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Hybrid minivan sweetened by apps

by David Zatz on

Chrysler has sweetened the deal on hybrid minivans by throwing apps into the mix.

Though many hybrid buyers want the city-cycle efficiency they deliver, some simply like gadgets, and the Pacifica Hybrid has some ways to satisfy that. First, the standard 8.4 inch Uconnect screen includes Hybrid Electric Pages, with a dynamic power flow illustration (introduced by Toyota, inventor of the modern hybrid, in their first Prius), and a driving history, showing distance driven in electric and hybrid modes, by day.

Utilities may, even more than owners, appreciate the charge scheduling feature, which lets owners schedule when the minivan will charge, or have it charge immediately. That lets owners use off-peak rates and lets utilities balance their loads.

The seven-inch trip computer changes color to show whether the minivan is in electric mode (teal) or hybrid mode (blue). Battery and fuel level are both always shown, along with current range. Drivers can choose to see an “efficiency coach”  as well; it not only does the usual “moderate acceleration” routine, but also guides drivers on how to use the regenerative brakes to advantage.

Finally, there is an app, which based on past experience will likely never be updated, which lets owners check their battery status, range, and time to full charge; they can also find charging stations and see if they are available. As with similar apps for other FCA US cars, it lets owners remotely lock, unlock, or start the car, and send destinations to the navigation system. The app is sold for IOS and Android.

The company has not yet released images of the app or screens.

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