2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid plug-in minivan: 33 miles of range, 84 MPGe EPA ratings

During our recent first drive, we were impressed by the Pacifica Hybrid's ability to function as a good electric vehicle, with enough electric power that it didn't kick on its gasoline engine at the drop of a hat.

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    2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid.
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The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid has a somewhat deceptive—or perhaps incomplete—name.

It is in fact a plug-in hybrid, making it the first minivan equipped with that type of powertrain to go into production.

It is also the first mass-market plug-in vehicle sold by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) in all 50 states of the U.S. (The electric Fiat 500e compliance car is sold only in California and Oregon.)

During our recent first drive, we were impressed by the Pacifica Hybrid's ability to function as a good electric vehicle, with enough electric power that it didn't kick on its gasoline engine at the drop of a hat.

Now we have the official EPA electric range and efficiency ratings to supplement those first impressions—and they're slightly higher than projected.

The Pacifica Hybrid is rated at 33 miles of electric range, with an efficiency rating of 84 MPGe.

(Miles Per Gallon Equivalent, or MPGe, is a measurement of how far a car can travel electrically on the same amount of energy as contained in 1 gallon of gasoline.)

Those figures surpass Chrysler's original estimates by 3 miles of range and 4 MPGe, respectively.

Beyond that, however, it is hard to make direct comparisons to other vehicles, given that there are no other plug-in minivans on the road—and no plug-in hybrid SUVs with batteries that have anywhere near the Pacifica Hybrid's capacity.

Chrysler's plug-in minivan uses a fairly large 16-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, with lithium-ion cells supplied by LG Chem.

The pack is mounted in the minivan's floor, sitting in the space normally used by folding second-row seats as part of Chrysler's Stow 'n Go system.

Consequently, the Pacifica Hybrid's second-row seats don't fold, but Chrysler says cargo space is otherwise unaffected.

The battery pack powers a pair of electric motors, with one acting as a generator in most situations.

However, a one-way clutch allows both motors to send their power to the front wheels under certain driving conditions.

The motors work with an adapted version of Chrysler's well-known 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6. It's similar to the one used in non-hybrid versions of the Pacifica, but runs on the Atkinson cycle in the name of efficiency.

Chrysler estimates total system output at 260 horsepower.

All Pacifica models come standard with a 120-volt Level 1 AC charging cord that stows in a special cargo bay.

A 240-volt Level 2 charging station is available only through FCA's Mopar accessories division.

A full charge takes 14 hours from a Level 1 source, and about 2 hours from a Level 2 station, according to Chrysler.

As with virtually all plug-in hybrids, DC fast charging is not available.

Pricing for the plug-in hybrid minivan starts at $43,090, including a $1,095 destination charge, before any federal, state, or local incentives.

The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid qualifies for a $7,500 federal income-tax credit and a $1,500 California state purchase rebate.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best auto bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.

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