hybrid minivan update

Chrysler: The “EV” plug-in hybrid minivan is toast. It was one of three vehicles in Chrysler’s ENVI program which has been canceled. The hyperlinks in my 2008 ENVI post are now dead.

Honda: It has been reported that Honda plans to add a hybrid minivan in 2011.

Toyota: Rumors of a “Prius MPV” (small hybrid van) have been swirling for a couple years now. They persist despite no substantiation.


Chrysler update: The Detroit News says that Chrysler “plans to offer a two-mode hybrid version of the Dodge Ram pickup next year. It will be followed by a plug-in hybrid Ram and a plug-in hybrid minivan in 2011.” The article also predicts that Chrysler will sell a pure electric version of the Fiat Doblò in late 2011 or 2012.

The Michigan Messenger also mentions a hybrid Chrysler minivan, but other sources do not. They do point out that Chrysler received $70 million in DoE grants to support its ENVI effort.

Chrysler announces plug-in hybrid minivan

Chrysler EV hybrid minivan

A surprise press release came out of Chrysler yesterday, announcing plug-in hybrid vehicles “targeted to be produced in 2010 for consumers in North American markets.”

Hybrid minivans from Chrysler is a possibility I had mentioned before, but I didn’t expect to hear of a production target so soon.

“With the Chrysler EV, we are able to blend seven-passenger capability and the luxury of the Chrysler Town & Country minivan with electric-drive technology, demonstrating family practicality with zero compromise,” said Rhodes. “ENVI’s electric-drive development vehicles showcase our accelerated application of electric-drive systems into a wide range of vehicles in Chrysler’s future product portfolio.”

The Chrysler EV combines the electric-drive components of an Electric Vehicle with an integrated small-displacement engine and generator to produce additional electricity to power the electric-drive system when needed. This provides all of the positive attributes of an Electric Vehicle and extends the driving range to be equivalent to today’s gasoline-powered vehicles – without compromises.

The Chrysler EV uses a 190 kW (255 horsepower) motor, producing 350 N·m (258 lb.-ft.) of torque, providing 0 to 60 mph acceleration in approximately nine seconds. The Chrysler EV Range-extended Electric Vehicle can drive 40 miles on all-electric power, and boasts a range of 400 miles on approximately eight gallons of gasoline. This makes the Chrysler EV the perfect fuel-efficient family vehicle.

Even without the plug-in aspect, 360 miles on 8 gallons would be 45 mpg. That’s darn good for a seven-passenger vehicle, if they can pull it off.

In addition to the minivan there are also a plug-in sports car (Dodge) and a plug-in hybrid Jeep. Confusingly, they seem to have given all three the “EV” model name. Check out the ENVI team web pages for (scant) details.

[update: These should qualify for the maximum $7500 tax credit. Some sources say that Chrysler intends to bring only one of the three models to production by 2010, the other two within a decade.]