Jeep's Green Wave Crashes Into Europe, Will Ripple Back to North America

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
jeeps green wave crashes into europe will ripple back to north america

Fiat Chrysler’s reputation as an automaker that scoffs at fuel economy mandates is slowly being chipped away. Never mind the much-loathed Fiat 500e; it was the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid that really got the ball rolling, with eTorque-engined Ram 1500s upping the company’s green cred for 2019.

At this week’s Geneva Motor Show, the high-flying Jeep brand revealed the next salvo in its bid to lower corporate emissions while wooing eco-conscious (or heavily taxed) overseas buyers: Two crossovers, each bearing a plug-in hybrid drivetrain.

While American consumers can expect a plug-in Wrangler hybrid sometime in 2020, Jeep’s Tuesday reveal focused on more Euro-friendly models. The subcompact Renegade and compact Compass both gain a plug-in hybrid system that mates a rear-mounted electric motor with the brand’s potent new 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder.

Debuting in the 2019 Compass, the gasoline engine makes 177 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque in U.S.-spec models. For these two plug-ins, FCA claims a combined output of 190 to 240 hp, with the Compass understandably earning the highest power figure.

All-electric range for both Renegade and Compass is 31 miles, with each vehicle said to be capable of 80 mph in EV mode and a seven-second 0-62 mph sprint. The Renegade and Compass PHEV mark the debut of Jeep’s eAWD system, which forgoes a mechanical connection between front and rear drive wheels.

“Thanks to the new electric all-wheel-drive technology (eAWD), traction to the rear axle is not provided by a prop shaft but through a dedicated electric motor,” FCA said. “This allows the two axles to be separated and to control the torque independently in a more effective way than a mechanical system.”

In last year’s five-year plan, the automaker said it hoped to offer 12 electrified powertrains globally by 2022, split among mild hybrids, hybrids, plug-ins, and fully electric vehicles. North America is said to get eight Jeep plug-ins by that target year, so expect to see this duo offered stateside, probably by the end of next year. The automaker has already revealed the Renegade PHEV’s availability in early 2020.

Last week’s plant investment announcement saw FCA reveal the future production of four PHEVs on American soil, as well as capacity for BEVs. Sitting atop Jeep’s green pyramid will be the plug-in Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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  • Vulpine Vulpine on Mar 05, 2019

    One question though: "Debuting in the 2019 Compass, the gasoline engine makes 177 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque in U.S.-spec models. For these two plug-ins, FCA claims a combined output of 190 to 240 hp, with the Compass understandably earning the highest power figure." --- Why would the Compass, being bigger and heavier (albeit not by much) get, "...understandably ... the highest power figure"? If they're using the same engine and the same eHybrid drive, they should get almost identical figures. When comparing the gasoline-only versions, the Compass actually realizes a slight reduction in economy compared to the Renegade despite the Renegade's less-aerodynamic nose.

    • See 3 previous
    • Vulpine Vulpine on Mar 05, 2019

      @whynot: The difference in weight when the new Compass came out was only about 100-150 pounds It's also only about 6" longer and I think 3" wider. Even so, it got about 1mpg lower 'combined' EPA, IIRC. I agree that Cd is only part of the equation, as is the frontal area. The only 'fixed' part of the equation is air density when the two are side by side.

  • Conundrum Conundrum on Mar 05, 2019

    Makes me wonder how they integrate the output of the elctric motor in back and the ICE up front. With mechanical AWD you get automatic correlation of front and rear axles. That's why Subaru kept its AWD system in their new hybrid. And no Mr Vulpine, I need no theorizing from you. Nothing I've read from you gives me any confidence you know what you're on about, and you're opinionated with it. I'm a mechanical engineer, so if you have some idea to fulminate upon, make it logical and defensible.

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    • Vulpine Vulpine on Mar 06, 2019

      @Scoutdude: "Because the only MG is the rear axle drive when it is working as a hybrid it will need to use those rear wheels to recharge the battery." --- This, I believe, is an invalid assumption. Using the motor/generator (MG) to recharge the battery when AWD is not in use creates drag on the front drivetrain, making the engine work harder than necessary. It takes a lot less juice to have the engine's alternator recharge the battery instead, as you say in the same manner as Toyota. There is nothing in any article I've read that claims the Jeep's system exclusively uses the rear MG to recharge the battery, only that it uses regerative braking to HELP recharge the battery.

  • FifaCup Loving both Interior and exterior designs.
  • FifaCup This is not good for the auto industry
  • Jeff S This would be a good commuter vehicle especially for those working in a large metropolitan area. The only thing is that by the time you put airbags, backup cameras, and a few of the other required safety features this car would no longer be simple and the price would be not much cheaper than a subcompact. I like the idea but I doubt a car like this would get marketed in anyplace besides Europe and the 3rd World.
  • ScarecrowRepair That's what I came to say!
  • Inside Looking Out " the plastic reinforced with cotton waste used on select garbage vehicles assembled by the Soviet Union. "Wrong. The car you are talking about was the product German engineering, East German. It's name was Trabant.