Chrysler’s Hybrid Town & Country Arriving Early
Back in May, when Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne laid out his 5 year strategy for the company, he announced a plug-in hybrid version of the Chrysler Town & Country minivan coming in 2016. For families looking to reduce their fuel costs, it looks like Christmas might come early.
Hybrid technology exists in most segments of the automotive industry, including cars, trucks, and even supercars, but not minivans. Not until now.
Chrysler had planned a plug-in hybrid minivan as far back as 2008, even debuting a concept in 2009, however those plans were scrapped in 2009 when Fiat SpA assumed control of Chrysler.
This next-generation plug-in hybrid minivan will be based on a front-wheel drive platform, with an AWD option. Horsepower is estimated at 290. Range could be as much as 700 miles, and charging could take as little as 2-4 hours on a 220-volt charger. The Town & Country’s base will also support Chrysler’s upcoming plug-in hybrid full-size crossover, due out in 2017.
Even better than a hybrid, the Town & Country will be a plug-in hybrid, allowing it to travel around town on purely electric power, without using gasoline. It’s been suggested that the hybrid Town & Country minivan will achieve combined fuel economy numbers in the same range as the much smaller Toyota Prius. This is a significant change for the minivan, most of which run on V6 engines and rarely get more than 25 mpg. For example, the Honda Odyssey only gets 19 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway. The Toyota Sienna gets even worse numbers. The plug-in version of the Prius gets as much as 95 mpg on electricity alone, before switching over to traditional hybrid mode, still achieving about 50 mpg. The Prius, however, can only go 11 miles on purely electric power.
Pricing of the Chrysler Hybrid Town & Country has not been announced yet, but we’re expecting it to start around the current price of a fully loaded 2014 gasoline model, plus options and delivery costs.
The traditional version of the Town & Country makes up about 50 percent of all Chrysler’s sales in the U.S. and is among the top three selling minivans in that country.
By Linda Aylesworth – car-news.ca