Chrysler Pacifica PHEV: Worlds First Plug In Minivan – Review

12 months ago by Tom Moloughney 72

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid - 30 miles of all electric driving, arriving in December

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid – 30 miles of all electric driving, arriving in December (InsideEVs/Tom M)

I’m often asked why I think plug in electric vehicles aren’t selling better than they currently are today. Is it a lack of EV education? Dealership that aren’t prepared or enthusiastic about selling them? The short range in comparison to their gasoline powered counterparts? The initial higher price, or is it perhaps the lack of public charging infrastructure that’s holding them back?

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid features a tight instrumentation package

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid features a tight instrumentation package

All of those issues are certainly contributing to lackluster plug in sales, and every one of those obstacles has been gradually improving in the past few years. However the one problem the plug-in industry hasn’t really been improving on is the obvious lack of product diversity.

It’s really not possible to properly gauge the public’s interest in pluggable cars until there are plug in versions of cars in every segment. We’ve seen that the high-end luxury sedan segment is willing to embrace EVs as long as it’s a compelling offering. The Tesla Model S is crushing the competition (see monthly sales scorecard here) from the traditional leaders like BMW, Audi, Mercedes and Lexus in that class. Well, now we have a plug in minivan, the first one ever offered and it looks to me like a winner.

Chrysler invented the minivan back in the early 80’s and they have dominated the minivan market ever since. While the competition has gotten tougher in the past decade, Chrysler always seems to be one step ahead of everyone else. Enter the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, a plug in hybrid with a 16 kWh battery and 30 miles of electric range. Chrysler does it again. More than thirty years later they are still the innovative market leaders when it comes to minivans.

If there is one thing Chrysler knows, its the minivan segment

If there is one thing Chrysler knows, its the minivan segment

Unlike many other OEMs making plug in hybrid versions of their core products, Chrysler gave the Pacifica Hybrid enough electric range to really make this a compelling electric offering. Plug in hybrids with a 10 or 15 mile electric range may improve the overall fuel consumption of the vehicle, but they do little to help the consumer really appreciate and understand how much better driving electric can be. That’s because the vehicles are in electric-only mode for such a small amount of time.

Chrysler's plug-in hybrid system - reportedly good for 80 MPGe in the city

Chrysler’s plug-in hybrid system – reportedly good for 80 MPGe in the city

When fully charged the Pacifica will default into all electric mode and will stay there unless the driver uses full throttle, at which time the gasoline engine will kick on to add power. However, it will remain in pure electric mode up to 70 miles per hour, and not use the gasoline engine until the approximately 30 miles of electric range is used, as long as the driver doesn’t call for full throttle.

Many PHEVs on the market will leave all electric mode with the slightest push on the accelerator, and the electric drive is used in parallel with the ICE more than it will be the Pacifica Hybrid. You can easily drive the Pacifica Hybrid in electric-only mode until the 16kWh battery is depleted. This isn’t the case with many PHEVs on the market.

Chrysler claims the Pacifica Hybrid will deliver an efficiency rating of 80 MPGe in City driving, something they prominently advertised at the LA Auto Show. This is their estimation though; official EPA ratings have not yet been released. Chrysler also gave the Pacifica Hybrid a proper 6.6 kW onboard charger. Even though most owners will likely opt for simple 120v level 1 charging, those that do install a 240v level 2 EVSE will be able to fully recharge the vehicle in about 2 ½ hours. Fully recharging on level 1 will take about 14 hours.

Having the ability to charge at 6.6 kW also improves the public charging experience. The vehicle can be fully charged while going to the movies, or during a shopping trip to the local mall. This means an all electric 50 or 60 mile day could be attained very easily provided there’s public charging available.

Finish of the plug-in Chrysler van found to be excellent

Finish of the plug-in Chrysler van found to be excellent

Inside I found the Pacifica Hybrid to be at the top of the segment as far as comfort, interface and styling. The leather seats in the vehicle at the show were soft and very comfortable, and the instrumentation was well executed. Everything seemed to be where I’d want it, and as I was sitting in it I remember thinking, “This is why Chrysler dominates this segment – they just do it right”.

The 16 kWh battery takes up the area traditionally reserved fof the 2nd row's under floor "Stow N Go" storage compartment

The 16 kWh battery takes up the area traditionally reserved for the 2nd row’s under floor “Stow N Go” storage compartment

One thing to note is that the second row of seating on the Pacifica Hybrid doesn’t have the usual “Stow N Go” seats that Chrysler minivans are famous for. That’s because the 16 kWh traction battery is located below those seats, so there isn’t any excess room for the seats to fold down into. The third row seating still folds flat, allowing for increased cargo space but if the owner needs the extra space of the second row for large cargo, they have to actually remove the seats, which they are designed for.

