The minivan model that has been around since the 1980s is one that hasn’t gotten enough praise from the automotive industry. These people movers have always been geared toward the family and moving everyone from one place to another only to be surpassed by the SUVs of today. The admiration of the minivan model should be one that shows us a look and build where we already have a natural living space built into a vehicle if only we were to reconfigure it in a variety of ways to make it more of a social space and less of a location to find long lost toys and stuck on cereal.
If you remove the seats from a typical minivan what do you have? You have a large open space that could be configured nearly any way you want. This should be something of an interior designer’s dream space, but for some reason the minivan has soldiered on as a nearly leftover part of the market for most automakers, except one. Chrysler has embraced their minivans and has most recently brought us the Pacifica as a minivan that replaces the Town & Country, but now they have even more to show us.
Not only has Chrysler partnered with Waymo from Google to give the company a fleet of Pacifica models that are now the autonomous minivans of the future, but Chrysler brought a gorgeous new minivan concept to the Consumer Electronics Show. This new concept is called the Chrysler Portal and it showed up in a look and style that’s certainly futuristic, but more importantly, built on the same platform as the Pacifica to be a minivan that would the right for the future of family hauling.
The Portal concept is one that offers you an electric vehicle with as much as 250 miles of ranch and dual articulated doors to make it easy to access the cabin. While the Portal might not entirely make it to production, the fact that FCA has created an EV minivan that has this range is impressive and certainly a thought for the future. Until now, nearly every EV on the market has been a small car with hatchback style or a super sports machine meant to wow the world. Here we finally have an EV that could be useful for a family with plenty of cargo space and passenger room to take as many as seven people to the desired destination.
Imagine a family that has several activities each week and the life they could have with a minivan of this nature. The range alone is enough to give anyone a fighting chance of getting all errands and commuting done in a day without the need to recharge until the end of the day when the minivan can be plugged in and prepared for the next morning. With the impressive EV powertrain the Portal could go from concept to production and be the vehicle that brings back the minivan, especially as we move toward autonomous vehicles and the reconfigurations of the interior for the future.
As its built right now, the Portal could be a concept that does make its way to production in the near future. At some point after 2018 FCA says they could easily build this vehicle at the same location as the Pacifica, the Windsor Assembly Plant in Ontario, Canada. According to FCA, the movement toward a greater infrastructure for EV models is part of the future and this concept vehicle could be one way that movement takes place even faster than anyone could imagine.