Chrysler Wheels Out Plug-in Hybrid Town & Country Minivan

By · April 20, 2012

Chrysler Town & Country plug-in

Chrysler has finally made good on its promise to deliver the US' first-ever plug-in hybrid minivan.

Chrysler has finally delivered its first four plug-in hybrid minivans. Though not scheduled for full-scale production, the plug-in hybrid Chrysler Town & Country minivan could be the perfect solution for large families looking to go green.

Unfortunately, the plug-in Chrysler minivan is for test-fleets only. Chrysler delivered four of the plug-in hybrid people-hauling machines to the city of Auburn Hills, Mich. The plug-in minivans are part of a fleet of merely 25 vehicles and will be used to evaluate how often the vehicles need charging and to determine how the vehicles are used on a daily basis.

"This Town & Country minivan is the only minivan to boast a plug-in hybrid powertrain in combination with flex fuel capability," said Abdullah A. Bazzi, senior manager of electrified powertrain programs at Chrysler. "We’re pleased to have four of these 25 vehicles being tested right here in Chrysler’s backyard where they can get real-world use and be evaluated promptly."

For testing purposes, four Level 2 charging stations will be installed at municipal sites in Auburn Hills. City staffers are expected to drive the plug-in Town & Country minivans approximately 16,800 miles over the course of the two-year test period, which should provide Chrysler with ample data to assess.

The project is moving at a slow pace, compared to the overall EV market— in which lots of real-world data and experience has already been gathered. Does Chrysler really need two years of data collection? Still, the success of a test-fleet of electrified minivans could convince Chrysler (or a competitor) to actually build the world's first mass-produced plug-in hybrid family-oriented people-mover.

Comments

· · 2 years ago

"Still, the success of a test-fleet of electrified minivans could convince Chrysler (or a competitor) to actually build the world's first mass-produced plug-in hybrid family-oriented people-mover."

Speaking for my own family of four, I sure hope somebody does soon. I know Ford talks about it (Ford does a lot of green-washing). The Volt is simply too small and my Leaf, much as I love it, cannot get me to the inlaws' house 300 miles away. This is a huge market opportunity, available for the taking...

· · 2 years ago

This is great news although I refuse to get particularly excited given Chrysler's luke-warm (and I'm being generous) response to electric vehicles in the past.
The PHEV minivan is definitely an open market and the first entrant with an affordable solution will definitely clean up. The only problem is that minivans are fairly low-margin vehicles targeting fiscally responsible families. It will be tough to get the prices down low enough to meet expectations.

· · 2 years ago

TWO YEARS! WOW! They will be so far behind I want be able to see them in the rear view mirror at all.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

Seriously frustrated there is no plugin HIghlander. Here it's 2012, and change is painfully tedious. I'd purchase a PHEV 7 seater tomorrow if some company would get with the program and make this a reality.

Envia's 400 Watt * KW H battery might be a nice start ...

· · 2 years ago

You'd think if they were going to burn up 2 years of sales, they'd at least double the data and go with 8 vans.

I can understand some skepticism though. Vans are 'family' cars and not cheap to begin with. If you've got a family to support there may not be room in that budget for van batteries as well.

· Tom K (not verified) · 2 years ago

I'm glad my mother-in-law is beyond the range of my LEAF... ;;-/

· · 2 years ago

@Tom K,
I heard your mother-in-law is sponsoring the installation of a fast charger at a flower shop half-way from your house to hers. Now you can visit her and pick her up some flowers while you top off :-)

· Roger - lexus hybrid driver (not verified) · 2 years ago

No question about it... two years is a long time to let Honda and Toyota get a head start on the PHEV program...both are talking about it NOW...in 2013... Having been a fan of Dodge/Plymouth (remember those?} from the 60s to the 80s, I would welcome either mini or full size van that includes PHEV and 700 mile range... I enjoy the 400H, but sure would like something a bit larger...for camping and family touring.
Just be sure they add an AWD feature for those of us in snow country.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

SOMEONE...ANYONE...PLEASE release a hybrid minivan! Plug-in or not, I just need my people mover (Honda Odyssey) to get better gas mileage than it is right now!

· Anonymous (not verified) · 1 year ago

I'd buy a plug in minivan...someone please make it!

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