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A black 2021 Pacifica Hybrid is parked as a couple gets out of the vehicle.

Considering the 2021 Pacifica Hybrid? Everything You Need to Know

Chrysler has been offering the Pacifica as a hybrid since 2017, and it’s been the only hybrid minivan on the market until the Toyota Sienna went fully hybrid for 2021. For the last quarter of 2020, the Pacifica was the top-selling model of minivan in the United States, and it remains one of the top sellers for 2021. If you plan to visit a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid dealer, you may want more information about the hybrid system, how it works, and whether or not it’s actually cost-effective over time. With government rebates and fuel savings, there are a lot of numbers to consider so you can decide if the hybrid is right for you.

Price Comparison Gas vs Hybrid

Pricing for the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid begins with the entry-level Touring trim, which has an MSRP of $40,620. That’s a big price jump from the base gas Pacifica that starts at $35,820. Well, it seems like a big difference until you add in the government tax rebate that can be applied to the hybrid because it’s a plug-in. Subtracting the rebate from the hybrid price brings the total cost down to a comparable, if not even cheaper, value if you qualify for the full amount.

Installing a Charging Port vs Charging with Standard Outlet

Most drivers who purchase a hybrid expect to charge their vehicle from home. In the case of the Pacifica Hybrid, you have a couple of options to consider for home charging. First, the Pacifica Hybrid only comes with a level one charger; this can plug into any three-pronged outlet you already have in your home. It is convenient, but it takes between 10-12 hours to fully charge a depleted battery. If you run errands a lot during the day and then come home and plug in for the night, a level one charger will work fine. If you have an erratic schedule throughout the day, charging may become cumbersome with a standard home outlet because it takes too long.

You can choose to purchase a level two charger to be installed in your home, along with the adapter for the minivan. This cost will come out of pocket, but some states offer rebates for charger installation. Having a level two charger means it will take about two hours to fully charge a depleted battery, which is a huge time savings. Costs for installation vary widely according to where you live and can range from $2-10 K.

A grey 2021 Pacifica is parked on gravel after leaving a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid dealer.

Cost of Charging vs Fuel

When you consider the savings you can gain from driving a hybrid, this may be one of the main motivators for choosing a hybrid minivan instead of a gas-only model. Using data from the average miles per gallon used in a year, a gas-only Pacifica will cost more in fuel than the national average. Driving the hybrid, which utilizes the electric battery for power plus the regenerative braking to capture energy for recharging while you drive, takes the cost of fuel to below the national average. This takes into account the amount of money you would spend on charging the battery when you charge at home.

A Pacifica Hybrid needs about 41kWh to charge the battery, and electric costs about 13-14 cents per charging hour, or kWh. Using these numbers is how car manufacturers arrive at the estimated fuel economy number. For the Pacifica Hybrid, that number comes out to about 82 MPGe, and the cost of charging for 25 miles of range can run around $1.30. To make this simpler, if you compare the use of fuel between the gas-only and the hybrid Pacifica, the gas-only model gets about 22 MPG combined, whereas the hybrid has a combined rating of 30 MPG. That is significant savings.

Driving Range of Gas-Only vs Hybrid

It’s often assumed that a hybrid or EV will have a shorter driving range than a gas-powered vehicle, but in the case of the Pacifica Hybrid, that simply isn’t true. The gas-only Pacifica has a driving range of 418 miles with a full tank of gas, which is slightly above the median range of 412 miles compared to other gas-powered vehicles. With the Pacifica Hybrid, you get a driving range of 520 miles which includes the 32 miles of electric-only combined with the fuel in the gas tank. That’s a difference of 102 more miles of driving range with the hybrid model, and the hybrid has a smaller gas tank.

Keep in mind that the Pacifica Hybrid also uses regenerative braking to recharge the vehicle’s battery system, which means that city driving or being stuck in stop-and-go traffic will refuel your charge better than highway driving. The Pacifica also incorporates energy capture from the accelerator when your foot releases the pedal, which is another means of battery charging to keep your vehicle running on electric energy longer. You have a choice to select how much energy recapture you want the Pacifica Hybrid to engage according to how aggressively you want to regain a charge from your driving habits. This can extend your driving range, but it does not fully charge your battery.

A black 2021 Pacifica is shown from the back driving on a tree lined road.

Keeping Track of Driving Habits, Available Charge, and Fuel Levels

For drivers who like to keep track of fuel costs and want to know how their driving habits affect the cost of your fuel and battery charging, the 2021 Pacifica Hybrid has a couple of ways to check this information. While you drive, the Pacifica Hybrid provides real-time data on how your fuel is being used and whether or not you’re driving on electric or gas. The Pacifica Hybrid doesn’t allow you to select what type of fuel you use, as the system electronically chooses the best fuel for the driving conditions to make it the most economical use of whichever energy source is available. While driving, the infotainment touchscreen shows how your regenerative braking is capturing energy and has a gauge that identifies whether gas or electric is being used.

When you’re not in the vehicle, you can use an app provided by Chrysler to check battery and fuel levels, calculate driving range, and what the status is while your vehicle is charging. The app will also allow you to locate charging stations near you or to locate them along your driving route so you can plan stops around charging if you wish. A great feature of the interface in the infotainment system allows you to set the hours of charging for the lowest cost, typically during the night, when you plug in. It will even show how long it will take to fully charge your battery according to the type of charger you’re using. One word of caution about the charging port: be mindful of shutting the port cover flap, so you don’t drive with it open. Rain and debris can damage the port, and repair can be costly if you forget.

Final Thoughts on Hybrid Ownership

It’s clear that cost savings bear out in favor of the Pacifica Hybrid when you take into account the available rebates and savings on fuel you will get. For 2021, Chrysler offers the Pacifica Hybrid in four trims, including the posh Pinnacle trim, which comes with Nappa leather seats, a rear seat entertainment system, and a self-parking feature. If you’re concerned about power with the hybrid, don’t be. The V6 engine is powerful enough to handle accelerating on the highway or from a stoplight, and it can achieve zero to 60 in less than eight seconds, which is about the same as the gas-powered model. If you’re considering the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, cost alone may be enough to motivate you, but knowing you get all the bells and whistles of the gas-powered models may be enough to teeter you toward the hybrid in the end.