The times they are a changing and even though Jeep is big on tradition, the iconic brand is devoted to innovation and change to keep up with the times. It was at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show where Jeep unveiled the first two plug-in hybrid options from their lineup – the Renegade and Compass models – as part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ (FCA) massively ambitious electrification plans. Jeep touts that their new hybrid powertrains will improve gas mileage, but most importantly the new drivetrains will not compromise that off-road performance that Jeep is known for.
Under the hood of both the Renegade and the Compass lies a 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This is the same engine that currently powers the Renegade in the North American automotive market. With the gasoline engine and its electric assist, the powertrain offers an output up to 240 horsepower – Jeep has yet to finalize its numbers. According to Jeep, a Renegade with that kind horsepower can go from 0 to 62 mph in under seven seconds. The same type of performance is expected from the Compass as well, but Jeep hasn’t confirmed any numbers yet.
The main advantage of a plug-in hybrid over a conventional hybrid is the fact that the battery pack itself can be changed from an external source of power – the same way you plug in a phone etc. Plug-in hybrids have the ability to have a bigger battery pack as well, allowing cars to operate solely on electric power for longer periods of time. According to Jeep, both the Renegade and Compass have an all-electric range (running on electricity alone/no emissions) of 31 miles at speeds up to 80 mph.
Even though these plug-in hybrid variants of the Renegade and Compass have no physical connection between the front and rear wheels, power is sent to all four wheels. There’s an electric motor that specifically powers the rear wheels, rendering the need for a prop shaft useless. This method is well known in the automotive industry as a “through the road” all-wheel-drive system and it’s already in use in various all-wheel-drive Toyota hybrids. Jeep decided on this system because it allows for more precise control of the torque split between the two axles and torque is of the essence when off-roading.
Jeep did not announce a timeline or make reference to any official debut date for the Renegade and Compass plug-in hybrids. Industry experts expect production to begin in 2020 as the automaker will ambitiously aim to introduce 10 plug-in hybrid models across the globe within the next few years. Industry rumors have it that the iconic Jeep Wrangler is the next model to get a plug-in hybrid powertrain. We’re keeping our eyes peeled for the 2019 New York Auto Show and the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show, two automotive industry events in which Jeep loves to show off.
Follow Miami Lakes Jeep on social media to stay up to date with the latest Jeep news. As the year progresses, we are likely to learn about the upcoming three-row Jeep SUV and the future of the Grand Wagoneer as well.
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