Minivans are great for large families, but their one inherent flaw is fuel economy. Because they are rather heavy, typically not too aerodynamically efficient, and often require V-6 engines for motivation, minivans often get in the low 20-mpg range in the city and 25 to 28 mpg on the highway. This low fuel economy can drain your wallet rather quickly, and hybrid powertrains have yet to make their way into the minivan segment.
According to a report from Automotive News, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed at the Paris Auto Show that the next-generation Chrysler Town & Country will feature a plug-in hybrid powertrain. This new model is slated to launch some time in 2015, but no specific timetable was given.
The drivetrain is still unknown, as is potential fuel economy. However, Chrysler boss Al Gardner claimed that the Town & Country Plug-In Hybrid will rival the Toyota Prius’ fuel economy. For reference, the 2015 Prius Plug-In Hybrid gets 95 MPGe with a full charge and can run 11 miles on electricity alone. When running on gasoline power, the model gets 50 mpg combined.
Those mpg numbers would be huge gains over the Town & Country’s current 17 mpg city, 25 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined ratings. The only trade-off will be price, and Chrysler has yet to give us any idea on what type of price increase we can expect with the Town & Country Plug-In Hybrid. Since its reveal is just around the corner, I expect to hear all the details very soon.