The American maker of recreational off road vehicles, Jeep, has finally announced that production of the plug-in hybrid version of its popular Renegade will commence at its Melfi plant in Italy.
Preparations have begun at the plant to produce the plug-in Renegade alongside its ICE counterparts, ahead of the automaker’s plans to release it on the market in early 2020.
“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 Pietro Gorlier, Jeep chief operating officer for the Europe, the Middle East and Africa region in a statement to the press.
Pre-production has been scheduled to begin next year, with investment in the hybrid engine by the automaker said to be in the vicinity of €200 million ($A324 million).
The announcement follows news that key components, such as its critical Power Electronics module, will be built at parent company FCA’s Toledo machining plant.
The compact plug-in Renegade SUV, as with it’s fossil-fueled version, is not aimed at off-road driving, but should suit the average urban driver looking for something a little more robust.
Jeep would not comment at this time about when and if the Renegade PHEV would make it to Australian shores, leaving Australians to be content with fossil-fueled versions of the compact SUV.
Out of its entire Jeep range, it is the model that struggles the most with sales, clocking in at a little more than half of sales of the next most popular model, the Wrangler, according to US sales figures from last month.
FCA says it will be bringing a total of 12 electrified vehicle systems onto the market by 2022, including pure battery electric, plug-in hybrids as well as ‘full hybrids’ and ‘mild hybrids’.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.