kind of millennial would fail to appreciate all the bells and whistles that will seamlessly work with their smartphones and smart gears. Aside from the onboard infotainment system, there are dedicated docking stations for charging and connecting mobile devices.
FCA also touts the fact that no animal was harmed in the production of the Portal, another value proposition that it believes will appeal to its market. The Portal can also store profiles so it is able to provide personalized and contextual experiences for passengers. For example, through facial recognition, it can set up an atmosphere inside, tweaking the preferred lighting, the kind of music played and even safety features.
At this point, the Portal is still a concept car. This means there is still no definite release schedule or whether it will even see the light of day.