We just test drove the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan earlier this year and raved about its game changing status. Now, Chrysler has really upped the ante with the new plug-in Pacifica Hybrid.

The first ever plug-in hybrid minivan, the new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid comes to market boasting up to 30 miles of electric only range and a total of EPA estimated 530 miles range with the gasoline engine added in. It also breaks the barriers with an 80 MPGe rating by the EPA.

While the Pacifica Hybrid looks nearly identical to the standard minivan, its powertrain is entirely different.

It all starts with a special Atkinson Cycle version of the 3.6 liter Pentastar V6, engineered for ultra high fuel efficiency on its own. Its then mated to a Chrysler designed electrically variable transmission or (EVT).

In the EVT is a combination of a planetary gear set and two electric motors that can both drive the front wheels on their own, or be joined by the gasoline engine for a maximum system output of 260 horsepower.

The two motor drive unit is unique as most hybrids us one motor for drive, the other as a generator. With a one way clutch system, the generator motor can be use for both powering the front wheels or pulling power back to the battery during regenerative braking or coasting – extending range.

Plugging in and charging, enables you to have up to 30 miles EV only driving. A full charge can take as little as two hours with a Level 2, 240-volt charger. Of course, charging isn’t a necessity as the Pacifica Hybrid can operate as a traditional hybrid at all times.

The battery pack, a massive 16 kWh lithium-ion unit, is located under the second-row floor with a secondary conventional battery located at the side of the rear cargo area. This is why you can’t have stow-n-go seating on the Pacifica Hybrid.

In spite of the room taken under the floor for the batteries, the Chrysler Pacifica can still soak up an 8 x 4 foot slab of plywood and be packed up tight for a family vacation. Passenger capacity remains the same as the standard Pacifica’s seven passenger seating arrangement.

As said, the design of the Pacifica Hybrid is hardly different. The major cue is the charging door on the front driver’s side fender and the E-Hybrid emblems found here and there. From that point on, the options and interior technologies are much the same.

This is with one important exception, the 8.4-inch UConnect touchscreen audio and information system features a number of additional screens and applications that help you monitor your power flow, charging status, and help find charging locations.

The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is available now at your local Chrysler dealerships starting at $41,995. Keep in mind though it’s eligible for a $7,500 Federal tax credit and an additional credit in many states.

We’ll bring you a far more detailed review as soon as we get our first chance to drive one.