Leave it to Chrysler, the minivan pioneer, to come forth with the first long-range, all-electric minivan.
Called Portal and purely a concept for now, this minivan packs a 100 kWh battery pack that's good for some 250 miles of purely electric driving bliss. It's front-wheel-drive and features a single electric motor.
Chrysler says that Portal can recharge at a rate of up to 350 kW, which means it can be juiced back up from empty to 150 miles of range in just 20 minutes or so.
Apparently "350 kW" is now the future-tense catch rate for charging, as the Chrysler EV could take full advantage of both the Europe-wide network which begins construction this year (400+ stations) and also EVgo's first ever US-based 350 kW station being constructed now.
Portal rides on a 118.2-inch wheelbase, which is slightly shorter than the Pacifica, but there's still room for three-row seating for up to 6 individuals.
Beyond the electric-ness of the minivan, Portal features Level 3 autonomous driving capabilities, which means that the vehicle can fully drive itself in some, but not all, situations. It works in a manner similar to the Tesla currently on roads. The driver must keep monitoring the road and driving environment; a camera mounted on the instrument panel uses facial-recognition software to monitor the driver. If the vehicle determines the driver is not monitoring the road or driving conditions change, it alerts the driver to retake manual control. If the driver does not respond to the alerts, the vehicle will maneuver itself to the side of the road and come to a safe stop.
Since this minivan is to be shown at CES 2017, it's a bit on the radical as you'd expect. However, it's not so out there as to dismiss it for production in the future. Toned down a bit, this van could certainly be a winner if Chrysler ever chooses to release it to the public. Chrysler's official statement is that Portal is "next generation family transportation designed by millennials for millennials." So, perhaps there's hope after all.
We'll have more on Portal when it get revealed in full CES 2017.