Jeep is preparing its smallest SUV for plug-in hybrid duty, as the Renegade PHEV will arrive—in the European market at least—in 2020. The FCA Melfi Plant in Italy is reportedly beginning its transformation into a facility that can produce the Renegade PHEV alongside the conventionally powered Renegade and Fiat 500X crossovers already built there.
According to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the Melfi plant will begin churning out pre-production examples of the plug-in hybrid in 2019, the firstfruits of a $229-plus million investment to launch the new propulsion system. Specific powertrain details have yet to be announced.
The Renegade PHEV will be the second battery-operated Jeep, following the mild-hybrid 2018 Jeep Wrangler with the 2.0L turbocharged I-4. That vehicle gets a 48V electrical system and integrated belt-starter generator, which replaces the alternator and provides smoother automatic engine idle stop and start and a small amount of electric boost on takeoff, saving some fuel in the process.
The Renegade will also be part of a greater emphasis by FCA on electrified powertrains, joining the Wrangler, Ram 1500 eTorque, and Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. The company claims that by 2022, it will offer a total of 12 electrified architectures—in fully electric, PHEV, hybrid, and mild-hybrid configurations. These propulsion systems will appear in 30 different FCA models.
Could an instant-torque Renegade Trailhawk PHEV be on the horizon as well? We hope so, and we await further developments with curiosity.
Source: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles UK