Jeep Finally Goes Electric With Two Plug-In Hybrids

In the Large Vehicle Era, our current automotive period where SUVs and trucks dominate the market, Jeep reigns supreme. Their 17-percent growth in 2018 is more of a “right portfolio at the right time” scenario than anything else, but with their first pickup in 26 years coming this spring they’re trying to capitalize on that momentum.

Meanwhile, the rest of the industry is trying to prepare for the next period: the EV Era. While Jeep’s MO has been designing vehicles meant to be driven into the great outdoors, they’ve been noticeably reluctant to change their vehicles over to tech that would benefit the great outdoors (or at least hurt them less).

Today, the company made the first substantial move toward electrification, announcing its first plug-in hybrid electric models: the Renegade and the Compass SUVs. The announcement during the Geneva Motor Show didn’t include a release date in the U.S., as the company is “focusing only on Europe for now,” but Fiat Chrysler (Jeep’s parent company) recently announced it’s investing $4.5 billion in its Michigan plants to “prepare for future production of electrified Jeep SUVs.”

Jeep Plug-In Hybrids (6 images)

With that assurance, we don’t feel as bad tempting you with the PHEV Renegade and Compass specs. Both pair a conventional 1.3-liter turbocharged inline-four with an electric motor. And despite the differences in design, Fiat Chrysler notes the rest of the specs are the same on both models “pending homologation” of the Compass. That means both are rated for horsepower in the 190-240 range, a pure-electric range of about 31 miles and a top speed around 81 MPH.

In terms of off-roading power, as Engadget notes, “They also take a different approach to all-wheel drive. Like the 2019 Prius, the new Jeeps are using an electric motor for AWD rather than a prop shaft. This lets Jeep control the torque independently at each axle in a more ‘effective’ way than a conventional system.”

It’s a shame Europe is set to see these models first, but with no official release date set, maybe if we collectively freak out about these as much as the Gladiator pickup Jeep will fastrack these stateside. Ready, set, tweet @Jeep.

Images courtesy of Jeep