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Chrysler may show battery-powered Pacifica at CES 2017, report says

The automaker's new minivan is already the first hybrid on the market; is a gas-free version in the wings?

Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

Chrysler's excellent new Pacifica is already home to the auto industry's first-ever hybrid minivan, and the Auburn Hills, Michigan, automaker may be about to become the first in the business to offer a pure electric minivan, too.

That's according to a new Bloomberg report, which says that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will show off a battery-powered version of its Pentastar-badged people mover at CES in January.

It's not immediately clear if the rumored vehicle is planned for production, or merely a concept.

Few details have been provided, but the reported Las Vegas debut is being seen as part of FCA's recent softening on electric cars. The company has long been viewed as being among the most reluctant automakers to embrace electrification. This, despite the fact that it sells a battery-powered version of its diminutive Fiat 500 city car in select states, as well as the aforementioned Pacifica plug-in hybrid, a model that just went into production. (The latter made waves in May for being named as the basis for a partnership with Google's ongoing efforts in pursuing fully autonomous cars.)

Chrysler's Pacifica Hybrid, a plug-in model, is just now reaching dealers.

Wayne Cunningham/Roadshow

Despite the proliferation of electric-only offerings over the past few years, there remains a dearth of larger, family-minded vehicles on on the market. At present, if a Pacifica EV were to go into production, its closest competitor would almost certainly be the Falcon-doored Tesla Model X, a premium crossover that's not actually very similar in mission, capability or -- presumably -- cost.

When reached for comment by phone, FCA spokesperson Rick Deneau declined to comment on any future products or announcements for this story.

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