Chrysler seeking another minivan first: the first plug-in hybrid model in the segment image

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne has envisioned a crucial electric minivan program as part of the electrification strategy envisioned for the automaker to recover the massive EV gap with competitors.

The Chrysler Group LLC, now transformed into FCA US – the regional arm of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV – is the company that claims it has invented the minivan segment back decades ago. Now the firm is also envisioning an electric minivan, while other automakers are preoccupied to develop and produce electric cars. Industry experts and financial analysts believe the electric minivan plan makes perfect sense: the driving habits of minivan owners are on par with electric driving possibilities and the larger dimensions of such vehicles leave more room for bigger batteries. The catch – keeping it vehicle affordable. The world’s seventh-larges automaker is also deliberately behind other rivals when it comes to developing and selling hybrids and electric vehicles.

While competitors, including Ford, Toyota, etc. have aggressively expanded their hybrid and electric lineups, FCA is – surprisingly – without a single hybrid model in its product range. Marchionne back in January confirmed – without sharing additional details – the development of a “massive” plug-in hybrid minivan program. “The minivan that is coming out of Windsor is the first classic example of a massive introduction of hybrid technology,” commented Marchionne on the sidelines of the NAIAS. The development for the hybrid minivan will also span across other vehicles, including a yet to be named plug-in electric version of a full-size crossover due in 2017 – probably based on the upcoming minivan and also built in the same Windsor plant.