Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has been slow to embrace the idea of electrification. Despite that reluctance, the company announced on Monday that it is getting ready for production of a plug-in hybrid version of the Jeep Renegade.
Former CEO Sergio Marchionne, who died unexpectedly in June, was never a fan of electrification. He was so against the idea he told people not to buy the Fiat 500e because they lost money on every unit sold. That, in his eyes, was the crux of the problem.
Marchionne didn’t see electrification as a money-making proposition, but FCA is slowly coming around to a strategy other automakers are already employing. The company announced back in June that it would invest $10.3 billion in electric and hybrid cars over the next five years.
It’s a necessary move in order to meet increasingly strict emissions regulations around the world. In addition, FCA is planning to eliminate diesel engines in all its passenger cars in Europe by the year 2021.
This follows the recent introductions of both the Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivan and the Ram 1500 eTorque mild hybrid. According to new FCA chief Mike Manley, we can expect eight plug-in hybrids from FCA by 2021, including a Jeep Wrangler.
In the meantime, the current Renegade isn’t being ignored. It got a few upgrades for 2019 and a new turbocharged engine with more torque and more horsepower. The plug-in isn’t replacing the gas-powered Renegade, but standing alongside it as an additional choice.
The new Jeep Renegade PHEV will be produced at the company’s plant in Melfi in southern Italy. Expect to see the production model launched sometime early in 2020.