The Fiat-Chrysler family of brands includes Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, and Jeep. The Fiat 500 is a stylish city car that is now only offered as an electric vehicle. And Dodge and Jeep are working on battery-powered sports cars and trucks, respectively. But the EV standard-bearer for the company is Chrysler and its plug-in hybrid minivan.
The Chrysler Pacifica is the only plug-in minivan available today. It’s also one of the best-selling plug-in hybrids on US roads.
Fiat-Chrysler plans to invest billions of dollars into flexible vehicle platforms that can produce a range of electrified cars, SUVs, and trucks. The result would be more conventional and plug-in hybrids, as well as pure EVs. Jeep alone said it would spend $10 billion to produce four all-electric vehicles and 10 plug-in hybrids by about 2022.
An off-road capable plug-in hybrid Jeep Wrangler is in the works. And auto enthusiasts are excited about the potential for electric versions of muscle cars like the Dodge SRT Hellcat.
Fiat-Chrysler’s transition to electric vehicles could go into overdrive when the company merges, as planned, with the PSA Groupe. The two entities will combine to form the fourth-largest automaker in the world. PSA, which makes Peugeot and Citroën cars, already has said that it plans to introduce a “blitz” of electric vehicles in the coming years. When teamed up with Fiat-Chrysler, we could see all manner of new EVs, from minicars to full-size pickups, on both sides of the Atlantic.
The Chrysler Pacifica is an attractive, eco-friendly family-hauling minivan. As a hybrid, it combines a 3.6-liter V6 gas engine with two electric motors to generate 260-horsepower. While it provides plenty of power and excellent handling, the Pacifica Hybrid’s most desirable feature is its impressive efficiency.
The gas-powered Pacifica earns a rating of 22 miles per gallon from the Environmental Protection Agency. But thanks to its 16-kilowatt-hour battery pack and electric powertrain, the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is estimated to provide 82 miles-per-gallon equivalent. The dual power systems also grant the Pacifica plug-in hybrid with a total range of 520 miles, compared to the standard version’s 418 miles.
Notably, the Pacifica Hybrid offers an all-electric range of 32 miles. That allows many Pacifica drivers to commute or run typical daily errands without using any gasoline. Even after the 16-kWh battery pack is depleted, the Pacifica achieves 30 mpg—a considerable improvement in efficiency over the conventional version of the minivan.
This impressive level of efficiency for a vehicle that can carry seven people in comfort was not possible before the EV era. The seating configuration is very comfortable, with two captain’s chairs in the second row and a comfortable bench seating for three in the back. Other notable features include a built-in vacuum cleaner.
Many plug-in hybrids use a 3.3-kilowatt charger. Fortunately, Chrysler equips the Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid with a faster 6.6-kW onboard charger. That allows drivers to fully recharge the Pacifica in about two hours when using a 240-volt supply of electricity.
The JuiceBox 32 is an excellent choice for a home charging station to use with the Chrysler Pacifica. As a 32-amp charging station, it provides enough power for the minivan’s full 6.6-kilowatt capability.
The Pacifica doesn’t provide quick-charging capability because it isn’t needed for a plug-in vehicle with a relatively small 16-kWh battery pack. A Level 2 charging station, like any of JuiceBox’s lineup of connected charging stations, can fully charge the vehicle in its promised two hours.
Pacifica Hybrid drivers always have the option to use a standard 120-volt household outlet to recharge. But that only adds three to four miles of range in an hour. Meanwhile, drivers who can charge at home or work during the day with a 240-volt charging station can pick up at least 15 or so miles of electric range in a single hour. That allows Pacifica drivers to displace the maximum number of miles that others would require consuming gasoline and emitting tailpipe emissions.