Plug-In Hybrid Chrysler Town & Country Expected To Launch In Late 2016 – Full-Size PHEV Crossover Coming In Late 2017

SEP 10 2015 BY MARK KANE 31

Old Prototype Chrysler PHEV Minivan

Old Prototype Chrysler PHEV Minivan

After years since Chrysler abandoned its EV prototypes under the ENVI vehicle program, finally next year it will offer its first plug-in model.

It will be the plug-in hybrid minivan Town & Country, which will debut in refreshed form at the NAIAS in January.

Automotive News’ sources are indicating late spring 2016 for introduction of conventional version (with new features like foot-activated sliding side doors), while the PHEV version will land six months later in the second half of 2016.

We are now likely less than one year before this “75 MPG” plug-in hybrid hits the market.

Editor’s Note:  We say “75 MPG” because other than the vehicle’s existence, that confusing efficiency metric quote used by Chrysler CEO/President Al Gardner is the only other source of data on the new plug-in van.

Additionally, in about two years from now, a plug-in version of full-size Chrysler crossover will be also introduced:

Full-size crossover: The all-wheel-drive crossover with three rows of seats, due in 2017, will share a platform and many features with the redesigned Town & Country, but without its sliding doors and Stow ‘n Go seats. A plug-in hybrid version is scheduled for late 2017.”

Source: Automotive News

Categories: Chrysler


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31 Comments on "Plug-In Hybrid Chrysler Town & Country Expected To Launch In Late 2016 – Full-Size PHEV Crossover Coming In Late 2017"

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PEV in a badly needed market segment from an automaker that badly needs to put out some PEVs!

Exactly what I was thinking! It’ll come down to execution and particularly price!

Better late than never. Bring it on, Chrysler!

I’m happy enough with my 09 Grand Caravan but would love to get 20-30 miles of AER out of it. My guess is a 16 KWH battery to maximize the federal rebate. Given that it’s a minivan that my be good for 25 miles AER on the highway. That would be enough for all of my family’s daily driving save for long weekend trips that I’d need an ICE or Tesla for anyway.

At this point I’m looking at 2017 and have to consider a T&C Plug in, Highlander Plug in (only if they offer 7 seats), or in that price range maybe a used 7 Seat Tesla. If in 18 months they are all in that $30K-35K range I’d probably go with the Tesla and hang onto the 09 Grand Caravan I have. Will the resale price of a Model S 85 go down that low in early 2017? I won’t hold my breath.

I think Tesla predicted 52% resale value after 3 years, so 35% after 5 years sounds about right.

Well, it’s about durn time that someone offered one of the larger passenger vehicles as a PHEV! No doubt this will be one of the rapidly growing number of Limbo dancer PHEVs (“How low can you go?” in all-electric range), but you’ve gotta start somewhere.

“Crawl before you can walk; walk before you can run.”

* * * * *

The article says:

“We are now likely less than one year before this “75 MPG” plug-in hybrid hits the market.”

Very sorry to see an InsideEVs contributor buying into this nonsense about using “MPG” in a way that renders the term meaningless. So, if you put just one gallon of gasoline in this PHEV, will it be able to drive 75 miles without recharging or refueling? Not only “No!”, but “Hell no!” Even if you wrongly include electric-powered miles in the so-called “MPG”, it’s still a wildly untruthful claim.

I am sure that was supposed to read MPGe (which is still a very confusing term in PHEVs).

Yes, it should likely be 75 MPGe, but we used that metric in air-quotes here because that (odd) number is the only actual specific information that has slipped out on the PHEV van, and we aren’t sure Chrysler knew what they were talking about when they said it.

It was used by Chrysler CEO/President Al Gardner to describe the van’s efficiency.

We probably should have ‘sussed’ that out further in the story – will add in a note now.
Here is the link to the original story quote, and our take on the verbage at the time:

“According to Chrysler, its plug-in hybrid minivan could match the fuel economy of a Toyota Prius. Chrysler CEO/President Al Gardner previously stated that the van will get “75 miles per gallon,” but it seemed Gardner was unaware as to how plug-in vehicles get rated by the EPA. So does this mean 75 MPG on the first gallon, 75 MPGe, or something else entirely? We’ll let you know just as soon as Gardner sorts it out.”


Thank you for your detailed response, as well as the Editor’s Note inserted into the article.

Of course, Jay, it would be more than a bit arrogant of me to tell you how to do your job, but my inner Grammar Nazi would like to gently suggest that if a similar situation arises in the future, InsideEVs might consider describing such misleading claims in terms such as “so-called ’75 MPG'” or “described as ’75 mpg’ by Chrysler”.

Yeah, GM really dropped the ball with artificially pigeon-holing the voltec to a Volt-sized vehicle. They could have electrified most of their medium and large vehicle lineups by now. They would have been way ahead of emissions and efficiency regulations. But nobody thinks ahead nor can they see past the end of their nose…

GM could start doing that at any time, if they wanted to.

