You can read all the practical details of the 2017 Pacifica (not Town & Country) here. For the sake of this story, we'll focus on what's different with the hybrid model. Yes, Chrysler is just calling it Pacifica Hybrid, not Plug-In Hybrid, because the company's executives think that when people hear "plug" they think "range anxiety" and freak out. That's not a worry here, though, because when the 16-kWh battery runs out of juice, the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 kicks in and the minivan functions as normal. Just don't run out of gas.
With a full charge, the Pacifica Hybrid can travel up to 30 miles on electric power. And though the gas engine is the same 3.6-liter V6 found in the non-hybrid model, it's detuned to 248 horsepower and 230 pound-feet of torque. Charging the battery takes just two hours on a 240-volt plug, and Chrysler houses the battery pack underneath the floor in the middle of the van, where the wells for Stow 'N Go seating are found on gas-only models. So no, you can't get Stow 'N Go seats on the hybrid, but the third row does still fold into the floor.
Powertrain aside, the Pacifica Hybrid is nearly identical to its gas-only sibling, save the addition of the charge port on the driver's side front fender. Unique wheels in 17- and 18-inch sizes can be had, and the Pacifica Hybrid only comes in Touring and Limited Platinum trims. You can read more details on the hybrid system in the release below.
"Due to its large footprint and multiple daily trip patterns, the minivan is ideally suited for electrification technology," said Bob Lee, Vice President and Head of Engine, Powertrain and Electrified Propulsion Systems Engineering, FCA – North America. "The all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica lives up to this promise and then some, with efficiency, power and refinement."
Launching in second half of 2016, the Pacifica Hybrid is the industry's first electrified minivan. With an estimated 248 horsepower, the vehicle will deliver an estimated range of 30 miles solely on zero-emissions electric power from a 16-kWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery.
In city driving, it is expected to achieve an efficiency rating of 80 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe), based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards.
When the battery's energy is depleted to a certain threshold, the Pacifica Hybrid becomes a part-time electric vehicle, like a conventional hybrid. Power to the wheels is supplied by the electric drive system or supplemented by a specially adapted new version of the award-winning FCA US Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 engine.
The battery pack – neatly packaged under the second row floor in the new unique battery case – may be fully recharged in as little as two hours using a 240-volt plug-in system.
The pivotal technology behind the all-new Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is its innovative electrically variable transmission (EVT). Designed and patented by FCA US, the device features two electric motors – both of which are capable of driving the vehicle's wheels.
Conventional electrification schemes dedicate one motor to serve as a generator and a second motor – usually much larger – to deliver torque to the wheels. But the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid uses a one-way clutch that allows the motor typically used only as a generator to deliver torque to the wheels, depending on driving conditions. The result is increased efficiency, refinement and improved component packaging.
Unique hybrid engine
Based on the newly upgraded Pentastar engine architecture, the new hybrid engine features an Atkinson cycle combustion system for improved pumping efficiency without compromising vehicle performance due to its hybrid electric motors working in tandem with the engine when full load performance is required.
Unique "handed" pistons provide a compression ratio increase to 12.5:1 for further thermodynamic efficiency improvement.
The front cover and front accessory drive system was re-engineered due to the elimination of the alternator and power steering pump which is common to most hybrid engines.
Friction reduction improvements, along with ignition and fuel injection improvements found on the upgraded Pentastar V-6 are all part of the specially adapted hybrid Pentastar engine, while 2-step valve lift and cooled EGR have been removed with the addition of Atkinson cycle combustion system.
Deceleration triggers the motor to turn into a generator, which creates electricity to send back to the battery pack.
The 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack in the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is stored efficiently under the second-row floor, keeping the rear cargo area as roomy as ever and preserving the third-row Stow 'n Go seating and storage.
The exterior charge port is located on the driver's side fender for quick and easy plug in after exiting the vehicle. On the inside, a charging indicator light is located on the instrument panel so owners can easily monitor the battery charge process.