First week with our new plug-in minivan, the Pacifica Hybrid

Pacifica Hybrid plugged into Level 2 EV Charger

Charging at Jon’s work

Driving our new plug-in Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid has been amazing this week. With the exception of one problem, which I’ll get to later , we have been very pleased with this plug-in hybrid minivan.  The acceleration is fun, so far I’ve experienced 95kW all electric torque launching us forward from a stop without the internal combustion engine ever engaging.  The combined horsepower is 260hp (194 kW).  Cornering is tight with low roll, probably due to the low center of gravity from the battery pack in the floor and the 18″ rims.  I especially love the heated steering wheel and heated seats, which help me keep the main climate control system off except when I need the defogger.  The ride is very quiet, even when the gasoline engine kicks in.

fuel gauge showing 7/8th of a tank of gas

We’ve used less than 2 gallons of gasoline and driven over 230 miles.

This week we have driven 255 miles this week with 217 in all electric, 48 in hybrid mode and still have 7/8th of the 1st tank of gas .  Our hybrid fuel economy is currently 27 MPG and climbing from the 18 MPG when we got it from the dealer.

We’ve tried charging at home (plugged into standard 110V outlet), fast charging (level 2 -240V) at my work and at a public charging station. The 14 hours for a full charge at home is a really slow, so we are looking into having a level 2 charger installed. 

screen shot from uConnect showing mileage driven

Screen shot from iPhone app showing vehicle information during the week.

We’re not the only ones enjoying it, the kids love the entertainment system, even though they’ve only been able to use it on short drives.  Our son found Sudoku, chess and other games.  Now they negotiate for the middle seats instead of the front seat.

The one problem we have had started at 180 miles, when the “Service Hybrid Electric Vehicle System” warning light came on.  We have been in touch with our local Chrysler service center and with the dealership where we bought the minivan.  Unfortunately because the hybrid system is still new, the earliest appointment we could get was a few weeks out.  They assured us that we can safely continue driving it between now and then.  We’ll provide an update on how that works out.

All in all, we are loving our Pacifica Hybrid at the end of week one.

Happy Greening!

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How we went from zero to owners of a plug-in hybrid minivan in 2 weeks

Alicia wearing sunglasses in our new hybrid minivan

Alicia in our new Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

The weekend started off as pretty much every weekend, our kids had a ton of lessons and practices to be shuttled around to and Alicia had yet another sustainability conference she was trying to get to. This one happened to be at Tufts, which was conveniently where the kids music lessons were. The last thing I expected was to get a text asking me if I knew that a plug-in minivan existed.  We’d been saying for years that we were waiting for a plug-in minivan to replace our aging minivan, and somehow we’d missed it.  Last spring Chrysler released the plug-in Pacifica Hybrid minivan. Two weeks later we are now proud owners of a Plug-in Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan that has an all EV range of 33 miles and gets a combined 32 MPG on gas only.

It was fate.  Alicia didn’t want to spend a Saturday at another meeting or conference, but several students, including one of her interns, had asked her to stop by the Tufts Energy Conference. It was hard to say “no” since she was already going to be on campus. In the end, she never made it inside. On her way in, she ran into our colleagues from the Mass Energy Consumer Alliance  who had EV and Plug-in Hybrid owners showing off their cars as part of their Drive Green with Mass Energy during the conference lunch break. The vehicle right in front of the door was a plug-in minivan.  Alicia was floored and spent 45 minutes talking to the owner, while I researched it online (and started looking at new vehicle loan interest rates).

Blue Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Minivan

Our NEW Plug-in Chrylser Pacifica Hybrid Minivan

The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid came out in early 2017 and we were too busy with work and family to notice. We have been really hoping for a Plug-in Toyota Sienna Hybrid to replace our 2005 Sienna that I lovingly referred to as our “battlewagon.” The last time Alicia asked Toyota staff, they basically told her not to hold her breath. We’re working on a new name for our Pacifica.

I jumped into full on research mode. I looked up the specifications, I looked at the reviews and honestly was quite surprised to see numerous glowing reviews of a Chrysler minivan. Here are just a few of the articles I read:

Car & Driver – 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid 
Edmunds – 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Review
Tree Hugger – Life with a plug-in Pacifica Hybrid minivan: The first week 
Motor Trend – 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid First Test: Charging Ahead

I was convinced that the Plug-in Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan could be the replacement for our 7 passenger (which we use daily for carpool) Toyota Sienna, but could we afford it? I quickly confirmed the full $2,500 Massachusetts EV rebate  applied to the Pacifica Hybrid as did the $7,500 federal tax rebate. A consistent message in the reviews was the recommendation to spring for $5,000 bump for the fully equipped Limited to get the advanced safety features. After the rebates, that put the price tag at $34,995 plus tax, delivery, etc.. While expensive, that is about what we paid for our Sienna 12 years ago.

I researched which Chrysler dealerships near us had any of the Pacifica Hybrids in stock and scheduled a test drive at the dealership that was a bit further away, but had 5 different Pacifica Hybrids including a blue Limited edition in stock. Then on the Saturday of Presidents’ Day Weekend we took the kids and went for a drive. Alicia is still stunned that we bought it on the spot. Three days later, we dropped off our Sienna and picked up our new Pacifica Hybrid.

J1772 plug inserted into blue hybrid minivan

Plugging in our minivan

It has been less than a week of driving, but so far we are all pleased. The kids love it, and our son even found Sudoku built into the entertainment system. Alicia has driven a couple days on electricity only and I’ve volunteered to run errands, like taking our daughter to and from synchronized swimming practice. Now we are negotiating who gets to drive it when, researching charging options at work and installing a level 2 charger at home.

Stay tuned for further updates and if you have questions, please reach out to us in the comments or via twitter @envirojon or @grnlifestyle.

Happy Greening,

rear view Toyota Sienna Minivan with bumper stickers

Good-bye Battlewagon

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