More Town & Country minivans rolled out onto U.S. roads recently, but they are not the same seven-seaters currently found at Chrysler dealerships. They are plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles (PHEVs) to be tested under real-world conditions as phase two of Chrysler’s two-year research project with the U.S. Department of Energy. The project is designed to gauge consumer acceptance of the plug-in minivan technology and its impact on the grid.
A total of 25 PHEV Chrysler Town & Country minivans were delivered in April to testers in California, Arizona, North Carolina and Michigan. In each location, they will be subject to extreme temperature changes and varying driving conditions, measures that will help Chrysler determine how viable the technology could be in future applications.
“Because it’s heavier and requires more power to push around than a small hatchback, the minivan is a more complicated study subject when it comes to incorporating plug-in hybrid technology,” said Tim Parker, dealer principal of Hot Springs, Arkansas Chrysler dealer Tim Parker Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. “Even if we never see the plug-in Town & Country come to the production phase though, real-world testing helps Chrysler refine its technology before putting it to use in other models.”
The PHEV Town & Country models are powered by Chrysler’s 3.6-liter Pentastar engine, which is mated to a two-mode hybrid transmission and a 12.1-kWh lithium-ion battery. Together, they produce 290 horsepower and give the Town & Country hybrid a range of 700 miles when fully charged and filled with gas. Chrysler says it takes the PHEV minivans between eight and 15 hours to fully charge at 110 volts, but that time drops to between two and four hours at 220 volts.
While the gasoline-powered 2012 Chrysler Town & Country doesn’t feature a lithium-ion battery, it does house the same 3.6-liter Pentastar engine under its hood to return up to 25 mpg on the highway. With the press of the ECON button, a fuel economizer feature also tweaks the engine timing and transmission shift points to maximize fuel efficiency during normal driving conditions.
Sales of the Town & Country were up 22 percent in April year-over-year. Overall, Chrysler’s April sales were up 56 percent, leading to the brand’s best April sales since 2007. It also marked the tenth month in a row that the brand saw year-over-year sales gains.
“The 2012 Town & Country comes with standard features like leather upholstery and DVD screens that would cost thousands more in the competition, so it’s no surprise that sales have been excellent,” added Parker. “It’s not a tough decision when Chrysler’s minivan has all the amenities you could want at an affordable price. The only difficult choice buyers need to make is which color they want it to come in.”
About Tim Parker Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram:
A winner of Chrysler’s Five-Star Dealer and Environmental Leadership awards, Tim Parker Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram has been serving Arkansas drivers for years with new and pre-owned car sales, service and parts at their Hot Springs auto dealership. Whether you’re looking for a Ram 1500, Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger or Jeep Wrangler, Tim Parker Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram will find your ideal model with their unmatched customer-first approach. You can visit their showroom located at 4722 Central Ave. in Hot Springs, call them at 888-227-1487 or find them online at www.timparkerchrysler.com. They can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TimParkerAuto.
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