CES: Fiat Chrysler Presents Self-Driving Electric Minivan
Fiat Chrysler is laying out a vision of a battery-powered, self-driving minivan that it bets even a millennial could love, according to Bloomberg. The automaker’s fifth-generation minivan, whose design concept is called the Chrysler Portal, would have a 400 kilometer electric range and enough screens, ports and social-media options to entertain young families while software handles much of the driving. It was unveiled in Las Vegas ahead of consumer technology show CES 2017.
It’s always a long way from concept cars until a vehicle enters production, if ever, and so far Fiat Chrysler’s U.S. unit hasn’t said it actually plans to build an all-electric minivan like Portal. What the automaker’s effort may produce, however, is a change in the conversation: It’s been criticized for adding ecological powertrains more slowly than rivals like Toyota and General Motors and for failing to gain ground on fuel economy.
The six-passenger Portal concept would handle steering, braking and acceleration on sections of highway approved for this purpose and would alert the driver to retake control if necessary. Flat battery packs would be built into the floor, like in Tesla’s Model X sport utility vehicle. With a fast charger, drivers could restore enough power for 150 miles of driving in 20 minutes, the company projected. While Fiat Chrysler said the vehicle would be aimed at “cost-conscious” millennials, it gave no projected price range.