FCA US Launches 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
Like its gas-powered Pacifica counterpart, the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid features the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 gasoline engine, but this iteration is specially adapted to pair with the innovative, FCA US-designed eFlite dual-motor electrically variable transmission (EVT). As the industry’s first electrified minivan, the Pacifica Hybrid delivers an estimated 260 total system horsepower and an estimated range of 30 miles (50 km) solely on zero-emissions electric power from a 16-kWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery.
In city driving, the Pacifica Hybrid is expected to achieve an efficiency rating of 80 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) (3 l/100km), based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards.
eFlite electrically variable transmission (EVT)
The pivotal technology behind the all-new Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is its eFlite EVT. Designed 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 and improved component packaging.
Under normal driving conditions, the top speed in all-electric mode is approximately 75 miles per hour (120 km/h).
When the battery’s energy is depleted to a certain threshold, the Pacifica Hybrid becomes a part-time electric vehicle, like a conventional hybrid, to maximize energy and efficiency. Power to the wheels is supplied by the electric drive system or supplemented by a specially adapted new version of the FCA US Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 engine.
Unique hybrid Pentastar 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. The Atkinson cycle leaves the intake valve open longer prior to combustion, which helps to reduce pumping losses for increased efficiency.
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 were 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 two-step valve lift and cooled exhaust gas recirculation have been removed with the addition of the Atkinson cycle combustion system.
Because Pacifica Hybrid owners could feasibly drive for weeks or months using just the battery power, the Pacifica Hybrid constantly monitors the average age of fuel in the tank. If needed, the Pacifica Hybrid will automatically shift from electric to hybrid mode to cycle through any fuel that is more than 90 days old, eliminating the need to add a fuel stabilizer.
Recharging the battery of the Pacifica hybrid
The Pacifica Hybrid’s 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, manufactured by LG Chem in Holland, Michigan, is stored under the second-row floor, keeping the rear cargo area as roomy as possible and preserving the third-row Stow ‘n Go seating and storage, plus room for seven passengers.
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 from afar.
The battery pack, covered by up to a 10-year/150,000-mile transferable warranty, may be fully recharged via the 6.6-kWh on-board charger in two hours using a 240-volt (Level 2) charger, available from Mopar through dealers. With a 120-volt (Level 1) charger, which comes standard with the vehicle, the Pacifica Hybrid can be fully recharged in approximately 14 hours. Charging times can be scheduled by the customer for optimal electricity usage, taking advantage of off-peak rates. Level 3 chargers and “superchargers” cannot be used to charge the Pacifica Hybrid.
Taking advantage whenever the driver slows, the Pacifica Hybrid’s fully blended regenerative braking system converts kinetic energy to electricity, helping to provide additional electric range by charging the lithium-ion battery. As the Pacifica Hybrid decelerates from a higher speed, the high-voltage motor becomes a generator and charges the battery to extend the electric range. Provided that the driver is not in an emergency braking situation, the Pacifica Hybrid uses regenerative braking down to approximately 8 mph (13 km/h), at which point it switches over to traditional friction braking.
Finally, features like the all-new Hybrid Electric Pages, Uconnect Access smartphone app and hybrid-exclusive cluster display make it easy for customers to make the most of their Pacifica Hybrid.
Hybrid Electric Pages
The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid comes standard with the Uconnect 8.4 system, which includes an 8.4-inch touchscreen, available navigation and integrated voice command. In addition, the Pacifica Hybrid includes the all-new Hybrid Electric Pages, providing owners with helpful vehicle information. The Hybrid Electric Pages include:
- Power Flow: Provides a dynamic illustration showing how/where power is flowing within the Pacifica Hybrid, from battery to the engine, the wheels or the HVAC system, or from regenerative braking back to the battery
- Driving History: Displays a chart showing distance driven in electric mode and hybrid mode, graphed by day
- Charge Scheduling: Allows owner to schedule the Pacifica Hybrid’s charging times (making the most of off-peak electrical rates) and provides an option to override set times to charge immediately
Hybrid-specific cluster display
The Pacifica Hybrid’s 7-inch color thin-film transistor (TFT) cluster delivers several information at a glance for the driver. The cluster’s display changes color to indicate whether the Pacifica is operating in electric mode (teal) or hybrid mode (blue), while both the battery level and fuel level are always displayed. The Pacifica Hybrid’s total range (combining both battery and fuel) is also displayed. An “efficiency coach” display guides owners to drive more efficiently and maximize the time spent in battery mode.