Earlier this morning, the Jeep® brand released all the final details on its upcoming plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) versions of the popular Renegade and Compass models. Both of these will be the first Jeep vehicles to carry the all-new 4xe nameplate. Each new Jeep PHEV from this point forward will carry a 4xe badge, which centers around the brand’s values of efficiency, performance, and responsibility. Vehicles wearing the new badge will be the most fuel-efficient Jeep SUVs ever and will offer a zero-emissions driving capability, thanks to its plug-in technology, providing range and easy charging capabilities.
While the new Jeep Renegade 4xe and Compass 4xe models will debut in the European marketplace, they are expected to be rolled out over the next year globally. The new models using electrification will take the Jeep brand into the future, as it strives to become the leader in eco-friendly premium technology.
The Jeep Renegade 4xe and Jeep Compass 4xe powertrain integrate two electric motors and an 11.4 kWh battery pack, with a fuel-efficient 1.3-liter turbocharged gasoline engine and 6-speed automatic transmission. This architecture provides two cars in one – a battery-electric vehicle featuring an electric motor and a high-voltage lithium-ion battery pack on the rear axle and a conventional vehicle with an internal combustion engine (ICE) fitted on the front axle. Two electric motors, one of which is located on the front axle and coupled to the ICE that, in addition to working in synergy with the engine, can act as a high-voltage generator, as it is necessary. The second motor is located on the rear axle and features reduction gear and integrated differential (also known as the “e-axle”). It delivers 60 horsepower and 250 Nm (or about 184 ft.-lb) of torque, generating traction and recovering energy while braking.
The 1.3-liter turbocharged gasoline engine that powers the Renegade and Compass 4xe belongs to the new Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Global Small Engine or GSE family. This engine is currently found under the hood of certain models of the North American Jeep Renegade. The engine is based on a modular structure and is available for the 4xe versions of the two output levels (130 horsepower or 180 horsepower). The basic structure of the 1.3-liter turbo petrol engine of the Renegade and Compass 4xe guarantees efficiency, modularity, and a considerable degree of standardization in terms of components and manufacturing process, flexibility, and potential for future development.
It is entirely made of aluminum for lightness (it weighs 106 kilograms or about 234 pounds). The crankcase, developed in partnership with Teksid, is made of high-pressure die-cast aluminum alloy. After studying various crankcase designs, a bedplate architecture was chosen, to offer the best balance of weight, structural performance, noise, and vibrations. Like all turbocharged versions in the GSE family, it includes exclusive third-generation MultiAir technology that improves combustion efficiency by adjusting valve lift and timing and further optimizes independent intake valve opening and closing.
By integrating the electric machine on the auxiliary belt it was possible to design a control logic that optimizes the dynamics and efficiency of the ICE and the downstream automatic transmission. The result is a front axle superior to any equivalent of conventional powertrain capable of offering a lively, smooth, and efficient behavior.
The 11.4 kWh, 400-volt lithium-ion battery pack uses cobalt-nickel manganese/graphite chemistry. It is located underneath the second row of seats, where it is protected from outside elements. Enclosed in a steel casing, the pack is fitted with a dedicated heating and cooling circuit to keep the battery at its optimum temperature for best performance.
The 11.4 kWh battery pack allows the Renegade and Compass 4xe to travel an average range of 50 kilometers (or 31 miles) in full-electric, zero-emission mode. The hybrid system also includes a power inverter (PIM) housed inside the battery pack, which is also protected from damage.
An important observation concerning the layout of the Jeep 4xe models is that the small size of the charging module placed in the boot and the arrangement of the electric motor under the floor means that the cargo capacity is practically the same as the conventional engine version. At the same time, the dual function of the rear cargo area with a raised loading surface at the top and maximized loading capacity at the bottom was maintained. The layout means that a spare wheel can be housed under the rear cargo area on the 4xe versions of both models.
