33 years ago, Chrysler changed the automotive landscape with the dawn of the minivan. Both Lee Iacocca and Hal Sperlich, fresh off a rejection from Ford Motor Company for a minivan concept, landed at cross town rivals Chrysler. The minivan would soon surface, a vehicle that even still today, continues as a benchmark for innovation.
One such milestone is the number of segment firsts; 78 total innovations through the first five minivan generations.
With the introduction of the Chrysler Pacifica and Pacifica Hybrid, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles adds another 37 minivan firsts to the portfolio for a total of 115 segment innovations. Another milestone comes with the first plug-in hybrid electric minivan, the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. The first unit rolled off the line at FCA’s US Windsor Assembly Plant recently.
Since the minivan launched in 1983, the Windsor plant has built 10 million of the more than 14.3 million vehicles sold to date. Like the many milestones already set by Chrysler’s minivans, the Windsor plant sees an additional one. The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid that rolled off the Windsor line recently was the first electric vehicle the plant ever produced.
“The nearly 5,900 employees at Windsor Assembly are bringing more than 33 years of minivan production knowledge and expertise to the launch of the Pacifica Hybrid,” said Brian Harlow, Head of Manufacturing, FCA North America. “They understand, now more than ever, how critical it is for our manufacturing processes to be directly connected to our diverse and expanding customer base.”
According to Harlow, the Windsor Assembly Plant has played a critical role in the evolution of Chrysler’s minivan.
“Building the Dodge Grand Caravan, the Chrysler Pacifica with the traditional gas powertrain and now the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid on the same assembly line requires the expanded application of World Class Manufacturing methods and tools to ensure we deliver world class quality in every vehicle we make,” he said.
FCA US invested $2.6 billion to develop the Pacifica, including its hybrid counterpart, with $744 million allocated to the plant to add floor space, retool, and upgrade equipment.
The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid was engineered to provide families with versatility, safety, and efficiency. We recently reviewed the non-hybrid Pacifica and were impressed by how quiet and refined it was on the road.
The forthcoming Pacifica Hybrid will reach fuel economy levels not previously seen in the minivan segment. The vehicle delivers an EPA approved range of 33 miles solely on zero-emissions electric power from a 16-kWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery. Furthermore, the Pacifica Hybrid landed a fuel economy rating of 84 miles-per-gallon-equivalent (MPGe), reflecting the combined city- and highway-cycle performance in electric-mode only.
“Minivan drivers travel an average of around 30 miles each day, meaning that most Pacifica Hybrid owners will be able to complete their daily activities solely on electric power,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Car Brands, Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and Fiat, FCA North America.
The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid overcomes range anxiety nicely too.
“For those longer weekend trips, the 33-mile all-electric range combined with a full tank of fuel will deliver an expected total range of 566 miles, alleviating the potential of any range anxiety,” Kuniskis said.
In order to minimize the intrusion of the battery pack into the vehicle, everything is packaged under the second-row floor, and covered in a special case. The placement prevents the loss of valuable passenger and cargo room, one of the hallmarks of the Pacifica.
The battery pack can be fully charged in about two hours using a 240-volt plug-in system. Although you don’t need to see the battery pack to know it’s a Pacifica Hybrid.
An exclusive Silver Teal Pearl Coat paint will differentiate it from the rest.
Pricing & Availability
The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid starts at $34,495 with an available U.S. federal tax credit, although not including state and local incentives. Expect the vehicle in dealerships over the next several months.
For now, the men and women at the Windsor Assembly Plant are working diligently to build up the supply and deliver something truly special for minivan lovers.
“The Windsor team is proud to build the industry’s first hybrid minivan, and is confident that it will provide a positive and delightful experience to our future customers,” Harlow said.
Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan.
Photos & Source: FCA US LLC.