"We haven’t been shy to say that we see the Portal as what we view as the future of family transportation," said Tim Kuniskis, FCA's passenger car chief for North America.
"People ask me, is it a minivan? Is it a crossover? Is it a UV (utility vehicle)? We just say it’s the fifth generation of cars."
The Portal has a claimed driving range of over 400km on a charge thanks to its circa-100kWh battery pack, while 241km and be replenished in less than 20 minutes using 350kW DC fast charging.
Also featuring in the next-generation family car are level three semi-autonomous driving systems, with the Portal designed to be upgradable to level four autonomous driving capability.
In order to achieve this, the Portal is fitted with an array of sensors like lidar, radar, sonar and cameras that constantly monitor the vehicle's surroundings and interior.
The Portal also features vehicle-to-X (V2X) connected communication systems which allows it to recognise traffic signs, emergency vehicles and intersection crash warnings by 'talking' to other vehicles and connected infrastructure.
Other highlights include the "portal-shaped" side doors (who knew portals were hexagonal?), customisable LED exterior lighting, adaptive LED headlights with 'Thin Lens' technology and a full-length clear polycarbonate roof.
Inside the Portal has individual sliding seats, an in-vehicle wireless network that allows for social sharing among passengers and internet cloud-based applications, a retractable steering wheel (for autonomous driving comfort), a high-mount instrument panel display and a large central infotainment system.
Affordable EVs on the horizon
Marchionne added that he expects to see "affordable" long-range electric vehicles by 2021 or 2022.
"Reasonably speaking, I think in the next four or five years, we’ll be able to get to full electrics, no hybrids, at a reasonable (sub-$30,000)," he said.
"It’s going to be the cheapest battery cost available for any type of application."
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