First Affordable Electric Car for Families
The quiet thrill of driving electric is reaching new territory this year with the arrival of the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. This is a seven passenger minivan that goes 33 miles on the battery and up to 570 miles on a full battery and a tank of gas. The plug-in hybrid version is rated at 84 miles per gallon equivalent – a huge improvement over the standard Pacifica’s 22 mpg.
Frugal households will enjoy paying the equivalent of about $1.50 per gallon of gas when driving on the battery and may even be able to skip visits to the gas station all together if most daily travel is within range of the battery. Charging is as easy as plugging into a standard 120 volt outlet overnight or installing a dedicated 240 volt unit for faster charging. Owners will save on maintenance too, with longer intervals between expensive maintenance items like brake jobs.
Early reviews are giving the Pacifica top marks due to the excellent handling, family-friendly features and efficiency. With a starting price of about $32,500 (after the $7,500 federal tax credit), it is less than the average new car today, and you may qualify for additional state or electric utility incentives that bring the cost down further. Many utilities are also offering lower electricity pricing for charging during off-peak hours to save you even more for the life of the vehicle.
The battery is located along the bottom of the vehicle, giving this front-wheel drive model excellent traction in winter weather – especially if you invest in winter tires. About the only thing missing are the “Stow and Go” seats which fold into the floor on the non-hybrid model. You can still move the seats, but will need to take them out of the vehicle if you want to completely open up the cargo area for large objects.
The Pacifica is the only minivan earning a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and is available with crash prevention technology like blind spot alert and forward collision warning systems. In addition to the safety technology, it also comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to make it easier to navigate and listen to your favorite tunes in the car.
The flexibility of the plug-in hybrid system means you never need to worry about running out of charge on the road and with room for kids, dogs and cargo this is a great option for van shoppers to consider. It is now available at Chrysler dealers across the country, with many dealers in the northeast keeping one on hand for test drives.
You can learn more about the Pacifica Hybrid on the Chrysler website:
David Roberts is the Drive Electric Vermont coordinator. He has driven an all-electric car for the past 5 years and says if you have to drive, drive electric.