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PHOTO CAPTION: Chrysler 700c Minivan Concept unveiled at 2012 North American International Auto Show.

Chrysler Aiming to Rollout Plug-In Minivan in 2015

After many cancelled attempts to create a viable electric minivan, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles now appears ready to bring one to market as early as this year.

Published: 24-Mar-2015

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne may have issues with pure-electric cars, but last year he gave his blessing to a plug-in version of the company's category leading minivan, moving up the time table for its debut from 2016 to late this year, likely in December, 2015.

In order to justify the increased cost of electrification, the company will introduce its first electric-hybrid in its Chrysler Town & Country minivan, with performance claimed to be close to that of the Toyota Prius in terms of miles-per-gallon-equivalency. Conjectures Automotive News:

The 2014 plug-in Prius is rated at 95 mpg-e, a rating for combined use of electricity and gasoline. After the battery is depleted, the vehicle is rated at 50 mpg combined highway and city.

Production will likely take place at the Windsor, Canada plant, where all North American Chrysler minivans are assembled. The size of the battery pack and EV-mode range have not yet been revealed, nor has pricing been announced.

Over the last several decades, Chrysler had made many tentative forays into the electrification of its vehicles, starting 1993 with the TEVan, followed by the EPIC minivan, and the Natrium fuel cell minivan. Three years ago, it experimented with its first plug-in hybrid minivan, but called off the effort when the Electrovaya lithium-polymer batteries began overheating.

Presumably, Chrysler engineers and designers have come up with a more reliable and affordable solution to what could be a huge and virtually untapped market.

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