Chrysler is currently planning to launch a plug-in hybrid electric version of the next Chrysler Town & Country minivan sometime late next year, as per recent comments made by the company’s CEO Sergio Marchionne at the Paris Motor Show.
This is in spite of the fact that the company’s CEO has previously made his dislike of plug-in electric cars well known. That said, he couldn’t quite keep himself from still making a couple of derogatory comments on the subject of range limits and “unrealistic expectations” for EVs at the event.
Here areMarchionne’s exact comments for those interested: “I think you need to be very, very careful if you think that electrification, given its inherent limitations on range, especially in markets like the US, will effectively displace combustion. It will never provide the travel distance that you require, especially based on what we know today about the storage capabilities of batteries.”
Hmm. Not too convinced by his arguments myself.
Anyways…. If the plug-in hybrid model ends up launching on target next year, then that will mean that it arrives around one year earlier than the company had previously predicted as per its latest five-year plan — which was revealed to journalists last year.
Something to note on that subject — since hybrids were first introduced to the American market almost a decade and a half ago, there actually hasn’t been a single hybrid minivan, plug-in or otherwise, brought to market by a major manufacturer. So, despite these anti-EV comments, the news is certainly worth noting and a positive step for the electric vehicle market.
Gas 2 provides some insightful commentary on Marchionne’s recent comments:
Keep in mind, this is the same guy who says the company loses $14,000 for every Fiat 500e it sells. Marchionne pretty much hates electric cars, and even hybrids seem low on his priority list, though a plug-in minivan would pretty much have the market to itself, and a commercial version would probably have a wider appeal than a pure electric van of limited driving range like the Nissan e-NV200.
Chrysler executives have claimed that its plug-in minivan could rival the fuel economy of the Prius V, which is rated at 44 city and 40 highway for a 42 MPG combined rating. Add to that perhaps 20 miles of pure electric driving range (speculation there) and you have a hybrid vehicle that is equally useful to soccer moms and business owners alike, from a CEO who disparages electrification every chance he gets. Odd, that.
No disagreements there. Strange situation all around.
Image Credit: Chrysler