I couldn’t wait. We were going to make our annual trek north to Michigan from Florida for the summer. I just took delivery of a brand new 2022 Chrysler Pacifica hybrid, and I was anxious to get on the road. It had less than 200 miles on it when we started our trip at 4:30 in the morning on a Saturday. We like to travel on I-75 during the weekends. This enables us to avoid a lot of the truck traffic that travels that busy stretch of highway.
I wanted to see how efficiently the Pacifica would be traveling both in all-electric mode and then in the hybrid mode during this trip. I had gotten used to charging the Pacifica with the EV cable that came with the vehicle. This Type 1 charger plugs into a standard electrical outlet in the garage and then to the EV port toward the driver’s side front of the minivan. A full charge takes a lengthy 14 hours to accomplish. After it’s charged, it only runs for about thirty miles until the batteries are exhausted, and the engine is engaged more or less full-time.
However, how would this vehicle’s system work on an 1800-mile trip on the open road? We would soon see.
Wait…This Hybrid Stuff Isn’t In the Owner’s Manual??
I wanted to know more about how the hybrid worked, so I tore the cellophane off the owner’s manual and a bunch of other pamphlets and brochures stacked in the glove box. However, the Pacifica Hybrid is so new that there is a special supplement to the owner’s manual for hybrid operations. So I reviewed it but wanted to know more.
So my last job at Chrysler, I supported the great folks at Mopar with their website. I was wondering if more information was available. So I logged in to mopar.com. I clicked on My Garage and found that my new Pacifica was already registered to the Mopar Owners site. This was fortuitous because in the My Garage section, underneath the picture of my Pacifica, were several videos and other information about the hybrid system I was looking for.
A set of three short videos outlines the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid operations; Charging Your Vehicle, Instrument Panel State of Charge, and Instrument Cluster Display.
Videos On the 2002 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
Once registered on the mopar.com owner site, you can access over 36 videos dealing with specific areas in the owner’s manual. They are worth checking out. Besides the hybrid videos, I recommend looking at the Adaptive Cruise Control and the Parksense/ ParkView videos. The three videos dealing with a hybrid system are highlighted below.
How to Charge Your 2022 Chrysler Pacifica
Instrument Panel State of Charge
Instrument Cluster Display
The Trip to Michigan Begins
We like to drive most of the mileage from Florida to Michigan on the first day. So we got up incredibly early, 4 a.m., and started going in the dark. My goal was to get to the state line and Valdosta, Georgia, by about 8 a.m. But, as I expected, are battery charge lasted until we were about parallel with Tampa on I-75, and then the engine engaged. So we gassed up and switched drivers in Valdosta, Georgia, and then proceeded North through a powerful thunderstorm.
Noon Stop For Lunch and EV Recharge of the Pacifica Hybrid
We continued North, and the trip was uneventful. We decided to stop for a picnic lunch just south of Atlanta in the town of McDonough. I downloaded a mobile app called PlugShare. It shows all the available EV charging stations on a map that you can easily zoom in to and get details of. I saw an EV charging station at the hotel called TRU by Hilton.
The charging station was a combination of four stations for Teslas and two stations with the Type 2 – J1772 outlet that would fit my Chrysler Pacifica hybrid. We pulled into the parking area behind the TRU Hotel and plugged in while we had a picnic lunch under the trees. Unfortunately, we only stopped for a half-hour, and consequently, we only got a charge for about 11 miles. What I learned is that even with a higher speed Type 2 EV charger, if we weren’t going to take the time at least an hour or more, it probably wasn’t worth stopping and going out of our way to charge for such a short period. Lesson learned.
The Joy of Adaptive Cruise Control with the Pacifica Hybrid
The 5 Best Hybrid Cars for 2022
Even with the battery thoroughly exhausted after 30 miles, the hybrid aspect of the Pacifica starts kicking into gear. The hybrid system will recharge the batteries when you’re braking and coasting. In fact, on the left side of the instrument panel, you will see an analog gauge that dips down when this charging occurs.
I found that when you’re in adaptive cruise control and following a vehicle, these charging events will occasionally occur. As the adaptive cruise control tries to match the car’s speed in front, it both coasts and breaks with some frequency. Consequently, there is a trickle charge to the batteries, which gets used from time to time on the powertrain.
