Concept of the Day: Chrysler Portal

January 3, 2017 § Leave a comment

chrysler-portalChrysler’s doing the digital-age thing: the Portal concept, to be unveiled in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show this week, is aimed at always-connected millennials with young families. Autonomous capabilities on approved stretches of highway, of course, with this conceptualisation of a next-generation six-seater MPV, but the powertrain (packed underfloor) is worthy of note: it’s said to give a useful 250-mile range, with 150 miles-worth of range from a 20-minute fast-charge. Whether or not the self-driving aspect is a goer to any extent, this does give some indication that FCA is at last properly engaging with, and preparing for, electrification.

  • Ford is to launch 13 electrified – to some degree – vehicles globally in the next five years, including a Transit PHEV (2019) and hybrid F-150 trucks and Mustangs (2020), but most interesting is an all-electric SUV “with an estimated range of at least 300 miles”, to be built in Michigan and destined for North America, Europe and Asia. Along with other news today Ford has also confirmed that it is testing prototype EVs in Europe (Transit Custom PHEV), New York and other large US cities (Transit Connect hybrid taxis and vans), and that it is piloting wireless charging technology. Expect also “a high-volume autonomous vehicle [hybrid] designed for commercial ride hailing or ride-sharing”, and there’s a $4.5bn investment in electrification to 2020. Ford has also given feedback from its EV-related research: among 33,000 Ford EV owners, it found 88% made daily drives of 60 miles or less; for PHEV drivers, the average refuelling distance was 680 miles; 80% of EV owners charged once a day, 60% in the evening; 92% of all-electric vehicle customers would replace their car with another EV.
  • Interesting titbit of info about the Rinspeed Oasis: this greenhouse-style concept (complete with plantlife) is built on a new rolling electric-drive chassis from ZF, with two in-wheel motors at the rear axle. Check out also the single-spoke steering wheel with touch- and gesture-sensitive controls replacing trad knobs, levers and buttons. [On a similar note, the BMW HoloActive Touch ‘virtual touchscreen’ looks pretty impressive, too. Expecting more HMI advances to be unveiled at CES].
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