Editors at WardsAuto have named the 3.6-liter Pentastar eHybrid one of Wards 10 Best Engines for 2018.
The achievement marks the second time the powertrain has been so-honored. The 3.6-liter Pentastar eHybrid was named to the prestigious annual list last year, when it debuted in the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan.
The plug-in hybrid propulsion system makes the Pacifica Hybrid the most efficient minivan ever, based on its Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rating of 84 miles-per-gallon-equivalent (MPGe) – a measure that accounts for a plug-in hybrid vehicle’s blended use of electricity and gasoline, in combined city- and highway-cycle testing.
The 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid also excels on two other efficiency fronts, with EPA driving-range ratings of 33 miles in electric-only mode, and 570 total miles.
“We knew this was a special project when we were asked to develop the most fuel-efficient minivan ever,” says Bob Lee, Head of Engine Powertrain and Electrified Propulsion Systems Engineering, FCA – North America. “Receiving this award, especially for the second time, validates our early conviction – as do reports from our customers.”
FCA US has engaged 100 Pacifica Hybrid customers who have agreed to participate in monthly ownership-experience surveys over a two-year period. To date, 47 percent of respondents report more driving range than expected, with 22 percent saying they have observed “much more.”
Wards 10 Best Engines judge Drew Winter echoes this satisfaction.
“The Pacifica Hybrid is a big, seven-passenger plug-in hybrid minivan with all the bells and whistles families have come to adore, but with 33 miles of full electric range and levels of fuel efficiency unimaginable just a few short years ago,” says Drew Winter, Senior Content Director at WardsAuto. “With most owners using their minivans to run errands and occasionally take a long-distance drive, the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is a stroke of genius.”
Central to the vehicle’s performance is its eFlite electrically variable transmission. An in-house FCA US innovation, it was developed by a team of engineers assigned exclusively to the task of delivering a high-efficiency driving experience that retains the functionality customers expect from minivans.
Conventional electrification schemes dedicate one motor to serve as a generator and a second motor, usually much larger, to deliver torque to the wheels. The eFlite gearbox uses a one-way clutch that enables the motor typically used only as a generator, to power the wheels, depending on driving conditions.
The result is increased efficiency, refinement, and improved component packaging.
The lifeblood of the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which is located under the second-row floor. Recharging can take as little as two hours using an optional 240-volt (Level 2) charger, available from Mopar through dealers.
When the battery’s energy is depleted to a certain threshold, the Pacifica Hybrid becomes a part-time electric vehicle, like a conventional hybrid, to maximize energy and efficiency. Power to the wheels is supplied by the electric drive system or supplemented by a specially adapted version of the gasoline-powered Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6, which was named one of Wards 10 Best Engines in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
“Imagine the convenience that comes with plugging in at home, instead of stopping at the gas station once or twice a week,” says Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Car Brands – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA – North America. “Now combine that with the capacity to transport up to seven people in superior comfort. That makes the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica minivan a mobility solution like no other. And it’s not just us, who say it. Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of such honors.”
To date, the entire Chrysler Pacifica lineup has accounted for 72 industry awards tied to safety, quality, styling and performance.
The EPA gives the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid a rating of 10, the best-possible rating, for its impact on climate change in terms of greenhouse-gas emissions.
Further, an FCA US comparison between the Pacifica Hybrid and the vehicle it replaced in the Chrysler-brand lineup, indicates the electrified minivan will, over its lifetime, result in emissions-savingsequivalent to:
- the average annual C02 output of 22 American households
- 14 commercial flights from Detroit to Los Angeles
- driving the average U.S. passenger vehicle more than 50,000 miles
In the 22-year history of Wards 10 Best Engines, FCA US lays claim to eight powertrains that made the prestigious list. They account for 18 awards.