I'm a big fan of my Nissan Leaf. Still, the 80-mile range and the relatively small size mean it's not the perfect family car. (At least for those of us who live in car-dependent locales.) And while the Tesla Model X is enticing, it's hard to justify the price tag—especially if you blog for a living.
Oh, for an ultra-efficient minivan at an affordable price...
We may be about to see just such a creature. That is, at least, if the whispers about the soon-to-be released Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid are to be believed. This thing has been in the works for a while. We already knew it would have around 30 miles of all electric range. We already knew it would have seven (yes, seven!) passenger seats. And we already knew it would have all the fancy bells and whistles of a modern minivan. (I am not one for gadgets, but the on-board vacuum system got this Dad a bit excited.)
So far, however, pricing information has been pretty elusive. However, some very promising rumors have recently begun to circulate. According to both newsautospeed and NSEA Voice, the base level MSRP for adding the hybrid drivetrain is going to be in the mid-30ks. That means, after tax credits, we could be looking at a final cost of $29,000 or so.
Given that a 30-mile range will cover most about-town driving for many of us, and that the regular Pacifica gets 28 MPG highway, it seems reasonable to assume that most owners will save many hundreds of dollars each year in gas. (The always confusing MPGe rating is said to be 80.)
Of course, walking, biking and taking public transit is always going to be preferable to driving a tank like this. Next preferable is going to be taking a smaller, efficient car like my beloved Nissan Leaf. But given that my future is likely to include many a playdate, camping trip or (heaven forbid!) soccer tournaments, I can certainly imagine a place for this vehicle in my family's life.
So let's hope the rumors are true.