The Pacifica Hybrid has comes in Premium and Platinum trims, and the MSRPs are $41,995 and $44,995 respectfully. Some dealerships will begin to get allotments in December 2016, but it won’t be available nationally until early 2017.

Taking into consideration the Pacifica Hybrid qualifies for the full $7,500 federal tax credit, and various other state incentives, it’s possible that it will actually cost less than a comparable equipped non-plug in Pacifica minivan. This makes getting one a no-brainer, in my opinion. Hopefully the Chrysler dealerships will use that to their advantage, and really push these out to the public.

Pacifica's 16 kWh battery (via LG Chem)

Pacifica’s 16 kWh battery

While this may not be the all-electric minivan that some hardened electric vehicle supporters will demand, it’s really what this segment needs. A plug in hybrid just makes more sense for the minivan market today because a pure electric version with 175 to 200 miles of range would likely be too expensive for the average minivan buyer. The vast majority of Pacifica Hybrid owners will never have previously owned an electric vehicle, or even have driven one for that matter. They will be more comfortable knowing they have the security of the fuel they understand, AND still the benefits of the increased efficiency and lower operating expense of electric drive.

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid cutaway

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid cutaway

Minivans are family haulers, and the uncertainty many people have with pure EVs could really hold back sales. Parents hauling around kids from soccer practice on one side of the town to guitar lessons on the other don’t have time to worry about their range, or if they forgot to plug in last night because they were carrying in bags of groceries when they came home at 10pm.

Chrsyler Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid's moonroof

Chrsyler Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid’s moonroof

The Pacifica PHEV allows them to get their first taste of plug in vehicle efficiency and superior driving characters, but still offers the safety net of and familiarity of gasoline. I believe many of these owners will likely transition to a full electric vehicle when they get their next car in five or six years.

Now that the minivan segment has been penetrated, what’s next? How about a five passenger, sub-50K AWD crossover with a 200 mile AER? When’s the first BEV or PHEV pick up truck (not an aftermarket conversion) going to be available, or a convertible sports car that doesn’t cost $100,000?

Before we can really judge the success of EV sales there has to be a wide variety of vehicle offerings, and to date we just haven’t had that. The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid finally brings plugs into the minivan space, and does so with style.

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72 responses to "Chrysler Pacifica PHEV: Worlds First Plug In Minivan – Review"

  1. Brett says:

    Fair price and perfect for my family. I hope this is the game changer for PHEVs and all EVs. The debate for me is this or a three year old B-Class(2014) for half the price.

    It is very nice to see another offering. To bad BYD doesn’t seriously import passenger vehicles into the US. They seem to get the idea of having a diverse product line.

    1. ffbj says:

      You are waiting for BYD to come to American, and I am still waiting for Ike to Act.

    2. Kdawg says:

      What about a Bolt EV? More cargo room than the Mercedes and much longer EV range?

      1. no comment says:

        can he get the Bolt for half the price of a chrysler pacifica PHEV?

        1. Kdawg says:

          If he wants to buy new, he can get it for 5k less than the Pacifica.

          1. no comment says:

            as i read the post, the poster was looking to get a 3 year old mercedes-benz b-class BEV. obviously, if the comparison shifts to purchase of a new car, then the analysis changes since a new b-class would be a lot more than half the price of a chrysler pacifica PHEV.

            1. Kdawg says:

              As I read the post, it was a choice between a new Chrysler Pacifica (lower EV range, but has gas backup), or a lower cost used BEV, the B-Class (limited range). So I suggested a BEV that is $5k less than the Pacifica, but still has a 238 mile range to see if that would meet the criteria. I mentioned cargo space since the two vehicles he mentioned would have more cargo space than a sedan, thus that must have been part of the criteria.

              1. wavelet says:

                As I read the post, the choice is nonsensical. Why would someone compare a full-size 7-seater minivan (the Pacifica is one of the largest, with a lot of cargo space even with 7 passengers) with a compact 5-person BEV MPV with limited city-class range?

                I’m sure Brett has a rationale here, but we’re missing some relevant info.

                1. Kdawg says:

                  That’s what I was trying to get to, but then “no comment” commented.

                2. no comment says:

                  my interpretation was that the b-class had the minimum dimensions that he needed. so the choice would be between getting a used car that met the minimum requirements or pay twice as much for a bigger minivan as new.

                3. Brett says:

                  Price vs. extra space. Family of three plus a mother in law

      2. vin says:

        According to http://www.fueleconomy.gov, Bolt has 17 cu ft behind the rear seats, whereas the B-Class has 22 cu ft. So the Mercedes has significantly more cargo space than the Bolt. Range, clearly, is a very different story.

        1. Kdawg says:

          Check w/the seats folded down .. 51.4 (B-Class) vs. 56.6 (Bolt EV)

          1. vin says:

            I did, but I incorrectly assumed you were referring to a configuration where more than one passenger can ride along.

