During last week’s Geneva International Motor Show, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has shown not one but three new plug-in hybrid vehicles. Two out of these three are production ready, while the third is still a concept. Concept or not, all three vehicles are slated for late 2019 or 2020 production. All three are equipped with the same plug-in hybrid system, which is a new one for FCA.
The two production-ready vehicles are the Jeep Renegade and Compass. Both were shown during the Auto Show in Trailhawk form, but at least in Europe, the PHEV variants will also be available in other trims. There will also be different power levels depending on trim. In the Renegade’s case, a 190 horsepower version will be offered on Longitude and Limited trims while a 240 horsepower version that guarantees a 7 second 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) run is reserved for Altitude and Trailhawk trims. Both versions have an identical electric motor output of 60 horsepower, but the difference lies in the internal combustion engine. Less powerful versions have the 1.3-liter FireFly with 130 horsepower, while the more powerful variant has a 1.3-liter FireFly making 180 horsepower.
As it was explained in our previous article, an internal combustion engine powers the front axle through a 6-speed Aisin automatic transmission while an electric motor drives the rear axle through a fixed speed transmission making this an electric AWD (eAWD) system. The front and rear axles do not have a mechanical connection–there is no prop shaft. That place is occupied by the water-cooled batteries, which have an 11.4 kWh capacity and are made by LG Chem, which are capable of around 50 km (31 miles) of all-electric range. With this smart packaging, luggage capacity is decreased by only 7-liters in comparison to non-hybrid versions. It will be possible to recharge it in just over 3 hours when connected to a 3.5 kW socket and even quicker if it’s connected to a 7 kW socket.
Drivers will be allowed to choose different driving modes including hybrid and electric-only mode. But there will also be another button. This button will allow three different engine brake settings and thus different amounts of energy recovery when slowing down.
Jeep engineers also made sure that battery never drains out. In the “off-road” driving mode the internal combustion engine is not only powering the front wheels but at the same time the current generator is activated and ensures that the battery charge never falls below a certain limit. In case of an obstacle, full power will be exploited by the rear electric motor and front engine.
The third announced model which is the Alfa Romeo Tonale Concept utilizes a plug-in hybrid system that will have more sporty intentions.
According to FCA’s 2018-2022 businesses plan we can expect three more vehicles with this new plug-in hybrid system or 6 cars in total.