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Mopar’s first PHEV wins Ward’s

by David Zatz on

The powertrain of the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, unimaginatively dubbed the “Pentastar eHybrid,” has hit the Ward’s Ten Best Engines list for 2018 — the second time it’s made the cut in its two years of life.

The plug-in hybrid propulsion system makes the Pacifica Hybrid the most efficient minivan ever, with a US rating of 84 miles-per-gallon-equivalent (MPGe) in combined testing. Its electric-only range is 33 miles, according to the EPA, with a 570 mile total range.

North American powertrain chief Bob Lee said, ““We knew this was a special project when we were asked to develop the most fuel-efficient minivan ever.”

The transmission has been dubbed “eFlite,” an echo of the old TorqueFlite automatics (the name was revived for eight-speeds in Ram trucks). It was created in-house at FCA US.  One innovation is taking the second motor, usually used as a generator, to let it power the wheels as well, as needed.

Compared with the Town & Country, the Pacifica Hybrid will, over its lifetime, result in emissions-savings equivalent to the average annual C02 output of 22 American households — or driving the average U.S. passenger vehicle more than 50,000 miles.

FCA US also tapped into the experiences of a hundred Pacifica Hybrid customers, who agreed to do monthly surveys for two years; so far, 47% claim a greater driving range than expected.

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