            1. Kdawg says:

              I was referring to hauling cargo.. thus the phrase “cargo room”.

  2. Michael Will says:

    Is this the one google is doing its autonomous driving experiments with ?

  3. Djoni says:

    Sure, make sense.
    I would have chosen one with a small REX or at least an alcohol heater, but went for a full EV instead.
    But I’m kind of a diehard with no child.
    Everything is coming with experience and to have a touch of EV driving in a PHEV is a good way to get it for many.

  4. Four Electrics says:

    I wouldn’t say that Chrysler “dominates” the minivan segment: the Odyssey, and to a lesser extent, the Sienna, are better minivans. Chryslers are worse but cheaper. Perhaps that counts for something.

    I don’t understand the love for PHEVs on this site: they’re not zero emission, put out plenty of nasty by-products, still contain an ICE, and don’t offer a compeling driving experience.

    Worse of all, they’re a technology which is being used by auto manufacturers to procrastinate development of real future power trains, like FCEVs and EVs. The public views them as simply advanced hybrids, so they don’t advance the EV cause.

    Finally, PHEV drivers have a nasty habit of soaking up scarce public EV spots unnecessarily. The owners don’t usually charge unless they want to score a primo spot at the mall. They’re worse than even Tesla drivers in that respect.

    1. philip d says:

      I beg to differ about the Volt not offering a compelling driving experience.

      1. anon says:

        The Chevy Volt is not a PHEV 🙂

        1. speculawyer says:

          Watt?

        2. Rick says:

          So, are you a volt owner? And, what do you think a volt is?

          1. Larry says:

            Is there any standard for all these abbreviations? I assume PHEV is short for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. I prefer to think of the Volt as an EREV – extended-range electric vehicle. PHEV does not to me imply a vehicle that will remain all-electric until the battery is exhausted – I think of them as always augmenting their EV with the ICE. Anyhow, that’s my suggestion.

            1. Puzzlegal says:

              I have a C-max, which is surely a PHEV, similar to the Chrysler. Like the Chrysler, it routinely remains in fully electric mode until the battery runs down, or unless you need to accelerate really hard to merge onto the highway. (Maybe 1/10th of the time I merge onto highways — not at all the normal experience.)

              I do most routine driving using zero gas. But the C-max’s range is too short — 20 miles under ideal conditions when new, more like 10 miles today, a few years old, in cold weather. The Chrysler’s “I got over 30 easily driving up and down hills in SF” sounds really good to me. I could do everything except long-haul driving entirely in electric mode.

              I don’t understand the hate for PHEVs. They are mechanically complex, with lots of parts that could fail, but I see no other downside. You get the EV experience, EV efficiency for the vast bulk of your driving, and you don’t have to rent an unfamiliar car if you want to go on a road trip.

            2. speculawyer says:

              I know GM likes that label too but it really isn’t an EREV because the ICE can power the wheels mechanically. I think EREV applies better to the i3 which has an ICE solely to generate electricity, not mechanical energy to propel the vehicle.

              I think they try to use the EREV label to distinguish it from the rest of the pack that do have pathetically short electric ranges. And I think GM deserves a LOT of credit for having the old PHEV with a respectable range.

              1. Aaron says:

                The Volt is a PTPHEVPTEREVPTEV. A part-time plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, part-time extended-range electric vehicle, part-time electric vehicle. Simple!

              2. Wallace says:

                Sounds like the old tired Volt bashing to me. I have owned 2 Volts, 2012 and 2014. In 40,000 miles driven, the gas engine has only attached to drivetrain twice by mistake. Only after EV range exhausted and only when I floored it. Total distance driven with engine attached to registration is about 10 feet. Compared to 40,000 miles with electric motor driving. For that you want to downgrade the name?

    2. no comment says:

      well, it is certainly true that chrysler doesn’t dominate the minivan segment as they once did in the past, but i think that they are still the market leader.

      people like PHEVs because they are practical and the PHEVs are more flexible and can be used in a wider set of circumstances than can BEVs. depending on your usage pattern, you can substantially reduce your gasoline consumption with a car like the chevrolet volt.

      the bottom line is, if you’re not an EV enthusiast, you’re probably going to prefer a PHEV. as far as auto makers are concerned, the problem with EV enthusiasts is that there is not enough of them.

      1. Jay Cole says:

        I would say Chrysler is still very, very dominant myself.

        The Odyssey and Sienna have both sold a little over 100,000 each so far this year (102k and 107k respectively)…and Chrysler, despite being in transition year on the models (T&C going out, and the Pacifica only arriving in volume ~5 months ago), have sold ~225,000 minivans between the models.