The combination of an ICE and the electric units guarantees performance and maximum driving pleasure with acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62 mph) in around 7.5 seconds, a top speed of 130 km/h (or about 81 mph) in full-electric mode, and up to 200 km/h (or about 124 mph) in hybrid mode.
Legendary Jeep off-road capability is guaranteed by the Jeep Active Drive Low system, fitted on all Compass and Renegade 4xe trims. The new plug-in hybrid technology further enhances the off-road capability of both models, with the combination of the two propulsions resulting in more torque.
Trailhawk 4xe, for example, the specialist off-road trim with overall power of 240 horsepower and boasts an increase in torque output up to 50% versus the 170 horsepower diesel Trailhawk model. Furthermore, thanks to the new 4xe technology, traction to the rear axle is not provided by a prop shaft but through a dedicated electric motor. This allows the two axles to be separated and control the torque independently in a more effective way than a mechanical system, with traction being delivered to the rear wheels immediately when needed.
Customers of the new Jeep Renegade and Compass 4xe can personalize their driving experience according to their specific needs and the type of journey, such as daily commutes in town, for which full-electric driving is ideal, or exciting off-road adventures on extreme trails in contact with nature in authentic Jeep style.
The system has three operating modes – Hybrid, Electric, and E-save. The desired mode can be activated using the selector switch located in front of the gear lever. In all driving modes, the regenerative braking system recovers energy during passive driving phases (such as deceleration or light braking). Additionally, Renegade and Compass 4xe travel in hybrid mode when the battery reaches the minimum charge level regardless of the selected mode. More in details:
- HYBRID is the default mode selected when the car is started. It is designed to manage and use the system in the most efficient way, optimizing power and minimizing fuel consumption. The ICE and electric motor work together according to the road type, with braking energy recovery phases. Initially, the system favors electric driving (so the power is supplied by the electric motor). When the battery reaches the minimum charge level (called “SOC”, State Of Charge), the ICE is used for propulsion. The system manages start-up and intervention through an optimization algorithm (Hybrid Control Processor or HCP) designed to maximize the system efficiency levels.
- ELECTRIC is the mode that provides a full-electric average range of 50 kilometers* at zero emissions. It is designed to maximize the electric driving experience through a different calibration of the HCP optimization algorithm. The car drives in the electric-only mode as long as there is sufficient charge in the battery. The system automatically switches to HYBRID mode when the battery is completely flat or when the driver kicks the kick-down. A top speed of up to 130 km/h (or 81 mph) can be reached. This is the ideal mode for traveling in city centers with traffic and emission restrictions.
- E-SAVE, on the other hand, is the mode for maintaining battery charge or for charging it while driving using the ICE. E-SAVE mode supports two secondary modes, called Battery Save (passive E-SAVE) and Battery Charge (active E-SAVE), both of which can be activated on the Uconnect system screen.
- Passive E-SAVE or Battery Save: maintains the state of charge of the battery through the predominant use of the ICE;
- E-SAVE active or Battery Charge: charges the battery up to 80% through the operation of the ICE on which the combined front electric generator acts.
In HYBRID mode – the optimization algorithm (HCP) guarantees system efficiency by modulating the joint intervention of electric motors and ICEs according to the charge level of the battery. The HCP algorithm automatically modulates the torque distribution between the electric motors and the ICE. The ICE intervenes whenever the required performance exceeds that of the electric motor alone. The HYBRID mode driving optimization algorithm is designed to manage the car in the most efficient configuration according to the following factors:
- Energy level (State Of Charge) of the battery pack
- Electric motor and ICE efficiency maps
- Requests for performance by the driver
- Travel and environmental situations (gradients, ambient temperatures, etc.)
The intervention of the ICE while driving may depend on various combinations of these factors. When the battery charge level is low, the ICE is switched on to provide the required torque to the front wheels, making up for the lack of electric propulsion from the rear wheels.
