Jeep has introduced its first-ever electrified models in the form of the new Compass and Renegade 4xe. Armed with an 11.4kw/h battery pack, connected car tech, ADAS safety tech, and electric all-wheel drive, these models are set to redefine Jeep’s brand image for a new future.
The Jeep marque has been synonymous with big, burly, gas-guzzling 4x4 vehicles ever since the days of the four-wheel-drive 1949 Willys Wagon. Off-late though, keeping up with the demand of today’s customers, Jeep has been offering a few compact crossover SUVs that are more efficient and affordable. Some have even gone so far as to say that it is a sacrilege that Jeep now makes two-wheel-drive crossovers. But Jeep is just reacting to the demands of today’s customers. Regardless, critics will find its new models rather difficult to pick-on, given their capabilities and environment-friendly nature.
As the headline of this story suggests, Jeep has just taken the wraps off its first-ever electrified models – the Compass and Renegade 4xe plug-in hybrid. Both these models are offered as standard with a 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which is mated to a new six-speed automatic gearbox. The engine is available in two states of tune – 130bhp for lower-spec models and 180bhp for Limited, Trailhawk, and S models. The peak torque for all models is rated at 270Nm.
The ICE powertrain is mated to an 11.4kWh battery pack, which is located under the rear seat. The Compass and Renegade 4xe get two electric motors – one is mounted above the front axle and the other above the rear axle. The front motor is mated to the ICE powertrain via the auxiliary belt, much like an Integrated Starter Generator. It’s this setup that allows the Compass and Renegade 4xe to drive in hybrid mode with both powertrains in tandem, causing CO2 emissions to drop below 50g/km. Hybrid is the default drive mode for both of these crossover SUVs. The cars can also be driven in full electric mode for a distance of 50km on a fully charged battery and at a top speed of up to130km/h. When the battery runs low on charge, the engine will automatically be powered on and will be used to both power the wheels and recharge the battery pack, which is also recharged under deceleration. Both cars can also be fully charged by plugging in the car to a 2.3kW charger in less than five hours or in 100 minutes through a recommended 7.4kW wall box charger.
In Hybrid mode, the Jeep Compass 4xe will go from 0 to 100km/h in 7.5 seconds and has a top speed of 200km/h. The Renegade 4xe will do the standstill to 100km/h run in 7.5 seconds in Hybrid mode and top out at 198km/h.
There is also an E-SAVE driving mode, which is designed to maintain battery charge in Passive E-SAVE mode while active E-SAVE mode charges up the battery pack to 80 per cent with the help of the engine and the belt-driven integrated starter generator.
The new age Jeeps also feature active eCoasting, which is always on. There are two settings that the driver can select from for the level of deceleration when they take their foot off the accelerator pedal under coasting. eCoasting continues to recharge the battery pack under light braking as well.
Both cars also feature all-wheel drive, and as such get the Jeep Selec-Terrain selectable drive modes, which include an AWD lock that ensures permanent all-wheel drive under 15km/h. The Trailhawk models for both cars also get an AWD Low mode.
For those wondering what happens to all-wheel drive power supply when the battery runs out of charge, there is a Powerloop function in the drivetrain that ensures the front axle electric motor (directly linked to the engine) always generates high-voltage current to power the rear electric motor and deliver maximum traction regardless of the state of the battery.
Jeep claims that the new E-AWD system is superior to the mechanical AWD system of the standard Compass and Renegade, as the reaction time of the powertrain has been reduced. Thanks to the electrification of the system, which has seen the removal of the propeller shaft used in the conventional AWD models. Because the two axles are now separated mechanically, the torque output from the engine and electric motors can be managed independently and better than on a mechanical system for the front and rear wheels.
Having considered all aspects of the Compass and Renegade 4xe plug-in hybrid, it has to be said that a great deal of practical thought as gone into the new electrified powertrain system to ensure to minimise carbon emissions as much as possible in the most relevant environments, thanks to the electric-only drive mode, which is suitable for urban centres. And when the going gets tough, the new electric all-wheel-drive system delivers better torque delivery and power management.
All of this combined with the new connected car features, which even allow you to remotely decide the charging time of your Jeep, and the availability of a new range of cutting edge ADAS safety features in these cars make the new Jeep 4xe concept redefine the brand's future!
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