        The US minivan market total is at ~476k for the year, so I would suggest owning 47% is a very dominant position…unheard of in any other segment. And again, this is a transition year…it’ll be north of 50% next year, while both the Honda and Toyota are off 5-7% this year.

        Not withstanding the US, Canada flipping loves Chrysler minivans. In the north FCA has sold almost 50,000 of them vs 11k of the Sienna/Odyssey. Total Canadian market is YTD is 78.5, meaning Chrysler has a massive 64% share.

        So NA you are looking at 275k sales out of 554.5k total, or a near 50% share.

        1. no comment says:

          in the past, Chrysler *was* the minivan market. as i recall, Chrysler used to control over 80% of the minivan market.

          1. Jay Cole says:

            As the originators (or at least innovators/mass marketers) of the minivan, for sure Chrysler had more market share in the past, but I’d say at ~50% market share today, they still “are” the minivan market.

            Can you imagine any one OEM owning 50% of another major segment at this point?

            Chrysler has had an exceptionally strong, and exceptionally long run as kings/owners of the minivan business. And there outlook heading into 2017 is an increasing share.

            Fair disclaimer: I am not saying Chrysler has the “best” product, or that I am any authority at all on the segment…just that Chrysler’s sales history and current results in the space are nothing short of epic.

    3. speculawyer says:

      Most people here love EVs. But at this point in time, you just cannot build a large EV that has a long range and is affordable for most people.

      The Tesla Model S and Model X but they are not affordable.

      The Chevy Bolt and upcoming Model 3 have nice range and are somewhat affordable but they are still relatively small and a lot people just really seem to want big cars.

      Hence, for now, PHEVs are really the only way to make larger vehicles with long range, are affordable, and still provide a lot of clean electric miles.

      Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

      1. Brandon says:

        I agree!! Very well said. The cost needs to come down as the range goes up.

        Eventually more consumers will buy EVs and PHEVs as costs go down, mass production contributes, and more models are on the market and available.

        Lastly, for EVs, the proper fast charge network needs to be there.

    4. Bill Howland says:

      “Not Zero – Emission”

      Well my “love” of PHEV’s is, indeed a compromise position, but so what? My ELR is the MOST electric car I’ve ever driven…. How so?
      When driving locally, I’m always on Electric, and even when doing maintenance or the very little warranty service required over trifles, the car is going to and from the shop electrically.

      It also is the ‘easiest’ on the electric ‘grid’, actually making it perform better by doing its charging off peak when the load is really NEEDED by the central stations.

      Not like the Tesla Supercharger Locals who want to make sure they get their $2000 worth by continually charging during the peak times of the day at extremely hoggish usage when electricity in general is extremely dear.

      In comparison with my Roadster, the only BEV I’ve had so far, I use far less gasoline with the ELR, since the Roadster only avoided gasoline consumption when driving it. The much higher maintenance, and home service calls required ended up using many hundreds of gallons of gasoline – an order of magnitude worth of gasoline more than the ELR will use driving the equivalent number of miles.

      They are different types of cars, this is true, but another area the ELR is far less polluting in is in Tire Wear. The ELR will go through far fewer tires than the roadster did, and that’s after I personally cut the roadster’s tire waste by roughly 60%!!

      (Tesla was so impressed they asked me what I did to accomplish that, as well as other Roadster owners locally).

      Locales differ, and one might state that tire wear isn’t pollution as long as you have enough trees around to have their root systems ‘digest’ the old tire dust, and have landfills to put the used tire carcuss in, but most of these cars are in densely populated areas with not enough trees to absorb the polluted water run-off.

      Analogous to “Wells to wheels” comparisons – one should consider ALL the polution coming from our vehicles.

      In my case, the PHEV ELR is a Very Good Neighbor.

    5. Aaron says:

      Four Electric said the Odyssey and Sienna are better minivans. Customers vehemently disagree. The new Pacifica puts Chrysler that much further ahead.

    6. It is not so much that I love PHEVs, it is more a strong distaste for pure-ICE… 🙂 My primary car is a Renault Zoe, but I also need a 4WD family hauler, and I can’t afford a Model X, so I currently own a Mitsubishi Outlander 7-seater. It is a nice car, but there are things that bother me every time I drive it. A PHEV with a 30-mile range would have made it possible to do almost all everyday trips electric, and therefore, I’m willing to consider it for now. If the Pacifica PHEV was sold here in Norway, and it gained another electric motor in the rear, I would have given it a serious look.

      But I think PHEVs will have a short life, once there are signals for a 7-seater 4WD BEV with decent range nearing production, I wouldn’t consider a PHEV an option anymore.

  5. Scott says:

    The issue with most PHEVs is that they have no damn trunk! Manufacturers take the easy route and just stick a battery in the trunk. The same goes with the Pacifica, just turns out they already had a whole to fill. What is with that big V6?

