Chrysler Has Something Big, Green and Pacifica-based Planned for January: Report

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
chrysler has something big green and pacifica based planned for january report

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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  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Dec 11, 2016

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

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    • Paragon Paragon on Dec 11, 2016

      Likewise, I've seen at least a couple of them, too. Since they're still new on the ground, mt first reaction is "What was that?" Then as it is just out-of-sight, something clicks in my brain and I realize it was a NEW Pacifica. I still daily see far more of the previous, (old) Pacifica while out and about.

  • Jfbar167 Jfbar167 on Dec 12, 2016

    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.

  • FreedMike I don't know why this dash shocks anyone - the whole "touchscreen uber alles" thing is pure Tesla.
  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.