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Chrysler to reveal minivan EV at CES

FCA's 2017 Pacifica hybrid

Fiat Chrysler is reportedly working on an all-electric minivan and an electric Maserati

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) will reveal an electric vehicle based on the Chrysler Pacifica minivan at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on January 3, according to reports.

The US-Italian company is also reportedly developing an all-electric Maserati sports car with a view to competing with Tesla in the premium EV market, sources have told Bloomberg.

CES is increasingly becoming a venue for car companies to showcase new electric vehicles. Faraday Future’s upcoming electric car will also be unveiled there.

“A key theme for 2017 will be the increased availability of battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Michael Dean told the news service. “This provides a dilemma for automakers as they sacrifice traditional cash-cow internal combustion engine sales for expensive and lower-margin electric cars, necessary to meet onerous new emissions legislation.”

Of course, a family-sized minivan is unlikely to set CES alight with anticipation. Yet it does mark a coming of age for the technology, and for the US manufacturer. As more consumers consider buying EVs, the models on offer will not be limited to luxury sedans or compact city cars. Moreover, if released, it would be the first all-electric minivan in the US market.

The Pacifica is already available as a plug-in hybrid (pictured), suggesting FCA may be able to use some of its existing technology in an all-electric version. It has also been used as the testbed for FCA and Google’s collaboration on self-driving vehicle systems, raising hopes that the technology is not simply an exercise in compliance.

All in all, CES is shaping up to be a major event for tech-savvy automakers – we can only hope that the more promising models make it to market.


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