The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is, for the moment, a unique vehicle.
It's the sole plug-in hybrid minivan for sale anywhere in North America, and its combination of seven seats and 33 miles of EPA-rated electric range have attracted huge interest.
Production of the partially electric minivan began early in April, but over the last several weeks, reports of a widespread lack of availability have emerged.
Now we know why: Chrysler has recalled roughly 1,700 of the Pacifica Hybrids built and sold to date.
The issue is related to a potentially faulty diode in an electronics module, which can stop functioning altogether, leading to a powertrain shutdown.
That could produce the risk of a crash, though Chrysler says there have been no injuries reported to date as a result of the issue. The company is recalling the vehicles and will replace the faulty part.
Our reader Mike Banks had a Pacifica Hybrid in transit from the assembly plant in Windsor, Ontario, that was suddenly sent back for "additional quality control."
It appears that Chrysler kept at least some buyers and dealers in the dark as to the nature of the problem until the formal recall was issued.
Numerous owners on Pacifica forums had reported issues ranging from trouble charging to the car dying while in traffic.
Meanwhile, at least some Chrysler dealers have told interested buyers that they won't have Pacifica Hybrids until the 2018 model year. Production of those vehicles will likely start sometime between one and four months hence.
One reader in Washington state, for instance, received a message two weeks ago from his salesperson, saying, "we will no longer be getting 2017 Pacifica Hybrids."
"We're not sure why they decided to do this," the salesperson continued, "but they said they would release Pacifica Hybrids in 2018."
The demand for Pacifica Hybrids, however, is likely to remain. All other plug-in hybrid light trucks in the U.S. market are five-seaters or have EPA-rated ranges of less than 20 miles.
In total, the recall applies to 1,368 Pacifica Hybrid minivans in the U.S. and a further 309 registered in Canada.
Owners will soon receive recall notices by mail, containing details about when and how to schedule a service visit at their local dealer.
If those owners have additional questions or concerns, the NHTSA encourages them to call Fiat Chrysler's U.S. Customer Care Center at 800-853-1403.
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