Jeep is finally embracing electricity with a pair of plug-in hybrid crossovers at the Geneva Auto Show.
Fiat Chrysler has historically been a company slow to adopt change. When Tesla started making electric vehicles popular, FCA was busy making gas guzzling Challengers and Chargers, not to mention a Jeep Grand Cherokee with a 700 hp engine and worse fuel economy than a Pagani Zonda.
But the wheel of time continues to turn, and either because it’s in their own financial best interests or because increasingly stringent emissions regulations have made it necessary, Jeep has finally embraced an electric future with a pair of plug-in hybrid concepts.
A Jeep Renegade and Compass both come with a plug-in hybrid powertrain with a combined 240 hp through an electric motor and a conventional internal combustion engine. That’s a big jump over where the crossovers normally sit, which is 180 hp from a 2.4-L Tigershark inline 4-cylinder on the Compass, or 160 hp from a 1.4-L turbocharged 4-banger on the Renegade.
Both the PHEV Renegade and Compass get power from a new 1.3-L turbocharged engine which provides an unspecified amount of power of that 240 horses. Jeep also doesn’t mention the new torque figures, but they promise it’s more than either car has ever had before and will make both vehicles better at off-roading.
We do know that the electric motor is in the back while the 1.3-L turbo drives the front wheels, providing an electric AWD system.
It’s also a lot faster. The Renegade can scoot from 0-62 mph in around 7 seconds, which is a lot better than the 10 seconds it used to take. The Compass should have similar performance, but Jeep admits that they haven’t finished homologation to know for sure yet.
On just the battery, either PHEV should get approximately 31 miles (50 km) of range and have a top electric-only speed of 81 mph (130 kph). While being electric there are zero emissions, and with the gas engine engaged, emissions are as low as 50 g/km.
Which is all well and good, but Jeep hasn’t truly embraced electricity until we see a hybrid Wrangler. We’re still waiting on that one.