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Here comes the PHEV Renegade

by David Zatz on

FCA has started to prepare its Italian plant for a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Jeep Renegade, part of its five-year, $10 billion plunge into electric and hybrid cars — which, in Europe, will replace diesels.

The Jeep Renegade plug-in hybrid isn’t likely to arrive until the year 2020, and at this point seems to be earmarked only for the Melfi plant in southern Italy. It seems likely that a Fiat 500X PHEV is also coming, since the two share key dimensions and powertrains.

2019 jeep renegade still

There has been no PHEV version of the small engine used in the Renegade yet; the “GSE” engine series is almost brand new, and easily outperforms the old 1.4 liter “FIRE” engines that power U.S. Fiats, with more power and torque, making more power at lower rpm. Developing the new setup will cost around $229 million, but the GSE engine will be used in numerous cars and crossovers. The company plans 12 different electrified powertrains across 30 models by 2022, ranging from pure battery cars to ordinary hybrids.

The GSE is likely to adapt technology first adopted by the Chrysler Pacifica PHEV, but since the small four-cylinders were developed at the same time as the PHEV, there may have been some engineering decisions aimed at making it work more efficiently in hybrid modes. The Pentastar V6 was likely also developed with hybridization in mind, but at the time, Chrysler had not yet developed its specific plug-in hybrid technologies.

It’s possible that the hybrid setup will be used instead of, rather than in addition to, the turbocharger on the Renegade. The combination of the hybrid and 1.3 engine would make for rapid acceleration and faster response times.

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