GENEVA -- Jeep revealed plug-in hybrid versions of the Renegade and Compass compact crossovers, the brand’s first two electrified models for Europe, at the auto show here.
Production of the Renegade plug-in hybrid will start before the end of 2019, while the Compass will follow in early 2020, said Jeff Hines, head of the Jeep brand for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Both the Renegade and Compass plug-in hybrids will have an electric motor coupled with a gasoline engine, starting with the four-cylinder, 1.3-liter engine launched in 2018. In full electric mode both will offer a 50-km range with a top speed of 130 kph.
The Renegade power output will range from 187 hp to 236 hp, depending on the gasoline engine. It will accelerate from 0 to 100 kph (62 mph) in seven seconds.
For both the Renegade and Compass, the combined emissions of carbon dioxide will be less than 50 grams per kilometer. Both feature an all-wheel-drive system where the rear wheels are powered by the electric motor only.
CO2 emission targets will drive a growing level of electrification, Hines said. That electrification, in turn, will provide more capability through enhanced all-wheel drive, he said, adding that the Renegade will be the “first real UV” in the small SUV segment.
The Renegade and Compass plug-in hybrids will be built in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' plant in Melfi, southern Italy, which currently produces the Fiat 500X small crossover and the gasoline and diesel versions of the Renegade. Starting next year the factory also will produce all European versions of the Compass, which are currently imported from FCA's plant in Toluca, Mexico.
The Renegade and Compass plug-in hybrids could be exported to the U.S. if there is sufficient demand, said FCA's Europe head, Pietro Gorlier.
The extra production is good news for the Melfi plant, where production of the Fiat Punto small car was terminated in mid-2018.
According to market researcher JATO Dynamics, the Compass was the most popular Jeep in Europe in 2018, with 74,740 units sold, up from 15,623 in 2017. It narrowly beat the Renegade, whose 73,275 units were up slightly from 72,238 sold in 2017. The Jeep brand as a whole posted a 56 percent sales gain to 166,586 units.