Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid (InsideEVs/Tom Moloughney)

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid (InsideEVs/Tom Moloughney)

Chrysler unveiled at NAIAS its first series-production plug-in hybrid Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid (see photos and videos).

We don't exactly understand why Chrysler named it hybrid instead of plug-in hybrid, but it will have a decent all-electric range of 30 miles and sales are to begin in the second half of this year.

Green Car Reports recently interviewed Mike Duhaime, Chrysler’s global director for electrification, to get some more details on the Pacifica Hybrid.

Chrysler's study indicates that the average round-trip commute for this type of vehicle stands at 29 miles - and this is why they developed car with 30 miles all-electric range (and probably even more likely a reason was to secure the full $7,500 federal tax credit for the 16 kWh battery too).

Electric mode is apparently good enough to work over the full speed range, at least until someone depresses the pedal to the metal.

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid 7 or 8 Seat Options

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid 7 or 8 Seat Options

The battery pack compromises the 2nd row "Stow 'N' Go" folding seats, but otherwise the plug-in hybrid is mostly the same as the conventional model.

"That’s also a size that fits neatly into the Stow ‘n’ Go second-row seating tubs for the vehicle. In the Hybrid, the seats no longer fold into the floor, but all the rest of the van’s cargo versatility is intact."

A very interesting part of the discussion was on the drivetrain, which wasn't presented in detail at NAIAS. There is a large 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine borrowed from the conventional model, but tuned for a different application for the plug-in hybrid - the large size makes it easier to be flexible and quieter (this is why GM increased the size of the 2016 Volt engine).

There are also two electric motors, a planetary gear and clutches that enables it to have various driving modes - from single electric motor, through two electric motors, ending with one electric motor and second electric motor engaged as a generator propelled by the engine.

Pacificia Hybrid trunk

Pacificia Hybrid trunk

The first electric motor is larger and both of them have different gear ratios to cover a broad range of speeds.

"Effectively, one motor is on the engine, and the other is at the wheels. In pure-electric mode, the Pacifica Hybrid performs like an electric car with a very large motor; and then when the battery depletes, one motor is used to start the engine and act as a generator.

“When it runs as a hybrid, when the engine’s running, we use Motor A to balance the engine and put it in its most optimum range, and in parallel with Motor B we get the ratio, and the torque to the wheels,” said Duhaime.

“Otherwise when it’s an electric vehicle we decouple it from the engine and both motors run as a pair, and we get all the performance from the electric motor system.”

Several thousand sold annually probably is the base sales target.

What we know up to date:

  • expected 30 miles of all-electric range and 80 MPGe fuel economy
  • all-electric mode capable of over 120 km/h (75 mph)
  • 16 kWh battery to qualify for $7,500 federal tax credit (liquid-cooled, consist pouch cells)
  • 2-hour charging capability
  • 3.6-liter Pentastart V6 with lowered output to 248hp with 230lb ft of torque, and two electric motors
  • seats for 8 (option)
  • sales launch in second half of 2016
Source: Green Car Reports