    The Cmax Energi could have filled this segment for many, years ago. If it had a trunk.

    1. speculawyer says:

      Nah, that’s just Ford because their PHEVs are clunky conversions instead of being designed from the ground up.

      If you design a PHEV from the ground up, it can have decent trunk space. However, some passenger or cargo space will be lost because the volume of the PHEV parts is larger than the volume of ICE parts.

    2. Kdawg says:

      There’s lots of room in the back of my Volt and it’s a compact.

      1. Ambulator says:

        I have a Volt, too, and it’s lacking passenger space. Not that I need it, but others do.

        1. Kdawg says:

          But he was talking about the trunk. It’s amazing what you can haul in the Volt’s hatchback.

    3. Puzzlegal says:

      I had an Odyssey for a decade, and probably took the middle seats out ten or twelve times. I dropped the rear seats all the time, and that’s almost always enough room for hauling stuff, even fairly large stuff. The seat-well is the perfect place to stow the battery. It’s low and central, and it will rarely affect my use of the car.

      Unlike my c-max, where I basically don’t have a trunk due to the battery in the way.

      I miss the flexibility of having a mini-van, and I’m incredibly excited about this car. If it proves reasonably reliable after it’s been on the market for a year, I plan to upgrade my c-max for this.

  6. blakem says:

    I’ve always thought that minivans are the ideal platform for a PHEV. Most minivans spend most of their time making short trips around town where their fuel economy is well below 20mpg, with a level 2 charger in the garage, nearly all these trips can be electric only resulting in a significant savings of fuel, emissions, and cost. However, minivans are also a vehicle that are often called upon to make a long road trip. The PHEV also allows for significantly better fuel economy on the highway as well. My only complaint is that Chrysler doesn’t allow for an eight passenger configuration like on the other versions of the Pacifica. They could have designed a removable 2nd row bench like Honda has in the Odyssey.

    1. Puzzlegal says:

      Exactly. The vast majority of my driving is trips under 15 miles. There are places I can charge for many of the slightly longer trips I take.

      But then, every couple of months I drive 200 miles to a place without any convenient place to re-charge. And often I am bringing multiple people and stuff on those trips.

      This looks perfect for me. It would cut my gas use to almost nothing, and I wouldn’t have to give up any flexibility or ever worry about range. And the preliminary reviews are excellent. I am really excited about this car.

  7. Georges says:

    Seems like a decent offering but i expect a luke warm reception at best. People just dont get hybrids. They have all the complications of a gas car and an electric rolled into 1 vehicle.

  8. DaveinOlyWA says:

    Did I miss it or is blended mode a selectable option? If so, this would be an ideal vehicle to pitch to my employer

    1. Bill Howland says:

      “Blended Mode”.

      This usually applies to brake operation – partially dynamic and partially friction.

      But my ELR, in cold weather has unchangable “Blended” driving.

      The thing insists on unnecessarily running the engine ONLY FOR THE HOT WATER IT MAKES FOR THE HEATER, but still pushes the car using only electricity. Super Dump – but all of the upscale GM products have some degree of “WE KNOW WHATS GOOD FOR YOU” arrogance that you just have to accept if you want to drive a GM product. So, this particular feature here is pretty-brain dead, but in general GM EV’s overall are pretty good.

  9. Ken says:

    Does the ICE recharge when used? Is there regen braking? My overall confidence in Chrysler to build high quality vehicles is tempered by 50 years of less than stellar experience with them.

    1. anon says:

      Of course no, and of course yes 🙂

  10. This could be the basis of a new class of light camping vehicles, without the space needed to fold away the 3rd row seats, it could bump up to 30-32 kWh Battery for 55-60 miles Electric!

    Add a ‘Tall Top’ version, with a 1 kW Solar Roof, so while camping you have power for stuff, and maybe even recharge the battery some to improve fuel economy, too!

  11. no comment says:

    well, one reason why plug in cars haven’t sold in big numbers is because they are more expensive than equivalent ICEVs and to most of the public, it is not obvious that *EVs are better than what they are currently driving to justify the price premium.

    of course, this article starts out with the usual nonsense claims about how tesla. it’s not a good idea to insert such unnecessary statements in articles because a reader can view the statements as being ridiculous, and that hurts the credibility of the writer with respect to the rest of what is written in the article.

    with regard to the chrysler pacifica, it looks like chrysler did well to give the car practical range. another thing that they did was to give it a price that does not obviously scream “price premium”. granted, the pricing of the pacifica hybrid is a good $15,000 more than a base pacifica, but the pricing of the pacifica hybrid is about the same as that of a top of the line ICE pacifica. so, if you are in the market for a top of the line pacifica, the price of the pacifica hybrid should not be an obstacle. furthermore, after incentives, the pacifica hybrid will be less expensive.

