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

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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.

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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.

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“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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