I’ve always resisted the pull of minivans, as practical as they can be. We are now a one-car family, and the one car we do have is a Suzuki Aerio hatchback that has served us quite nicely. Good on gas. No major maintenance issues after eight years. Decent, reliable car. The second car was replaced by a combination of Zipcar, transit, walking and cycling and so far that has worked out well. But the kids are getting older — daughters are 5 and 8 now — and the idea of packing up the family to go camping, to a friend’s cottage, or visit relatives out of town has me thinking that the Suzuki, once it kicks the bucket, should be replaced with a minivan. It kills me to say it — however, I only do it on condition that the minivan I purchase is a plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV).
Problem is, there aren’t many plans out there for PHEV minivans, which is why I was intrigued to read today that Mississauga-based Electrovaya has been selected to supply its lithium-ion superpolymer battery system to Chrysler, which wants to install them in a demonstration fleet of 25 PHEV Town and Country minivans. Electrovaya has also been supplying its battery system for Chrysler’s Ram 1500 pickup trucks. If the demonstration proves successful, perhaps in a couple of years we’ll see Chrysler committing to a commercial rollout of its PHEV Town and Country, at which time I’d give it a serious look. Assuming the Suzuki holds out until then.