We were 100% electric for only about 90 miles during our two-day trip. However, the hybrid system generated power capability for another hundred and ten miles. This equates to about 7 gallons of gasoline being saved on the trip. In addition, that weekend’s gas prices were about $5.49, which was $36.83 saved in gas for this trip.
A Missed Opportunity with a New Feature On The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Called MaxGen.
I found out later that I may have missed an opportunity. While in Atlanta, Louisville, and approaching Cincinnati, we drove at low speed in stop-and-go traffic. There’s a new feature in a 2022 Chrysler Pacifica hybrid called Maximum Regeneration. The Max Regeneration symbol appears in the upper right corner of the Instrument Cluster Display when you are driving at maximum efficiency.
I called Chrysler customer care looking for more information about this new feature Here is what they had to say about using this unique feature.
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Max Regen Mode
Information on this feature is limited in the Owners Manual (but more description is found in the Hybrid Supplement). By in large, the Max Regen operation works in tandem with the RBS or Regenerative Braking System.
Using the RBS feature, the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is capable of helping charge the battery when braking or stopping. So this is engaged (once activated) upon coming to your stop and slowing down (i.e. lower speeds 0-10 mph). Once enabled in the “L” drive mode, the standard Max Regeneration cluster messaging icon appears to assure you of the increased system regeneration.
The RBS replenishes the vehicle’s high voltage battery during deceleration and is particularly useful in stop-and-go city traffic. The electric motors that propel the vehicle forward can operate as generators when braking. The RBS recharges the high voltage battery under certain braking conditions by recapturing energy that would otherwise be lost while braking. The electric power that is generated goes back into the high voltage battery for later use, for example when acceleration is desired.
Hard Breaking and The Regenerative Braking System in the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
The RBS uses conventional hydraulic friction brakes, regenerative braking, or a combination to slow the vehicle. If the system detects slippery conditions while braking, ONLY friction is used to slow the vehicle. The RBS can result in extended life of the hydraulic service brakes; however, all inspection, scheduled maintenance, and service intervals for the vehicle service brakes must still be followed.
Staying Overnight in Georgetown, Kentucky – Yea! Found an EV Charging Station
We stayed Overnight just north of Lexington, Kentucky, in Georgetown. It’s a pretty big little city. There’s a Toyota plant that makes Corollas and lots of hotels around the exit. However, I was surprised that there were very few electric vehicles charging stations nearby.
I looked up the PlugShare mobile app and found a bank of EV charging stations at a nearby Marathon gas station within a short distance of our hotel. So early in the morning, before we were planning on leaving, I took the Pacifica over to figure out what it would take to use that charging station.
These EV charging stations were put in place using ChargePoint. It required me to download their mobile app. I went ahead and associated my credit card using an Apple Wallet. Once this was set up, I could get the charging station operational, and lo and behold, it was free!
I went back to the hotel, had breakfast, and packed up. The Pacifica was all charged up in just over 2 hours. Interestingly, based on my app’s display and the charging station, I found that it needed 13.4-kilowatt-hours. So I’m going to keep that in mind.
On to Ann Arbor, Lunch, and Another Charge
Our last stop before heading to Caseville was Ann Arbor. We’re going to meet up with friends and have lunch. I was fortunate to find it, but there was another ChargePoint EV station in our friend’s apartment complex. Using the app I downloaded that morning, I quickly hooked the Pacifica and charged it up while we had lunch. However, this one charge me a total of $1.50.
Top 5 Things I Learned On This Drive With My 2022 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
#1 – Charge up entirely if you can before the start of each day
#2 – If you’re going to stop and don’t have at least two hours, it’s probably not worth trying to charge.
#3 – Use adaptive cruise control wherever possible this invokes the regenerative charging capability of the vehicle, which will squeeze out additional miles during your trip.
#4 – While many charging stations are free, some charge from $0.50 to $1.00 an hour. In some cities, this is less than the cost of metered or garage parking.
#5 – In stop-and-go traffic at low speeds, switching your transmission from Drive to Low will invoke the Max Regeneration feature. This will quickly recharge your batteries; however, I didn’t get to test this.
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