12 Mar 19

Plug-in hybrid Jeep models could cross the Atlantic

It has been a long wait, but FCA is finally getting its electrification act together. At the Geneva Motor Show, which runs until March 17, visitors can discover the very first plug-in hybrid models of the group for the European market, i.e. the Jeep Renegade and Jeep Compass 4x4 e.

Electrification is a "necessary evil" for OEMs in Europe - by 2021, the weighted average CO2 emissions of all vehicles sold in the EU has to be 95 g/km or lower. The only brand that seems on schedule is Toyota, thanks to the success of its hybrid models. OEMs like Mercedes and BMW are in dire straits, according to data recently released by Jato Dynamics.

America wants hybrids

FCA, too, needs to push for electric to avoid monster fines at the end of 2021 for not respecting the 95 g/km limit. In the USA, things are less stringent, but the Italian-American manufacturer still considers shipping the Europe-built PHEV models of the Renegade and Compass across the Atlantic.

It all depends on demand, evidently. Like in Europe, Americans have a growing appetite for pluggable hybrids. Today, there are 30 PHEV models on the US market. The Toyota Prius Prime is heading the top 10, but that could change, considering the plethora of new PHEVs that have been announced by home-player Ford as well as popular European brands such as BMW, Audi, VW and Mercedes.

Filling the gaps

Jeep's electrified Renegade and Compass would be a welcome addition in the lower vehicle segments, where plug-in hybrids are still scarce. Their electrified powertrain consists of a turbocharged 1.3 four-cylinder petrol unit driving the front wheels and an electric motor on the rear axle. FCA claims an electric range of 50 km and a combined CO2 rating of less than 50 g/km under WLTP conditions.

Production of the Renegade plug-in hybrid will start before the end of 2019, with the Compass following a few months later. They will be built by FCA's Melfi plant in southern Italy, which today already manufactures the Fiat 500X small crossover and the standard Renegade. The European Compass models are currently imported from Mexico, but Melfi will start assembling them from 2020 onwards.


Authored by: Dieter Quartier