The new ‘e-Coasting’ mode intervenes in place of the exhaust brake when the throttle is released, allowing energy recovery when slowing down even with the brake pedal released. It can be differentiated by a button on the central tunnel, located under the gear lever.
Regenerative braking is always active regardless of the driving mode (ICE or electric motor) to maximize energy recovery when the throttle and brake pedals are released. The e-Coasting mode can be activated on Renegade and Compass 4xe when the transmission is in the “D” (Drive) position. By pressing the ‘e-Coasting’ button, the breaking intensity can be activated according to two different levels, more or less intense.
A warning light on the instrument panel display indicates activation through two different colors:
- White (“Normal”) if the “Intense” function is selected but not active (accelerator pedal not released);
- Green, if the “Intense” function is selected and active (accelerator pedal released).
After the more intense function has been activated by the driver, the regenerative braking calibration is bolder when coasting, that is when the driver is not pressing the accelerator pedal. This feature reduces the speed faster than standard regenerative braking and generates more electricity to be conveyed to the battery pack.
A dedicated message will appear on the instrument panel during the transition from the “Intense” to “Normal” function and vice versa.
On the exterior, the new Jeep 4xe models maintain many of the same design cues as their ICE versions but stand out thanks to striking Blue coloring on the front “Jeep” badge and the “4xe” and “Jeep” rear badges. Blue accents also adorn the side badges with Renegade and Compass naming, while the charge port features a push-open/push-close cover and is located at the rear on the vehicle’s left side.
The European-spec Jeep Renegade 4xe and Jeep Compass 4xe line-up include three trim levels – Limited, S, and Trailhawk, all featuring four-wheel-drive (eAWD) and 6-speed automatic transmission and, two power output levels.
Inside, a 7-inch thin-film-transistor (TFT) color display and an 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen with Navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Radio DAB are offered (depending on the market). Both display specific information for electrified driving.
4xe models also feature a new 6-speed automatic transmission selector, updated Selec-Terrain rotary control with eAWD modes (4WD Lock, 4WD Low, Hill Descent Control) to engage the different driving modes – Auto, Snow, Mud & Sand, and Rock, as well as the new Sport mode for enhanced throttle response and steering, exclusive to the Renegade and Compass 4xe models. Black Wizard-colored accents adorn the air vent, speaker, and center console bezels on the Limited and S trims, while the Trailhawk trim sports Ruby Red bezels.
In terms of safety, the new 4xe models come with the most advanced ADAS systems available on the market, including high-visibility Full LED headlights (standard or optional on Renegade depending on the version), Bi-Xenon headlights (on Compass), standard Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning Plus, Intelligent Speed Assist and Traffic Sign Recognition (on the Renegade only) and front (optional on Compass) and rear parking sensors. Available safety features include Blind Spot Detection, ParkView rear backup camera with dynamic gridlines, automatic Park Assist, and Keyless Go. Jeep Renegade 4xe also features as standard feature the new Drowsy Driver Detection system offered for the first time in a Jeep model.
There are up to 18 different exterior colors for the Renegade and 22 for the Compass. They include Alpine White, Glacier, Granite Crystal, Jetset Blue, Blue Shade, Sting Grey, Colorado Red, Carbon Black, and Solid Black, plus 3 specific colors for the Renegade – Bikini and Omaha Orange (both on all trim levels except the S) and Matt Green (on the Trailhawk only). Additional three colors are exclusive to the Compass – Ivory Tri-Coat, Blue Italia, and Techno Green. In addition, up to six specific wheels are available for the Renegade 4xe and seven for the Compass 4xe.
The Renegade 4xe and Compass 4xe, will soon be joined by the new Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4xe this fall. The Wrangler version will launch in the North American market first, before being offered globally. MoparInsiders.com, expects the Renegade and Compass 4xe models to arrive stateside in the 2022 model year, along with the new Compass mid-cycle design refresh.