Among the multitude of models that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced as part of its five-year production plan in May was a plug-in hybrid version of the Town & Country minivan for sometime in 2016. However, according to the latest pronouncement from company CEO Sergio Marchionne, that timetable may have been moved forward quite a bit.

Marchionne told Automotive News at the Paris Motor Show that the PHEV minivan would now be launching in late 2015. That strategy does seem a bit confusing, though, because the next-gen platform for the T&C isn't supposed to hit the road until sometime in 2016, according to the plan. So it's not clear whether the boss means the PHEV rides on the current chassis or if the new model is going on sale early.

The technology underpinning the new plug-in hybrid has been shrouded in mystery. However, during the five-year plan meeting, FCA claimed the model could earn fuel economy figures around 75 mpge. Chrysler previously tested a 25-unit fleet of them as part of a demonstration test in Auburn Hills, MI, in 2012, but that didn't go so well.

At the same time, Marchionne still seems to be somewhat pessimistic when it comes to pure electric tech in vehicles. "I think you need to be very, very careful if you think that electrification, given its inherent limitations on range, especially in markets like the US, will effectively displace combustion," he said to Automotive News.


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