    1. Brandon says:

      Ok, seriously, what are you trying to say regarding the authors supposed nonsense claim about Tesla??

      1. no comment says:

        sorry about that, i wasn’t clear enough. it wasn’t the central reason for my comment so i got a bit sloppy on it. in any event, the statement from the article:

        “Tesla Model S is crushing the competition from the traditional leaders like BMW, Audi, Mercedes and Lexus in that class”

        is ridiculous. the tesla model S price range includes both the mercedes-benz e-class and s-class. taken together, total daimler 2015 unit sales for the e-class and s-class was around 450,000 cars. total model unit sales for 2015 was about one-tenth that amount. that’s hardly evidence that tesla model S is “crushing” mercedes-benz sales. indeed, i suspect that many tesla owners *also* own a mercedes-benz, bmw, lexus or audi.

        my point is that prattling on by making statements with no factual basis don’t help the credibility of the writer. in this case, the subject matter of this article is such that there was absolutely no need to make such a comment; it has no particular relevance to this article.

        1. Jay Cole says:

          Without speaking for Tom, I think he is referencing Tesla “crushing” in regards to the US sales (as the Pacifica Hybrid is a NA-specific product and the reference to the US sales chart).

          As for that comparison, I think the Mercedes S Class is more than fair, but not sure about the E class. The E-Class sedan starts at $52k has an average transaction price under $60k (…my Merc CA dealer has a couple E Class sedans on sale for ~$49k)

          Whereas the Model S starts base at $69,200, with the most expensive trim at $135,700. The S has an average transaction price of ~$94,000 (avg transaction of all Tesla models was $103,000 in Q2 with Model X having a 15% premium). The S Class pricing starts at ~$96,000 with an average transaction across all models somewhere just over $100k.

          The S Class has sold 15,800 copies in 2016 vs ~22,000 Model S in the US. Not sure if that is a “crush”, that is a debatable point/matter of opinion; but I don’t think you can rightly add in the ~37,000 E Classes sold so far this year in the US to debate the use of the adjective.

          Just my opinion, but I don’t feel like many people who bought an E-Class sedan were also realistically cross-shopping sedans in the “from 70k/~100k average transaction” range – regardless of the brand. Would be akin to thinking that the 155k people who bought a Cruze this year (like the top of the line $25k Cruze hatchback) were also considering a $37k Cadillac ATS (that has registered 17.7k sales to date).

          1. no comment says:

            i gotta tell you jay, i think your numbers are a bit shaky. first of all, at this time of the year, auto dealers want to move merchandise before the end of the year. so they’re offering deals. in addition, you can get “demo” cars that are sold as new but at a reduced price. second, if “transaction price” includes price negotiation and trade-in credits, then the “transaction price” would not reflect the msrp of the underlying car. third, the $69,000 for a tesla model S is a relatively new price. as i recall, earlier this year, you could get a model S starting in the low $60,000 range. then if you include the federal tax credit, you are in the mid $50,000 range.

            a base mercedes-benz e-class starts at $52,000. that means at a dealership you can expect the prices of the cars on the lot to have msrp’s in the upper $50,000 range to probably around $80,000. you can, of course, order a base e-class, but i don’t expect that dealers are typically going to want to carry a lot of base level trim e-class models on the lot.

            as to mercedes-benz s-class sales, i was quoting worldwide figures as reported by daimler. one-third of all s-class sales are in china. so the US is not the biggest market for the s-class. i’m referring to it as the “mercedes-benz s-class” because i figure that it will help me overcome s-class addiction if i stop using the term “b#@z-o” (which was the result of a previous attempt to overcome s-class addiction). i figure that i’ve got to try something new because merely reducing my consumption of rap music doesn’t seem to be enough. then again, this discussion isn’t helping. in any event, i’ve got to get some lottery tickets before the deadline for tonight’s powerball drawing, which is something that i had not previously planned on having to do…

            1. Jay Cole says:

              Totally hear you and your opinion.

              Again, I’m not speaking for Tom, and not for the site either (we try to avoid this kind of class-debate whenever possible), just shooting the breeze, and my 2p on the “Tesla vs the Mercedes brand in the US” debate as I believe that is what was being referenced.

              Looking at the numbers, or just unscientifically at the two cars/demos from afar, I don’t see the E-Class and Model S as being in the same class/being cross-shopped. I can see a potential Model S customer also considering a S-Class, or a 7 series (or vice versa), but not a E Class…again, unless personal affordability was the main deciding factor, in which case the premium cars were never really legitimately being considered.

              Because you referenced potential discounting, I checked on true car just for fun, and it says the 2016 Mercedes E-Class average discount over MSRP was $8,244 FWIW.

              Again, happy to agree to disagree, (=

              1. Just_Chris says:

                IMO, I think the best point made on this particular debate was in the article, you can’t get a good comparison until we have more choice.

