Jeep has confirmed details for its new Renegade 4xe plug-in hybrid, the first on-sale plug-in model from the 4x4 specialist.
41km of electric range
Set to be built at Fiat-Chrysler's Melfi factory, in Italy, Jeep claims that the Renegade 4xe will provide low-carbon, low-consumption motoring without compromising on the sort of off-road ruggedness you'd expect from a Jeep.
The Renegade 4xe's powertrain is built around the existing 1.3-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol engine, which is now paired with a, 11.4kWh battery pack. The engine produces 130hp or 180hp, depending on the model, and the car's electric motors add another 60hp, giving a total of 190 hp or 240hp, depending on which version you go for. The engine produces 270Nm of torque, while the electric system adds in another 250Nm, so there'll be plenty of shove. 0-100km/h is done in 7.5 seconds. Plug in and charge up, and you'll get a claimed 41km out of the battery in pure electric mode. CO2 emissions have not yet been confirmed but are claimed to be below 50g/km. There will be three trim levels - Longitude, Limited and Trailhawk - all featuring four-wheel-drive (eAWD) and a six-speed automatic transmission.
Hybrid system ensures full off-road ability
This being a Jeep, having a hybrid system that could only drive one axle was a non-starter, so Jeep has fitted two electric motors to the Renegade 4xe. The front motor is effectively combined with the engine, and acts as both a traction motor and as a regeneration motor for harvesting otherwise wasted energy. The rear electric motor is the big, proper unit with 60hp and 250Nm, and is the motor that primarily drives the Renegade in electric only mode.
There's no prop shaft to the rear wheels, so those are powered solely by the rear electric motor, and when off-roading, that combines with the petrol engine up front to give added traction and grip-finding ability. The system features a 'Powerloop' which ensures that, even when the battery is flat, the smaller front electric motor can continually supply power to the rear motor, so as to keep the four-wheel drive system working when you need it.
There's the Jeep Selec-Terrain traction control system which has four modes - Auto, Sport, Mud/Sand, Snow and Rock - and there's both a 4WD Lock mode and a 4WD Low mode for extra control when things get properly sticky. For serious off-roading, all high-voltage electronic components, including the control modules and the wiring between the battery pack and electric motors, are fully sealed and waterproof. As a result, the Renegade 4xe has a water fording capability of up to 40cm. The Trailhawk version is also fitted with steel skid plates for added protection when driving on rough terrain, as well as benchmark angles in its category (approach angle of 28 degrees, departure angle of 28 degrees, breakover angle of 18 degrees, ground clearance of 20.1cm on Renegade Trailhawk
When you're just driving normally, you can pick from other battery-specific modes. Hybrid is the Renegade 4xe's default mode, while Electric puts you into battery-only mode when there's enough charge. There are also two on-the-go charging modes - Passive E-Save, which maintains the current charge of the battery, or Active E-Save, which tops up the battery to 80 per cent capacity as you drive.
There's also an 'Intense' e-coasting mode which ramps up the brake-energy recuperation, charging the battery more, and giving you the option of partially one-pedal driving.
Needless to say, there's a smartphone app - 'My uConnect' - which allows you to monitor the Renegade 4xe's charging and functions while it's hooked up to a plug. You can do that through the on-board 8.4-inch touchscreen too, to which your phone will connect, of course.
The 'My Navigation' setup can be used to check traffic conditions, weather and speed cameras along the route. It can also be used to search for points of interest and view the charging stations on the My uConnect mobile app and the uConnect 8.4-inch NAV system, identifying those that can be reached with the current battery charge through a Dynamic Range Mapping service. The Send & Go function can be used to send a sat-nav destination to the navigation system of the car directly from the mobile app.
Charging the Renegade 4xe takes around five hours from a domestic socket, and slightly less than two hours from a 7.4kW home wallbox.
As well as that 8.4-inch touchscreen, the Renegade 4xe models come with black accents on the air vents, speakers, and centre console bezels on the Longitude and Limited trims, while the Trailhawk trim sports ruby red accents. On the outside, you'll spot it thanks to distinctive blue Jeep, Renegade, and 4xe badging.
"Jeep has always pioneered new segments and new technologies. Its legend started in 1941 with the Willys-Overland, the first ever mass-produced 4x4 vehicle and continued in 1949 with the launch of the four-wheel-drive Willys Wagon, which created the Sport Utility Vehicle. Its renowned off-road capability has endured ever since and it is now being electrified the Jeep way" said a Jeep spokesperson.