They don’t want to. They aren’t going to do anything which will eat into the sales of their own best-selling gasmobiles.

I don’t see how it is pigeonholed at all. They could easily drop that drivetrain into their other cars with a few modifications. They have have just chosen not to do so yet.

TomArt / Pushmi-Pullyu / Speculawyer,
No need for conspiracy theories here. It’s pretty obvious Voltec production is still constrained by battery production capacity (made yet worse since they also want to sell the Bolt BEV, which needs more kWh per vehicle). Given that, it would be silly to split that small-ish production capacity over multiple model types — they wouldn’t recover the R&D costs.
This will take a couple of years to change, until battery factories seriously increase capacities. We have to be patient…

This is also the reason why there’re no larger CUV/SUV BEVs in production yet (except the upcoming Tesla X) — the same amount of battery kWh needed for one would supply 2 compact BEVs for the same range.

Battery supply constraints is the supposed reason that the Mitsubishi Outlander US release has been repeatedly pushed back and production of i-MiEVs came to a standstill. The same number of cells can build 1/3 more Outlanders than iMiEVs, and there’s no guessing which is more in demand and profitable.

ENVI rises from the dead. Now how about bringing back that hot Circuit in the center of the photo.

Yeah, I think that Dodge Circuit would have been nice. An EV sports car more affordable than the Tesla Roadster would have definitely sold a few.

My biggest concern is the reliability of the Chrysler’s offering. Its reliability is already pretty bad already (per Consumer Report) for regular vehicle.

And if you look at the track record of the Fiat 500e…

For the past 5 years we have had a couple of EVs (first a Leaf, now a RAV4) and a couple of Chrysler minivans (2010, now a 2013): we’ve had no problems with any of these vehicles.

I’m not saying that EVs are not reliable.

I’m saying that Chrysler’s vehicles aren’t.

Chrysler Minivans currently have very good reliability because they are extreme long in the teeth in terms of model changes. However, reliability drops significantly on Chrysler’s “new” vehicles, which is potentially the case for the new minivan.

Fiat ranked dead last in terms of reliability. Search within InsideEVs will show some 6 or so recalls/stop sale for a 2 year vehicle, and these recalls aren’t on the small potato side either.

What AER will it have? Will it be something remotely useful? 25-30 miles. Or useless like 5, 7, etc.

The original design was ~20 mile. Since mini-vans prices are $30k – $40k, I would not expect much more than a copy of the Energi strategy.

I’d be happy with the Energi strategy, at least at first. It gets a whole new demographic used to plugging in, and used to driving electric. Then the owners will demand ever more electric range. But even with 20 miles AER, it will still make a huge dent in a family’s gasoline usage.

>>But even with 20 miles AER, it will still make a huge dent in a family’s gasoline usage.


Many of these vehicles make several short 5-10 mile trips for household duties, and sit at home for an hour or two in between. If rated for 20, they may be able to do 30+ electric each day.

Most 3 row SUV’s and Minivans get mileage in the mid to upper teens. MPG improvements are not linear. It makes a bigger difference to replace these miles than the small commuter cars.

I meant to say city mileage not mileage.

Many get heavy city usage.

Yeah, I have to agree. Of course we’d all like it to have 50 miles of AER but it would be hard to squeeze all those components into the car and it would make it expensive. A mini-van will be much less aerodynamic and heavier than a Volt.

So 20 miles would be fine for now. But I would like to see them increase the range in the following years.

Even with just 20 miles of range, you can seriously reduce gasoline usage if you make a habit of plugging in whenever you can.

It still suffers the problem of being a Chrysler. OTOH, I never thought I’d consider a GM car and the Volt fixed that. If Chrysler can do for it’s plug-in what GM did with the Volt, then I may consider it.

Yeah, I’ve been thinking the exact same thing.

Haha, Sergio. You have to put out plug-ins. That is where the market is going.

That would be smart to expand PHEV into SUVs and Minivans which are being used for running short errands and long distance drive to “your choices of destination” for family trips…

Curious: What would it take, in a sort of EV Conversion, to pull the components from a 2014-2015 Volt, and put them in a Current 2014-2015 Dodge Mini-Van, inserting the Motor, Engine, Gearbox, Battery, and Instrumentation along with Computers, etc; only changing the Front Axles to heavier ones, along with the Minivans Wheels & Tires? Could this ‘Hack’ get 20 miles range with the bigger beast and less aerodynamics? Even in the City?

Hard to say – but I would guess the battery capacity in the Kia Soul EV at 27 kWh would be a better capacity number, if not targeting PIP (Plug-In Prius) like, short ranges! Plus – that way – they could actually give you 20 – 22 kWh usable and keep the balance for Buffer, Age Extension, and Warranty Space!

The much easier hack would be to drop the Highlander Hybrid system into a Sienna, then add lithium ion battery pack to make it plug in (pick one from a BEV with same voltage). The drive systems of the two vehicles are almost identical, it should bolt right in. The Highlander hybrid with the extra rear wheel electric motor has plenty of power to drive in EV mode.