                I went from a base Toyota Yaris to a Nissan Leaf – That is an absolute base, stick shift and manual windows. I spent more on the leaf than any other car in my life. The leaf and Yaris are no where near similar, I have a colleague who is as we speak tossing up between an e class and a Tesla. The Tesla story is remarkable but how do you compare them to anyone else in the market? They don’t even use the same sales model. How many e or s classes would be sold if they were only available via special order?

                Tesla is a massive disruption to the luxury market segment, “crushing” other luxury brands in the USA? I think we’ll have to wait and see once there are more PHEV and Bev models out before I start to see it my self. The other thing is Tesla is still really small, it’s growth rate is astounding but really it couldn’t supply the whole market currently even if everything else was equal.

                If there is anyone who writes on this page who can give a realistic view of what is happening on the forecourt it is Tom, if he feels “crushing” is appropriate I’m happy to go with that as an assessment of what’s going on at that level.

                1. Jay Cole says:

                  Totally agree, I’m willing to go with Tom on face value of his assessment right now. I don’t think in hindsight I really made my point very well on the E-Class vs Model S cross-shop comparison.

                  Sometimes its easier to make your point looking at things backwards, as I have also know lots of people who stated they were “considering” a Tesla (there were probably a hundred at a conference I was at recently) against a lot of less expensive cars, but who (at the same time) really have no track record of bring in the class bracket. Judging the seriousness of that comparison (reality vs dreaming) is a tough call.

                  Put another way, of the ~37,000 E Class buyers this year, how many of them have bought a car in the 6 figures before? Or any ‘uber’ luxury purchases (that was not a piece of property/house) in their lifetimes? … and have now opted down their range, for a car with an average price-tag of ~$57,000.

                  I’d say that number is very low. I’d also suggest the track record for a S-Class/7-Series consumer having previously made a large cap discretionary purchase in the past is many times higher.

                  Right now you can lease a E-Class for $499 a month with $3k down, or outright buy a “new” E-Class from $45,000…making it accessible to anyone with a decent job. You won’t find a new Model S under $68k, or a lease deal (Tesla lease calc link) for under $800 a month without $4k down (2.5k order deposit and $1500 due at signing).

                  I admit that it is theoretically possible to legitimately cross-shop the two, and some may honestly do it, but drawing any conclusions as a result on Merc’s 37k E-Class sales or Tesla’s 22k Model S sales, or to judge the E-Class and Model S as contemporaries, I think is folly.

                  (Again, lots of words – apologize for that…just enjoying the thought bubble/distraction)

                  1. Just_Chris says:

                    I wouldn’t worry about all the extra words I see them as an additional “free” article.

                    Honestly, IMO, you can’t make a straight apples with apples comparison when there is only one vendor selling apples. Especially when you throw in all the various tax incentives and other complexities of the current market.

                    If I was in the business of selling ICE cars right now I think the scariest thing about Tesla is not that it might be competing with other cars in the same class as it but rather that there are people trading in their Prius for a model S. That is just bonkers, even if it is only happening in small numbers the fact that, in some instances, people are paying 4 times as much for a long range EV just to dump the ICE screams something at the market. Especially when there are an increasing number of alternatives that get you a good distance along the path to zero emissions like the volt, the i3 or even some of the PHEV-lites coming from Audi/BMW/MB.

                    The PHEV-lites are also, in many instances, a lot cheaper than the price of the comparable Tesla.

                    I make comparisons all the time and I think comparing Tesla to the current luxury brands in its class has value but IMO it is only half of the story. I think Toms article was really well balanced and I don’t think the use of “crushing” was too strong. Tesla is a major disruptive force any balance article should reflect that. Also, IMO, it is absolutely appropriate to point out that Tesla is at least in part the reason that the EV market is taking off, in particular in North America.

    2. Tom Moloughney says:

      OK, , crushing the competition is a little strong. However, it IS remarkable how a new automaker, still in its infancy, can bring it’s first wholly developed in-house vehicle to market and outsell all of its segment competitors in the largest market in the world.

      The Model S is classified as a Large luxury Sedan, and the cost of the average priced Model S is comparable to the top of the line sedans from the established luxury OEMs. That’s why the press uses the sales of the S-Class, Audi A7 & A8, Porsche Panamera and 7-series BMW as Model S competitors.

      It’s not just me saying this. Last month Motor Trend said “…the Tesla Model S, which continues to dominate sales in the large luxury sedan segment.” There’s dozens of other examples of established automobile news outlets saying the same thing if you look it up. Right here on InsideEVs, Eric Loveday posted an article titled: Tesla Reports Q3 US Sales: Model S Crushes “Large Luxury Sedan” Competition, so this isn’t an idea that I, alone share.

