The Jeep Renegade plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) that will be launched in early 2020 is inching closer to production. Currently, the Fiat Chrysler Melfi Plant in Italy is being readied for the production run. Pre-production copies will be made in 2019, before the final versions in 2020. €200 million is the amount reportedly invested in the new powertrain’s launch.
“With over 742,000 Renegades produced to date in Italy, the Melfi plant and the Renegade are the ideal location and the perfect product to launch the PHEV, further strengthening the offer of this highly successful Jeep,” said FCA’s Pietro Gorlier.
The subcompact Renegade PHEV has a rear-mounted electric motor for the rear wheels and retains the normal front-wheel drive. Details about the PHEV Renegade’s performance are scant at this point, but one writer, Paul Acoba, suggested it might be similar to the Pacifica Hybrid (which you can read a CleanTechnica review of here). “FCA is preparing to add a battery pack in their little Renegade, possibly giving it the ability to have an EV-only mode in line with the Chrysler Pacifica PHEV. If FCA gets the timing right and markets it correctly, this could be a boon for Jeep in a way that already has its writing on the wall.”
Adding a battery and an electric motor to a small SUV with established sales might be a good idea for FCA. Car and Driver wrote the Renegade has real off-road ability and an option for a manual transmission, so it may be more rugged than the typical compact SUV.