Update: ‘Production’ section updated.
In 2016, the Chrysler Pacifica debuted as America’s first minivan with an electrified powertrain featuring a plug-in hybrid. Chrysler announced this year that it is committed to launching its first battery-electric vehicle (BEV) by 2025 and will switch to a full battery-electric portfolio by 2028. The next-generation minivan, including a Chrysler Pacifica EV, should keep it at the forefront of new powertrain technologies.
Speaking to MotorTrend from CES 2022, Chrysler CEO Christine Feuell indicated that the brand’s future vehicle line-up would include an electric minivan. She told Freep that Chrysler is not abandoning the minivan segment. The Toyota Sienna is the best-seller in this category in the U.S. (2021: 107,990 units), but the Pacifica has fared well, registering 98,323 units, with the hybrid variant enjoying a record year in 2021. Considering that, along with the fact that a significant amount of resources have gone into making it well-known over the years, there is a definite business case for a second-gen model as an electric vehicle.
Chrysler Pacifica EV specifications
The next-gen Chrysler Pacifica could come in plug-in hybrid electric and pure electric variants to address the needs of all customers. Underpinning the Chrysler Pacifica EV could be the STLA Large platform that is designed for the American market. STLA Large-based EVs will get 150-330 kW (201-442 hp) motors. The Pacifica EV may come with powerful units that provide at least 200-225 kW (268-302 hp) individually (2WD) or combined (AWD), depending on the configuration.
EVs based on the STLA Large platform will get 101-118 kWh battery packs that provide a range of up to 500 miles. However, speaking to Green Car Reports at the 2022 New York International Auto Show, Feuell said that 400 miles “seems to be the sweet spot” for potential customers. A 400-mile range would be truly impressive and could prove to be a huge attraction for the family-oriented American minivan.
Chrysler Pacifica EV design
The Chrysler Pacifica EV may maintain the proper minivan silhouette that makes it immediately recognizable. However, certain details would have to be modernized to give it a futuristic appeal people generally associate with EVs. With that in mind, our rendering adds slimmer and more advanced headlights, a light blade with an LED-illuminated Chrysler wing logo in-between, special wheels, a shut-off upper grille, and flush door handles to the current recipe.
Some of the design features are downloaded from the Chrysler Airflow Concept. Stellantis has confirmed there’s no plan to make a production version of the Airflow, but it would use the concept’s individual aspects, including design, in future Chrysler models.
Chrysler hasn’t revealed specific info about the design of its electric minivan that could replace the Pacifica or become the next-generation model. However, Feuell told Green Car Reports that the company wants to “reinvent the minivan” in its future vehicle range. The company is “rethinking” what such a model should and needs to be in the electric era, the CEO added.
The future minivan has to be the best model in its segment again, Feuell indicated. It may offer the Pacifica’s Stow ‘n Go seating or an improved version of the same. Stow ‘n Go is a special system that allows folding the second-row seats into hidden bins located on the floor of the car.
Production of the Chrysler Pacifica EV should take place at the same site as the ICE and plug-in hybrid Pacifica models, the Windsor Assembly Plant in Canada. As part of the USD 3.6 billion (USD 2.8 billion) investment Stellantis announced on May 2, 2022, to make its two Ontario assembly plants future-proof, the company said that it will transform the Windsor Assembly Plant to make it ready for a new multi-energy vehicle (MEV) architecture that will support BEVs. The announcement suggested that the company plans to make both partially electrified and fully electrified models on the new platform in Windsor, similar to the capability of the STLA Frame architecture that is designed for an optional range extender. Retooling of this production facility to make it capable of producing EVs will start in 2023.
In March 2022, LG Energy Solution and Stellantis announced a joint venture company to establish the first large-scale, domestic, EV battery manufacturing center in Windsor. Entailing an investment of $5 billion CAD ($4.1 billion USD) the joint venture company will manufacture lithium-ion battery cells and modules to address a significant portion of vehicle production requirements of Stellantis in North America. Expect the Pacifica electric minivan to have a high degree of localization.
Competitors & Release Date
In what will undoubtedly be a power-packed match for the Pacifica EV, South Korean media have reported that a Kia Carnival EV is in the works. And Volkswagen is introducing the ID. Buzz electric van in the U.S. in 2024 with regional adaptations, which is another pure electric MPV to watch out for. That said, the Chrysler Pacifica EV may not break cover anytime before mid-decade. We’ll update this story as and when new information emerges.
Featured Image Source: Stellantis