      I’m not looking through Elon-colored glasses either. I’ve been one of the people who believes Tesla’s toughest days may still be ahead of them, but the Model S is doing something in its segment that very few people believed they would. The product managers at the entrenched luxury brands are half scratching their heads, and half sweating bullets. Either way, Tesla has their attention now, and they are indeed concerned. That’s good for competition, IMO.

      1. no comment says:

        i suppose that if the view is that the US is the world and the world is the US, then that drives a view of the world reminiscent of the famous 1970’s cover from the “new yorker” magazine. but when looking at the world, daimler, for example, saw record sales last year. even if you make the shaky assumption that the model S is to be compared only to the mercedes-benz s-class, the worldwide 2015 sales of the s-class were over twice that of the tesla model S.

        this is why the “sweating bullets” talk is so ridiculous to me. companies, aside from tesla, take a very forward looking view of electric vehicles. that’s why they tend to make announcements on a time scale of a decade. if they were truly “sweating bullets”, they would be thinking on a time scale of a fiscal quarter.

        make no mistake about it, tesla has shown automakers that there is a market, especially at the high end, for BEVs. but other automakers are doing something that tesla can’t do: investigating zero-emissions alternatives to BEVs.

        i tend to agree with you that tesla’s toughest days are ahead. i think that the people at tesla are very aware of that. tesla has to transform itself from a small volume auto maker to a medium volume auto maker. for tesla to attempt to scale its current structure would consume massive amounts of cash. on this point, i agree with bob lutz. where i disagree with bob lutz is that i tend to believe that tesla has an extremely difficult, but not impossible task ahead of it, where bob lutz seems to think that it is “mission impossible”.

        1. Just_Chris says:

          I think I have to disagree with you on the assessment that Tesla isn’t a threat to companies like MB, Audi and BMW or that these companies aren’t very concerned about the future. These companies (like all companies) rely on growth to survive. Tesla doesn’t have to be selling twice as many cars as those brands to cause them major problems, if they take 5% of the market that these brands had planned on having everything gets very tight. As you rightly point out, the Auto industry makes decisions on a 5 to 10 year time frame. I would argue that it is in some instances even longer than that, a new factory or complete refit of an existing line might not pay for it’s self in 10 years. The question is are we seeing a bubble develop? Will the Tesla factory mean there is an over supply of luxury vehicles? I don’t know, I suspect that there are those who follow the market more closely that would have a far better understanding than me.

          There is also another elephant in the room, which is the EU emissions standards. If BMW, Audi and MB had planned to sell a given number of low emission vehicles to lower their fleet average and now there is a major competitor in that very specific pool they will have to find another way to meet those targets, which could be challenging in a short time frame.

          Having said all of that I think all 3; MB, BMW and Audi are in good shape to meet these challenges going forward. All 3 have good offerings in the low emissions space that could be improved very quickly in a short time frame to meet Tesla.

          With the very limited amount of information that I have my personal opinion is that there are tough times ahead but not just for Tesla.

  12. speculawyer says:

    I hope they have a lot of success with this in order to wake up Sergio.

  13. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    I look forward to the day when all PHEVs have an electric range of at least 60 miles, thereby entirely eliminating gasoline use from most trips in such cars.

    However, for the first PHEV minivan to appear in the market, 30 miles of electric range is pretty good. That EV range isn’t much worse than what the Volt 1.0 had in its first year, and the Volt 1.0 is a pretty small car.

    Go Chrysler!

  14. nicholas says:

    Couldn’t they have used a smaller generator?

    I’m hoping all minivans set plugin as the new baseline.

  15. Pumpking says:

    Has Chrysler published an amount of useable battery?

    If 14 Kwh is useable, then inefficient driving at 2.5 mi/Kwh would yield a range of 35 miles! Is the cd that high?

  16. Mikael says:

    Worlds first plug in minivan! (in the world of USA) :P…

    I know two people personally that drive electric minivans. And there are a number of electric minivan models in China.

    But then again, who is counting anything outside the US borders. 😉

    1. Nero says:

      My exact thoughts. I always thought that first in the world was Nissan e-nv200 combi, but then came out with Chinese minivans, some of them even having 70-80kwh batteries few years already.
      Kind of similar situation: world cup for baseball, when USA plays on its own in that competition:D

  17. FSJ says:

    Yes, but are we going to be able to tow with the Pacifica? Definitively.

  18. Nikki Munnerlyn says:

    I have a lemon from Chrysler and it’s cost me so much money that I didn’t have and who ever made the Pacifica needs shot

    1. Aaron says:

      If you have a true lemon, there are lemon laws in your state to take care of it. Usually when someone posts this, they work for Honda or Toyota because their minivans are still playing catch-up for decades.

  19. Ken Kaiser says:

    How could it be cheaper to replace batteries with a gas engine, transmission, cooling system, and gas tank?