FCA gives debut to four new cars at motor show
Each member of the quartet will have an electrified powertrain
FCA Group ensured it was a star of the Geneva Motor Show by giving world debuts to four cars – all with electrified powertrains.
Alfa Romeo unveiled a concept version of its Tonale compact SUV, which will be available with a plug-in hybrid powertrain when the production model is launched at the end of next year.
Fiat’s Concept Centoventi is an electric car which showcases the brand’s idea of electric mass mobility in the near future, while Jeep previewed the Renegade and Compass E-volution plug-in hybrid models.
Here we take a closer look at the four vehicles:
Fiat Concept Centoventi
Fiat unveiled its Concept Centoventi at the Geneva Motor Show – its vision of electric mass mobility in the near future.
The manufacturer says it would be the least expensive battery electric vehicle on the market, as well as being the easiest to repair and service, with lower risk of damage and even lower total cost of ownership.
Named to mark the manufacturer’s 120 years of history – centoventi means 120 in Italian – the car is fitted with a battery with a range of 62 miles as standard, but if more range is needed up to three additional batteries, each providing 62 miles of driving, can be bought or hired.
The extra batteries are installed underneath the floor of the car by the Fiat dealer network, while a sliding rail which supports and connects the batteries makes their installation or removal quick and easy.
An additional battery, which is mounted under the seat, is also available and can be disconnected and put on charge directly in the user’s home or garage. The total range which can be achieved is 310 miles.
The Concept Centoventi’s multiple charging socket is located at the bottom of the windscreen, while the cable reel housed underneath the trim eliminates the need for a cable storage space in the boot.
The modular approach of this battery installation is reflected throughout the car.
Its cockpit, which can accommodate up to four people, has been created on the ‘plug and play’ principle.
The dashboard has small holes into which a number of additional components – ranging from a cupholder to a bottle box – can be fitted, thanks to the patented interlocking mounting system.
The Concept Centoventi’s dashboard is available in two options. The first makes a smartphone the heart of the system, in combination with the cluster’s main 10-inch screen, and the user is able to ‘connect’ their phone or tablet to the dashboard to use its navigation, music and messaging functions.
Drivers who want a more traditional solution can choose the second option: the new Lingotto instrument cluster, which is a fully digital 20- inch device.
Integrated in the Lingotto display’s support are driving assistance and safety functions, such as direction indicator, blind spot warning and battery charge status.
Concept Centoventi’s seats feature a bare structure made from eco-sustainable materials, while the cushions and head restraints can be replaced to change their colours and materials.
FIAT CONCEPT CENTOVENTI
“The vehicle can be updated however and whenever the driver wants – with the interior configuration, roof configuration, infotainment system and even battery range all easily changed”
With optional additional batteries, the Centoventi will have a range of up to 310 miles
The standard car comes with an open roof, while the tailgate can accommodate an innovative digital display which can share messages with the outside world. When the vehicle is on the move, the display will show only the Fiat logo, but once it stops, the driver can switch to ‘messenger’ mode.
Customers will be able to personalise the Concept Centoventi through the 4U programme, with a choice of four roofs (a two-colour polycarbonate top, canvas soft top, integrated cargo box and a roof featuring a solar panel), four bumpers, four wheel covers and four external wrappings.
This means the vehicle can be updated however and whenever the driver wants – with the interior configuration, roof configuration, infotainment system and even battery range all easily changed.
Except for six features (bumpers, polycarbonate roof, colour, Lingotto instrument cluster, batteries and digital tailgate) which can only be installed at retailers, the other 114 accessories specifically designed by Mopar – including the sound system, dashboard and seat cushions – can be bought online and fitted by the customer.
Some simply structured accessories, such as a cup holder or document holder, can be produced using a 3D printer in the owner’s home, at their dealership or at a specialist printing shop.
Alfa Romeo Tonale
Alfa Romeo wowed the crowds at Geneva when it unveiled its Tonale compact SUV concept vehicle.
A production version is expected to be launched by the end of next year and will be the first Alfa Romeo to feature a plug-in hybrid powertrain, with the manufacturer aiming for it to deliver the best driving dynamics in the segment.
Just as with its bigger brother the Stelvio, Tonale is also named after a pass in Italy, as it marks a step forward for the manufacturer – “in Italy, a step means a pass and this is clearly the next step for our brand”, says Roberta Zerbi, head of Alfa Romeo EMEA.
The concept has many classic Alfa Romeo styling features, and the production version should strongly resemble the vehicle on show in Switzerland.
“In terms of style, the concept really gives a very good indication of what the future model will be, both in terms of proportions and in terms of some iconic features starting with the telephone dial wheels and the ‘3 plus 3’ front headlamps seen on an Alfa Romeo 75 and Brera,” says Zerbi.
“It is also our first step into electrification and the decision to present this concept as a plug-in hybrid is because the plug-in hybrid allows us to have the best of the two worlds – the normal combustion engine, coupled with electric.
“We are working night and day to turn the concept into reality.”
Roberta said powertrain options were still being evaluated, but the engine line-up would also include mild hybrid technology.
Like all recent Alfa Romeos, the Tonale will feature the brand’s DNA drive mode selector, which will be updated to support the car’s hybrid system. This will see ‘Dynamic’ replaced by ‘Dual Power’ which makes the petrol engine and electric motor work together to deliver maximum performance; ‘Natural’ remains a balance between efficiency and outright power; while ‘Advanced Efficiency’ becomes ‘Advanced E’ for pure-electric running.
The concept is also equipped with a high level of technology to ensure a connected, comfortable and dynamic user experience.
The interior features a 12.3-inch full digital cluster and a 10.25-inch touchscreen central head unit.
The Tonale allows the driver to be fully connected to the Alfa Romeo lifestyle and social communities presented through the new infotainment features Alfista and Paddock.
Alfista provides a fully connected interface with select Alfa Romeo clubs and community events, with the in-vehicle app allowing the driver access to live news and updates on the brand.
Paddock is the Alfa Romeo Tonale in-vehicle garage and market for real-time viewing and purchasing of the latest interior and exterior performance upgrades and equipment.
Jeep Renegade and Compass plug-in hybrids
Jeep revealed plug-in hybrid (PHEV) versions of its Renegade and Compass compact SUVs, which will offer CO2 emissions of below 50g/km.
Production of the Renegade PHEV will start before the end of this year, while the Compass PHEV will follow in early 2020.
Both models will be powered by a 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine combined with an electric motor.
In the Renegade this will be available with combined maximum power outputs of either 190hp or 240hp dependent on the engine choice, while the Compass will have 240hp.
Both models will offer an electric-only range of around 31 miles, a top speed in electric mode of approximately 80mph and will be able to accelerate from a standstill to 62mph in around seven seconds.
Jeep will start building the Renegade later this year
As well as offering lower CO2 and increased efficiency, the electrified powertrains will further improve the ranges’ impressive off-road capability through the greater torque offered by the electric motor as well as the ability to adjust it with precision while driving on challenging terrain where a very low axle ratio is needed.
The new electric all-wheel drive technology (eAWD) provides traction to the rear axle through a dedicated electric motor instead of a propshaft, as used in combustion-engined four-wheel drive cars.
This allows the two axles to be separated and to control the torque independently in a more effective way than a mechanical system.
Both the Renegade and Compass PHEVs feature a dedicated instrument cluster and infotainment screen, updated with information related to daily hybrid driving.
Compass production is expected to start early in 2020
“The electrified powertrains will further improve the ranges’ impressive off-road capability through the greater torque offered”