Is this what the car makers think of our youth?

Is this what the car makers think of our youth? Is this what the car makers think of our youth? Is this what the car makers think of our youth? Is this what the car makers think of our youth? Is this what the car makers think of our youth? Is this what the car makers think of our youth?
 

Words: Maurice Malone - @MaloneMaurice

Published on: January 5, 2017

Words: Maurice Malone - @MaloneMaurice

Published on: January 5, 2017

Is this what the car makers think of our youth?

Millennials get a lot of stick. Anyone born between 1982 and 2001 is seemingly doomed to be labelled as a Snapchatting, Instagramming, Starbucks-scoffing poser by older generations, but this group is fast becoming the largest demographic. What do car manufacturers do when tasked with providing transport solutions for people who have known nothing but advanced technology all their lives?

They get millennials to design their own cars of course. Chrysler’s Portal concept is one such example, and it’s just debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Tim Kuniskis, head of passenger car brands at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) explains, “The Chrysler Portal concept is backed by significant research on the millennial generation. Millennials have clearly defined that they want a vehicle that will grow with them as they experience life changes. FCA is a leader in family transportation and it was essential that we fully explored the idea of what a vehicle could look like for this emerging generation.”

All well and good, but what form does such a vehicle actually take? Chrysler’s research has concluded that millennials are environmentally aware, cost conscious and tech savvy, but also want their vehicles to reflect their personality. The result looks something like a futuristic MPV, is electrically-powered and features no fewer than eight docking stations within the cabin, because as we all know a millennial’s greatest fear is a dead battery on their phone or tablet…

However, putting cynicism on ice for a moment and taking a closer look at the Portal reveals some nice features. Four sliding doors make access a doddle, there’s a completely reconfigurable seating arrangement inside and the electric powertrain is good for a range of around 400km. Fast charging is possible, and a full complement of autonomous technology is fitted for when the driver wants to take a break from piloting the vehicle and browse social media for a bit.

The interior is said to offer occupants a “third space” (nope, us neither) and features a frankly astonishing level of connectivity. Display screens can be moved around, different audio can be zoned to each individual and community sharing of music and videos between passengers is fully supported. Spookily, the Portal can even recognise who is driving and tailor settings and preferences to suit.

So, is it the future? It certainly gives some food for thought as to what direction personal transport will take over the next few years, and the amalgamation of home and work environments with transport solutions is a trend that’s gaining a lot of momentum. The Portal is ideally suited for car sharing, delivery applications and the Uber-style taxi model, so watch this space…