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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV on Thursday started production in Windsor of the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, the industry’s first plug-in minivan.

Pacifica Hybrids are expected to begin arriving in dealerships over the next several months starting at $34,495 with available U.S. federal tax credit, not including state and local incentives.

The Pacifica Hybrid achieves an EPA-certified 84 miles per gallon equivalent, including 33 miles in all-electric mode until an enhanced 3.6-liter V-6 takes over. The gas engine also kicks in under hard acceleration and other conditions.

“This is the next game-changer in the marketplace” Matt McAlear, senior manager Chrysler brand product marketing recently said. “Just like (the traditional Pacifica) reinvented the segment, we believe this (the Hybrid) will do the same.”

The entire range for the vehicle is 566 miles — up from an expected 530 — with the electric mode and 16.5-gallon fuel tank, the company says. The Pacifica Hybrid takes two hours to fully charge on a dedicated 240-volt charger, or 14 hours with a typical 110-volt wall outlet.

The EPA estimates the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid’s annual fuel cost, gas and electricity combined, at $900.

Chrysler boss Tim Kuniskis, head of Fiat Chrysler-North America passenger car brands, argues even a driver who doesn’t plug in the vehicle will still gain the benefit of the vehicle’s hybrid technologies, including start-stop and regenerative braking.

“There’s no other vehicle like this,” he recently told The Detroit News. “It’s the minivan you know, it’s the minivan you love … and now it gets 80 miles per gallon.”

Aside from an electric plug door and slightly tweaked exterior, including horizontal-lined front grilles and unique wheels, the Pacifica Hybrid is nearly identical to the traditional Pacifica.

On the interior, differences are mainly in the vehicle’s digital instrument cluster and 8.4-inch infotainment screen. The vehicle also does not feature the automaker’s signature “Stow ’n Go” seating in the second row, as the minivan’s batteries are stored where the seats would fold into the floor.

Without the tax credit and other available state incentives, the minivan will start at $41,995 for the Premium trim and $44,995 for the Platinum model.

Since going on sale in April, Fiat Chrysler has sold more than 52,000 regular Pacifica minivans in the United States. Officials declined to estimate how much of the vehicle’s volume the company expects to be of the plug-in hybrid, which it is referring to as a Hybrid.

Since launching the first minivan in 1983, the Windsor Assembly Plant has built 10 million of the more than 14.3 million vehicles that have been sold to date.

mwayland@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2504

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