Chrysler announces plug-in hybrid minivan

Chrysler will launch a plug-in hybrid version of the next-generation Town & Country minivan late next year, about a year earlier than the company had previously indicated. Other hybrids, including a full-size crossover, are also in the product pipeline.

The plug-in minivan, which would be a first for the industry, will get 75 MPGe, according to Chrysler Brand President and CEO Al Gardner, who spoke in May at the company’s Investor Day presentation.

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Confirming plans for the new PHEV at this week’s Paris auto show, CEO Sergio Marchionne couldn’t resist making a few disparaging comments. “I think you need to be very, very careful if you think that electrification, given its inherent limitations on range, especially in markets like the US, will effectively displace combustion,” quoth he. “It will never provide the travel distance that you require, especially based on what we know today about the storage capabilities of batteries. I keep on running into this fundamental economic obstacle of overcoming the cost equation of electrification. You can’t. You can’t unless there is a wholesale change and a fundamental shift in the pricing structure of cars.”

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At the May Investor Day presentation, Chrysler VP Bob Lee acknowledged that the company purchased credits, presumably from Tesla and/or Nissan, in order to comply with California’s ZEV regulations. “For MY 2012 in the US, FCA was compliant with fuel economy requirements, but had negative credit generation due to model mix. In other words, the company purchased credits to be compliant, and will continue to do so when appropriate to provide time to understand and decision the complex business cases associated with new technologies,” Lee said.

 

Source: Automotive News