2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is company's first electrified minivan and promises 80 MPGe

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 12, 2016

The electrification technology was actually ideally suited for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan on account of its large footprint and multiple daily trip patterns, according to Bob Lee, Vice President and Head of Engine, Powertrain and Electrified Propulsion Systems Engineering, FCA – North America.

The all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica comes with a promising technology that drives its electric form. The Pacifica Hybrid, which will be presented in the second half of 2016, is the first electrified minivan in the industry.

The vehicle is expected to deliver an estimated range of 30 miles with around 248 horsepower solely on zero-emissions electric power with a 16-kWh lithium-ion (Li-on) battery.

It can achieve an efficiency rating of 80 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) in city driving based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards. The Pacifica Hybrid is capable of becoming a part-time electric vehicle, like a conventional hybrid when the battery’s energy starts reducing to a certain threshold.

Power is derived either by the electric drive system or by a supporting specially built new version of the award winning FCA US Pentastar 3.6 liter V-6 engine. The battery is neatly packed beneath the second row floor in the new unique battery case and can be fully recharged in only two hours with a 240-volt plug-in system.

The innovative EVT, i.e. electrically variable transmission, is the driving force behind the all-new Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. The FCA US, which has patented and designed the EVT, has given it two electric motors with both capable of driving the vehicle’s wheels.

In traditional electric vehicles, one motor serves as a generator while a second much larger motor delivers torque to its wheels. But the unique 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is equipped with a one-way clutch that uses the motor only as a generator when the driving situation calls for it.

This results in increased efficiency and better component packaging and refinement. Unique hybrid engine This latest hybrid engine, based on the recently upgraded Pentastar structure, has an Atkinson cycle combustion system for better pumping efficiency complemented with a superb vehicle performance as the hybrid electric motors work in combination with the engine when a full load performance is needed.

The thermodynamic efficiency is further improved by unique ‘handed’ pistons that deliver a compression ratio increase to 12.5:1. As with most hybrid engines, the alternator and power steering pump are eliminated, resulting to the re-engineering of the front cover and front accessory drive system.

As with the upgraded Pentastar V-6, the same friction reduction improvements along with fuel injection and ignition improvements have been incorporated in the specially adapted hybrid engine too. But the 2-step valve lift and cooled EGR have been eliminated with the introduction of the Atkinson Cycle combustion system.

Recharging When there is deceleration, the motor is triggered to turn to a generator, which in turn sends back electricity to the battery pack. The 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack has been placed in a neat package in the second row floor, thus making the cargo space area roomier. The exterior charge port is placed on the driver’s side fender for easy plug in.

Press Release

First hybrid powertrain in minivan segment

"Due to its large footprint and multiple daily trip patterns, the minivan is ideally suited for electrification technology," said Bob Lee, Vice President and Head of Engine, Powertrain and Electrified Propulsion Systems Engineering, FCA – North America.

"The all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica lives up to this promise and then some, with efficiency, power and refinement." Launching in second half of 2016, the Pacifica Hybrid is the industry's first electrified minivan. With an estimated 248 horsepower, the vehicle will deliver an estimated range of 30 miles solely on zero-emissions electric power from a 16-kWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery.

In city driving, it is expected to achieve an efficiency rating of 80 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe), based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards.

When the battery's energy is depleted to a certain threshold, the Pacifica Hybrid becomes a part-time electric vehicle, like a conventional hybrid. Power to the wheels is supplied by the electric drive system or supplemented by a specially adapted new version of the award-winning FCA US Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 engine.

The battery pack – neatly packaged under the second row floor in the new unique battery case – may be fully recharged in as little as two hours using a 240-volt plug-in system. The pivotal technology behind the all-new Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is its innovative electrically variable transmission (EVT). Designed and patented by FCA US, the device features two electric motors – both of which are capable of driving the vehicle's wheels.

Conventional electrification schemes dedicate one motor to serve as a generator and a second motor – usually much larger – to deliver torque to the wheels. But the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid uses a one-way clutch that allows the motor typically used only as a generator to deliver torque to the wheels, depending on driving conditions. The result is increased efficiency, refinement and improved component packaging.

Unique hybrid engine

Based on the newly upgraded Pentastar engine architecture, the new hybrid engine features an Atkinson cycle combustion system for improved pumping efficiency without compromising vehicle performance due to its hybrid electric motors working in tandem with the engine when full load performance is required. Unique "handed" pistons provide a compression ratio increase to 12.5:1 for further thermodynamic efficiency improvement.

The front cover and front accessory drive system was re-engineered due to the elimination of the alternator and power steering pump which is common to most hybrid engines.

Friction reduction improvements, along with ignition and fuel injection improvements found on the upgraded Pentastar V-6 are all part of the specially adapted hybrid Pentastar engine, while 2-step valve lift and cooled EGR have been removed with the addition of Atkinson cycle combustion system.

Recharging

Deceleration triggers the motor to turn into a generator, which creates electricity to send back to the battery pack. The 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack in the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is stored efficiently under the second-row floor, keeping the rear cargo area as roomy as ever and preserving the third-row Stow 'n Go seating and storage.

The exterior charge port is located on the driver's side fender for quick and easy plug in after exiting the vehicle. On the inside, a charging indicator light is located on the instrument panel so owners can easily monitor the battery charge process.

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