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Chrysler Town & Country PHEV Arriving a Year Early in 2015

The next-gen Chrysler Town & Country PHEV is ahead of schedule, and will launch a year earlier than expected in 2015, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne told Automotive News.

We've reported before that the next-gen PHEV minivan will be based on a new front-wheel drive platform with an all-wheel drive option and be powered by a V-6 engine and electric motor combo.Automotive News reports that the plug-in minivan could also achieve fuel economy that rivals the Toyota Prius, which achieves 50 mpg combined. Further powertrain details haven't yet been revealed, but the Town & Country PHEVs used in real-world testing were powered by a 3.6-liter Pentastar engine paired with a two-mode hybrid transmission and liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery to crank out 290 hp. Range was about 700 miles, and the testers could be charged in a as little as two to four hours with a 220-volt Level 2 charge cord or eight to 15 hours with a 110-volt Level 1 charge cord.

The PHEV minivan paves the way for future Chrysler hybrids, with the first being a full-size PHEV crossover due in 2017. We've reported before that the crossover would use the next-gen minivan's architecture and seat seven passengers to rival vehicles like the Chevrolet Traverse and Toyota Highlander. The two will likely share powertrains, from the plug-in hybrid to standard gasoline V-6 engines. It's possible Chrysler could offer both the smaller 271-hp 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6 and the larger 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, though we'll have to wait and see what Chrysler has in store. Either way, we'll find out sooner rather than later thanks to the Town & Country PHEV's earlier arrival late next year.