Minivan likely to be Chrysler's first hybrid

The Chrysler group’s first hybrid vehicle likely will be a gasoline-electric minivan, not the previously announced Dodge Durango sport-utility.

Packaging of the components, pricing and lower than expected fuel economy gains for the Durango may have diverted the gasoline-electric powertrain to the minivan platform, said Thad Malesh, director of alternative powertrains for J.D. Power and Associates.

“The technology is flexible, and we are reviewing our options,” said Chrysler spokesman Sjoerd Dijkstra.

Chrysler said last year it would build a hybrid version of the Durango, which would mate a

V-6 engine driving the rear wheels with electric motors driving the front wheels. The hybrid Durango would improve fuel economy about 25 percent compared with a Durango that has a V-8 engine, with similar performance.

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