A key piece of Fiat Chrysler's fuel economy regulatory strategy in the United States, and a place to showcase the automaker's leading-edge technology, is surprisingly large and built in Canada.
Since it was first introduced at the 2016 Detroit auto show, the Chrysler Pacifica minivan has proven itself a capable and adaptable platform for FCA to experiment with advanced electrification and autonomous driving.
On Dec. 19, FCA said it had completed production of 100 Pacificas specially outfitted with self-driving technology for Waymo, formerly known as the Google car project, to be added to that company's test fleet. Bloomberg, citing anonymous sources, reported that Waymo plans to start a ride-sharing service with the Pacifica in late 2017.
Meanwhile, in November, the hybridized version of the Pacifica earned an 84 mpg-equivalent rating from the U.S. EPA -- better than the automaker's initial estimates of 80 mpg-e. That's a highway fuel economy as efficient as 8.4 L/100 km.
And in early January, FCA will show a full-electric Pacifica concept vehicle at CES in Las Vegas, the huge trade event formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show.
All of the announcements have helped FCA to leap back into the automotive pack in terms of an electrification strategy after lagging far behind. FCA has consistently been at the bottom of annual corporate average fuel economy ratings for several years.