This new electric propulsion system pairs an innovative dual motor eFlite electrically variable transmission (EVT) with a specially adapted version of the upgraded 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 gasoline engine.
By combining an adapted version of the award-winning Pentastar V-6 gas engine, with electric power from a 16-kWh lithium ion battery, the Pacifica Hybrid earned a fuel economy rating of 84 miles-per-gallon-equivalent (MPGe) from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
It also has a driving range rating of 566 miles and an electric-only range rating of 33 miles.
“FCA’s powertrain engineers did all the hard work to make the first plug-in hybrid minivan a success,” says WardsAuto Senior Content Director Drew Winter. “They not only reworked the V-6 engine for a hybrid application, but undertook in-house development of an innovative transmission capable of effectively coordinating power from two electric motors and the gasoline engine.”
The technology behind the all-new Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is the innovative dual-motor eFlite (EVT). The powertrain was designed by FCA US LLC engineers, and built by FCA US at the Tipton Transmission Plant in Indiana.
The lithium ion battery that powers the Pacifica Hybrid in electric mode has its roots planted near FCA US headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The batteries were engineered, and manufactured, at LG Chem’s Michigan facilities.
The battery pack is stored under the second-row floor, which engineers state is an ideal location in the minivan.
“From the beginning we knew that’s exactly where the battery had to go,” said John Gibson, FCA chief engineer, electrified powertrain programs.
“It’s in the middle of the vehicle and gives you a low center of gravity to aid in driving dynamics, and it doesn’t impinge on cargo room.”
Two ways to charge
FCA US is providing owners two options for charging: a Level 1 (120V) charger that comes with the minivan and can plug into any household outlet and charge the battery in about 14 hours, or a Level 2 (240V charger) that can charge in about two hours and is available from Mopar through dealers.
When the charge has been depleted, the minivan is powered by a specially adapted version of the Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 engine, which has new camshafts, valves and pistons and uses the Atkinson combustion-cycle system.
This transition from electric to gas power is seamless.
“We didn’t want to have our customers have to choose what mode they have to be in,” Gibson added. “The control system is designed to always put the vehicle in its most efficient mode so that our customers can just get in and drive.”
Through the 22-year history of Wards 10 Best Engines, eight engines produced by FCA US and its predecessor companies have received 17 awards.
The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid pricing starts at $34,495 with available U.S. federal tax credit, not including state and local incentives, and will begin arriving in dealerships over the next several months.
This represents the second electric propulsion system from FCA US named to Wards 10 Best Engines list in last four years – the first was the 83-kW electric motor in the Fiat 500e in 2014.