By on December 10, 2016

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited

General Motors and Ford executives will battle it out for the media spotlight at next month’s North American International Auto Show, but that doesn’t mean Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has nothing to talk about in Detroit.

There’s still a splashy reveal in the works, but FCA has chosen the earlier Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas for the unveiling. According to one report, FCA’s mystery vehicle signals a big change for the automaker.

Unnamed sources tell Bloomberg that the vehicle is a fully-electric model based on the Chrysler Pacifica minivan. “Based on” could mean a wholly new model, perhaps a crossover, that shares the Pacifica’s platform, or simply an all-electric Pacifica.

Either way, a large EV would be a major departure for FCA, as its sweater-loving CEO hasn’t exactly been the technology’s biggest cheerleader. Sergio Marchionne famously slammed his company’s money-losing electric Fiat 500e, and told the media last June that he was “not even sure you can recover all of your costs – let alone generate a profit – through electrification.”

Marchionne made that comment during a swipe at Tesla. Sitting on the technology fence has short-term benefits, but eventually a company needs to join the herd or risk being left behind. It seems even Marchionne sees which way the wind is blowing. Already, the company has taken a step towards an electrified future with a plug-in hybrid variant of the Pacifica, but GM’s 238-mile Chevrolet Bolt recently moved the goalposts.

An electric crossover or minivan would hand FCA industry bragging rights. That’s assuming, of course, that the vehicle actually makes it to production.

While the automaker hasn’t confirmed the Bloomberg report, it did hint at its truthfulness. Speaking to The Detroit News, FCA spokesman Rick Deneau said, “I think it will prove more obvious why specifically we are showing the vehicle first at CES once it’s revealed.”

[Image: © 2016 Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars]

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31 Comments on “Chrysler has Something Big, Green and Pacifica-based Planned for January: Report...”

  • avatar

    I have no doubt that The Sweatered One will announce a new vehicle which will cover all the bases: pure electric turbine power, Level 8 autonomous capabilities with automatic posting of the car’s progress through GTA Milan, dual rail guns to eliminate left lane squatters and tailgaters and a new dealer base offering future employment to Game Stop refugees.

    Sergio will tell everyone accumulated that the vehicle they debut at CES will be available for sale by the end of 2017 and that it will come out right after the next version of Doom …

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    Isn’t the Pacifica Hybrid basically an electric car with a generator, like the Volt? If that’s the case it’s a matter of stuffing it with the biggest power pack customers can afford.

    It doesn’t really matter what Sergio said about electric cars in the past. He’s a salesman, he’ll become electric’s biggest backer if FCA can make a buck.

    • 0 avatar

      Eh, it’s more like an extremely large Prius in powertrain design. Uses a power split gearbox, which is fundamentally a heavily electrified, yes, but also fundamentally internal combustion powertrain, but both electric motors can be combined in the Pacifica Hybrid (and Prius Prime) to get more power in EV mode.

      If you were doing a pure EV, you’d use a larger motor and ditch the second motor and most of the transmission.

  • avatar
    Middle-Aged Miata Man

    Oy vey.

  • avatar

    Balls, that sounds expensive and heavy.

  • avatar

    Should be a range topping grand wagoneer. That would be knock-out.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Shame on GM that FCA has managed to design and manufacture the hybrid Pacifica before they stuck a Voltec drivetrain into a CUV. Seems like such a no-brainer to me.

    • 0 avatar

      What makes it more of a no-brainer was Chrysler’s decision to equip the “hybrid” minivan with a battery big enough to qualify for the whole $7,500 federal tax credit. Chrysler’s pricing suggests that the entire hybrid drivetrain, including battery could be brought to market for about the amount of the whole federal credit – or less. To put things in perspective, the Pacifica Hybrid fully decked out, after tax credit, is cheaper than the base Chevrolet Suburban.

    • 0 avatar

      GM’s tried hybrid SUVs. Remember the Tahoe Hybrid? If so, you’re in a very small group.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        “GM’s tried hybrid SUVs. Remember the Tahoe Hybrid? If so, you’re in a very small group.”

        Considered buying one in 2007 but they weren’t available and the lowered tow rating was a show stopper for me. They arrived on dealer lots just as the US economy tanked. Which was probably the biggest reason for their failure.

        Regardless comparing the Tahoe hybrid to a CUV w/voltec drivetrain is apples to oranges. Surprised you even bought that up.

  • avatar

    FCA-branded Generac with a “special” tow connection to haul behind the Pacifica. It’s the Volt/i3 concept, done up FCA style.

    Who’s with me.

  • avatar

    Lets remember the US Post Office (USPS) wanted an electric fleet long ago. The Grumman LLV’s are near end of chassis life. More than Half there fleet travels less than 90 miles per day

  • avatar

    Must be a CUV, should be a large one. If they want to get their monies worth put out a CUV for all size brackets. They could use this platform for all of them.

  • avatar

    I overread the “green” above and got my early-morning-mind set on a Pacifica Hellcat. Even though an electric van is actually closer to what the household council could greenlight as a purchase.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m guessing that the same Y-chromosome derived toxins responsible for causing families are also the ones that give conventional males a need for speed.

      Isn’t Dog an evil sumbitch?

  • avatar

    Does it matter? How many Pacificas do they sell? 4-5 k a month? No one is buying them. I live in metro Detroit, and never see them. Except sitting at the dealers.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      At this point, what difference does it make.

    • 0 avatar

      How long has it even been out? I haven’t seen a Pacifica on the road yet. But I haven’t seen any new Odysseys or Siennas either. Plenty of crossovers though. The minivan segment just isn’t hot anymore. Too bad that Chrysler threw most of its chips into that market. Meanwhile, the only people having enough kids to need and fill a minivan would be stretching themselves thin for a Caravan.

      • 0 avatar

        Probably depends on where you live. I have seen several Pacificas on the road here in the upper mid-west.

      • 0 avatar

        The minivan market is shrinking, but it’s still significant and FCA still owns 200k units of it. They HAD to update their models to keep that market. Now if only they lowered the roof, raised the suspension, and given it AWD, they’d have a SUV!

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    I’ve seen a couple of them on the road.

  • avatar

    Safe bet it IS an Electric Pacifica. Followed one with “manufacturer” (Michigan) plates down here in SWFL. Had a sticker on the windshield stating “all electric vehicle” (AEV). Other than the sticker, looked EXACTLY like a normal one.

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