Question. Why haven’t more minivan manufacturers added a hybrid or battery drivetrain? It’s been 16 years since the first hybrid set foot in this country— the Honda Insight.
In theory, it appears to be a match made in heaven. Minivans aren’t fast, though I can confirm that the 2014 Chrysler Town & Country with a V6 will easily spin its front tires. They aren’t light and they aren’t particularly cheap (but they have great margins for automakers). Most modern minivans average only 20 mpg in mixed driving, a pitiful number. Minivans, therefore, are a great platform to add electricity: a hybrid minivan still wouldn’t be fast, wouldn’t be light, and would continue to sell for relatively high margins. Soccer moms and dads alike may appreciate a small bump in fuel economy. Had hybrid minivans arrived sooner, parents would’ve also enjoyed access to the carpool lane on the traffic-packed highways of California.
A full-electric minivan would be even better. Consider all the times you’ve been stuck in traffic behind a parent in a minivan weaving through traffic, trying to quiet the kids down in the back seat. An electric minivan could easily silence the kids with acceleration and speeeeeeeed. The torque means gas mileage doesn’t suffer when you have to take the soccer team to practice. The minivan doesn’t need to be high off the ground like an SUV, so batteries fit in easily without losing style. Distance-wise, an electric drivetrain could easily handle a day of errands around town.
Oh wait, that’s just a Tesla Model X.
In any case, props to FCA for finally making a hybrid minivan. The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica (Sergio, why’d y’all have to keep the Pacifica name?) has a plug-in hybrid trim level. It’s about time.