Jeep has launched new plug-in hybrid powered versions of the Renegade and Compass SUVs, which promise improved fuel economy and better performance than their conventionally powered stablemates. The two new models will be available to order from January next year, with first deliveries expected in June 2020.
The new PHEV system consists of a 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine mated to an electric motor. The Renegade is available with either 187bhp or 237bhp, with the most powerful model covering the 0–62mph sprint in around seven seconds. The Compass will only be available with 237bhp, making it the most powerful version of the SUV in Jeep’s line-up.
Both models feature Jeep’s new electric all-wheel-drive system. The front wheels are powered by an internal combustion engine, while the rears are driven by an electric motor, which generates 260Nm of torque once fed through the rear axle’s 10:1 gear reduction system. Jeep claims this system improves off-road performance, thanks to the amount of low-down grunt available from the electric motor.
Jeep’s Head of Product Marketing, Marco Pigozzi, said: “The move from mechanical to e all-wheel-drive is a massive improvement – it’s more capable than the conventionally powered Jeep. The enormous torque on offer from the electric motor allows [the car] to easily crawl over rocks and obstacles. And the fact that it’s mounted on the rear axle means [the car] is pushed up hills rather than pulled.”
Pigozzi was adamant that the shift from combustion-engined to plug-in hybrid drive would not compromise either SUV’s utilitarianism. To protect the drivetrain from rocks and exposed tree-roots when driving off-road, the Renegade PHEV is fitted with a range of steel underbody protection panels. Also, extensive waterproofing for the battery, engine, electric motor and EV controller, gives the range-topping Renegade Trailhawk a maximum wading depth of 600mm.
Jeep’s new PHEV drivetrain also features a pure-electric mode, which offers a top speed of up to 80mph and a zero-emissions range of roughly 31 miles, which Pigozzi anticipates will be more than enough for most morning commutes. Jeep also claims that the Renegade and the Compass PHEVs can be charged in less than two hours using conventional electric car chargers, and that both vehicles will deliver CO2 emissions “lower than 50g/km.”
Like most plug-in hybrid vehicles, both new PHEV Jeeps are fitted with an energy recovery system, which features two levels of regeneration. Both also sport an “E-Save” function, which retains the state of charge in the battery for use later in the car’s journey.
FCA and Jeep’s future electrification strategy
These two new plug-in hybrid SUVs form the first part of Jeep’s electrification strategy. The Wrangler will be the next model in the company’s line-up to receive the PHEV treatment, with an electrified variant due to be previewed in early 2020 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It will be revealed in full during the firm’s annual Camp Jeep event in July next year, before going on sale in September 2020.
Looking to the future, the Jeep Gladiator will go on sale in Europe in Autumn 2020. It will be followed by a new Grand Cherokee in 2021 and an “ultra compact utility vehicle” in early 2022, designed to rival the Suzuki Jimny. Jeep has also hinted that it will reveal its first all-electric model in the near future – though the further details on the vehicle won’t be released until the 2020 Geneva Motor Show.
Jeep’s new 1.3-litre PHEV powertrain will also find a home under the bonnet of the new Alfa Romeo Tonale, which will share the same platform as the Renegade. Prices and full specs for the new powertrain are yet to be announced for vehicles across the FCA range, but we’ll update you when they’re available.
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