Chrysler Town & Country Plug-In Hybrids Now Testing Across U.S.

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Ram 1500 Plug-In Hybrid pickup truck and Chrysler Town & Country plug-in hybrid minivan, April 2012

Ram 1500 Plug-In Hybrid pickup truck and Chrysler Town & Country plug-in hybrid minivan, April 2012

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Chrysler has completed the roll-out of its small fleet of Town & Country plug-in hybrids, after delivering the first vehicles at the beginning of April.

Only 25 of the plug-in minivans have been produced, as part of a two-year test suitability and public reaction to the vehicles.

The first four Town & Country plug-in hybrids were delivered to the city of Auburn Hills, Michigan, back in April. Since then, the fleet has expanded to California, Arizona and North Carolina. Each state will present opportunities to test in different weather and road conditions, determining the viability of Chrysler's technology for future applications.

The plug-in Town & Country models use Chrysler's familiar 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, paired with a two-mode hybrid system and 12.1 kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

With assistance from the electric motor, combined output is 290 horsepower, and Chrysler claims a total range of 700 miles. All-electric range is said to be around 40 miles, though an EPA equivalent would likely be lower--the larger battery pack in the Chevrolet Volt returns an official EPA electric range of 35 miles.

A full charge takes between 8-15 hours to charge from empty at 110 volts, or 2-4 hours at 220 volts.

Unfortunately for families looking to reduce gas bills, there are no plans to put the Town & Country plug-in hybrid into series production. The vehicles will just be used to evaluate the potential for future projects, so in the meantime you'll have to put up with the regular car's 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway ratings.

Of course, if you need more space but don't need the extra seats, the 2012 Toyota Prius V, 2012 Ford Escape hybrid and 2012 Lexus RX 450h are all efficient, practical choices.

If you want a proper hybrid minivan though, it seems you may have to wait a while longer.

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