Torquing PHEV at Jeep
Pioneering brand evolves into the electrified marketplace with Renegade and Compass
This year, the Jeep brand is making a major evolutionary step towards respecting the environment and reducing the total cost of ownership of its vehicles by presenting its first production-ready plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV).
The Jeep brand has always pioneered new segments and new technologies: its heritage started in 1941 with the Willys-Overland, the first 4x4 vehicle, followed in 1946 by the Willys Wagon, which introduced the concept of the Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV).
Jeep’s legendary reputation for off-road capability has lasted ever since. Comfort, handling and connectivity have been increased over time, in parallel with the all-terrain performance of its SUVs.
At the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, Jeep unveiled two plug-in hybrid models - The Compass and the Renegade with the latter due to go on sale in the UK next year.
Renegade will be the first Jeep to feature the new PHEV technology, with a market launch scheduled for the first quarter of 2020.
Under the skin of the Renegade PHEV is a 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine, linked to an electric motor and battery. Combined, the powertrain can deliver up to 240hp.
The new SUV will offer silent, emission-free running in cities and remain fun to drive courtesy of fast engine response and smooth acceleration delivered from the electrified powertrain.
CO2 emissions are expected to be less than 50g/km and the Renegade should be able to travel 30 miles on electric power alone, making it an attractive company car choice.
Performance will be the best in the current Renegade range, with a 0-60mph acceleration time of less than seven seconds.
Drivers will have the option of charging the battery using a cable, or, alternatively, they’ll be able to replenish its charge using the petrol engine while driving. It will also recover lost energy through regenerative braking.
But above all, thanks to electrification, the Jeep range further improves its already class-leading off-road capability, courtesy of the greater torque offered by the electric motor and the ability to adjust it with extreme precision during take-off and while driving on the most challenging terrain, where a very low transmission ratio is needed.
Traction to the rear axle is not provided by a prop shaft but through a dedicated electric motor.
This allows the two axles to be separated and to control the torque independently in a more effective way than a mechanical system.
This means the petrol engine will exclusively drive the front wheels, while the electric motor powers those at the rear.
Renegade PHEV will feature a dedicated instrument cluster and infotainment screen, updated in order to help the driver with information related to daily hybrid driving.
The Renegade PHEV is the next step in FCA’s roll-out of electrification.
It will be produced at the FCA Melfi plant in Italy. Investment for the new engine launch equates to more than €200 million and also includes a strong commitment by FCA for training all workers on the application of this new technology.
The plant facilities involved in the production will also be modernised accordingly.