Jeep Announced 3 Plugin Hybrids
Jeep Announced 3 Plugin Hybrids
Posted on January 28, 2020
In 2018, Fiat Chrysler announced that part of its five-year plan was to launch over 30 vehicles with some type of electrification by 2020. They dedicated $10.5 billion to the development of fully electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids, and conventional hybrids. As part of that plan, in early January 2020, Fiat Chrysler announced that three new electric vehicle models will be available for purchase in late 2020. These are the Jeep Wrangler, Compass, and Renegade plug-in hybrids.
Not much is known about the plug-in hybrid versions of these three models, particularly the Wrangler, as they have only been announced. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, in early January 2020, the vehicles weren't ready for real test drives, so Jeep offered a virtual reality-based (VR-based) test drive. The Jeep 4x4 Adventure VR Experience allowed participants to feel what a ride in the Jeep Wrangler 4xe would be like in Moab, Utah, on the Hell's Revenge Trail.
Serious off-roaders have known for decades that the Wrangler can handle brutal conditions. As the electric version is introduced, there might be some worry that an electric version doesn't have the power necessary to tackle the trails. This VR test drive gave Wrangler lovers a preview of the power they can expect from the Wrangler 4xe. The VR Experience featured a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon retrofitted with a hydraulic cylinder at each wheel. The vehicle reacted to trail data while showing riders correlated scenery.
More information is known about the Renegade and Compass hybrids. Both models offer a 1.3-liter turbocharged engine that pairs with an electric motor that will be rear-mounted. The 1.3-liter engine will power the front axle while the electric motor will power the rear. Together, these generate between 190 and 240 horsepower, though the power ranges are not yet finalized. The all-electric mode provides a range of 31 miles and a top speed of 81 miles per hour. Beyond that range, the vehicles will operate like a hybrid with both gasoline and battery power. The interior dashboard will feature special instrumentation, but more details are still forthcoming.
It is unknown whether the Wrangler will share the same powertrain as the Renegade and Compass or feature something completely new. The Renegade and Compass are crossover SUVs, featuring more car-like engineering than the Wrangler. The Wrangler is more truck-like, with a rugged frame and simple suspension system to offer a bouncy but ideal ride for off-road conditions. It has yet to be seen how Fiat Chrysler will address what might be a fundamentally different plug-in hybrid system to keep the Wrangler in the hearts of hard-core off-roaders.
While the new plug-in hybrid models were unveiled at CES, more details, such as pricing and power ranges, will be announced at future auto shows in 2020. The major auto shows will be in Geneva, Beijing, and New York. The Geneva event is first in early March, so it is likely that more information will be available at that time. It is an admirable feat of Fiat Chrysler to offer electric versions of all cars by 2020, but without more information, it is unknown if they are accomplishing their mission in a way that satisfies all their customers with the new Jeep hybrid models.